"I had been talking to Pitt and a couple of local schools, but there wasn't a lot of serious discussion," said Eger. "Then one day in the mail West Virginia sent me a big envelope with an offer, and at the same time I got a handwritten letter from each of the coaches. That showed me that they were serious about me, and weren't just offering me and leaving it there."
West Virginia's coaching staff has put even more time into recruiting under head coach Bill Stewart, with all staff members, not just the recruiting coach and position coach, watching and evaluating film and staying in touch with recruits.
Eger also noted that WVU's coaches told him they had watched his state playoff games from his junior year, and had been evaluating and tracking him for some time. While that wasn't apparent to the big lineman, it provided even more evidence of WVU's interest. For his part, Eger was flying a bit blind in the recruiting process.
"It all came on me pretty quickly," he admitted. "It's been a lot to take in in a short period of time. I don't have any older brothers that had any experience with it, so it was all pretty much new to me. Mo goal was to make a decision by Aug. 11, which is the first day of my high school senior camp. I wanted to focus on my senior season, and it worked out that I ended up making a commitment a little bit before that."
On other item that impressed Eger was the knowledge of head coach Bill Stewart.
"The first time we walked in he knew all my family's names and talked to all of us," he said. That was on an unofficial visit, and that just impressed me.
Eger was recruited, and will be coached, by Dave Johnson, a native a western Pennsylvania.
"Coach Johnson is easy to talk to, and the fact that he is from this area sparked a couple of conversations and made it a little bit easier. It wasn't a big factor in my recruitment, but it is nice to know that we have a little bit of common ground."
At six feet, six inches tall, Johnson is obviously eyeing Eger as a tackle prospect. Add in another vital attribute, and Eger thinks he has the ability to play on the edge of collegiate offensive lines.
"I think I have really good footwork," he said. "A lot of coaches say it's hard to find a left tackle because they have to have it, and a lot of people don't. I think I have good hands, too."
That's not to say that Eger is a finesse guy, however. During his junior season, Thomas Jefferson lost both its quarterback and best running back, causing the coaching staff to morph the attack into a low-risk, smash mouth running system. Eger thrived in that system, and relished the chance to fire out after defenders. "Pounding the ball down people's throats," as Eger put it, led to success, and also allowed him to develop a wide range of skills. He'll expand on those even more this season, when, with the skill positions restocked, Thomas Jefferson will likely return to a more diversified attack.
"Last year, I just played on offense, but this year I'll probably play some defensive line too," he added. "I'll also be the long snapper and play on special teams. I don't think West Virginia knows about me long snapping just yet."
A lineman all his life, Eger does have one score to his credit. "In little league, when I was sic years old, we got down to the two yard line and I got one carry. I scored, and I knew that was it. But I was happy about that."
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A Pitt fan growing up, Eger expects a bit of razzing during his senior year, but he notes that the support of his family will more than offset that.
"My parents were really happy with the decision," he said. "It might be kind of hard living in Pittsburgh and going to West Virginia, but they made the scholarship offer, and showed they wanted me. My parents are backing me 100%."
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Eger, who plans to major in sports management and business, will have no trouble qualifying. He took two summer courses to give himself a cushion on the GPA side, and has worked out individually during that time to prepare for the upcoming season. He also managed to squeeze in a Florida vacation stay with family before practice commences.
Pat Eger Profile and Video