"For part of our visit on junior day, we were able to watch practice," said Tampa's Mike Mirabella. "I went down to watch the linebackers work, and I was able to pick up a couple of things from what they did. One of my high school coaches, James Harrell, played for the Detroit Lions, and he has taught me a lot, but I got a couple of different things from watching the practice at West Virginia."
One of those things was an emphasis on foot positioning, which Mirabella noted will help him in games.
"This might be kind of hard to understand, but I watched how the players broke down, and how they staggered their foot position and used a stutter step to get in position," he explained. "It sounds like a small thing, but I think it will help me on the field."
Of course, Mirabella used his time at WVU in more conventional ways. He participated in the standard tour, and got to eyeball the facilities of the Mountaineer program. It was his first visit to the campus, and he noted that he got a great deal of information from it.
"I really enjoyed the visit," he said. "We got to meet all of the coaches, and the weight room and the presentation there was really good. I didn't have any idea of what I would see, but I loved the town and the campus. And the coaches were really friendly."
Mirabella, who is also interested in Florida State, Purdue and Penn State, has sent out films to a number of schools, and is now waiting to hear about offers. He plans to attend the Georgia spring game, and hopes to make another trip north for a visit to West Virginia's summer camp as well.
"I think that once I attend some camps, the offers will start to come in," the heady linebacker said. "I like to hit and play down hill, and I think that I can play any linebacking position. I do that already in high school, and I have the ability to make good reads and get to the ball."
Mirabella will be the foundation upon which the young Plant City defense will be built this year.
"We only have three starters returning, and so there won't be a lot of leaders returning," he said. "Our aim is always to win a state title, but with a young defense I will have to be a leader there. I will need to help the youngsters out and get everyone to come together."