Chuck Landon: W.Va.'s bare cupboard will fill a football void in 2015
It was a weak year for major college football prospects in West Virginia.
That’s as obvious as the number of state natives who signed with either Marshall or WVU.
That’s all, one.
Amanii Brown, 6-foot-5, 265-pound offensive lineman from Morgantown High School who didn’t even make the Class AAA all-state first team, signed with WVU.
There were just two more recruits.
Cabell Midland’s Teran Barnitz was the only local signee, as the 6-0, 215-pound fullback committed to Army. The other was Weirton Madonna’s Ross Comis, a 6-1, 200-pound quarterback who got a late offer from UMass to join a QB corps already featuring Marshall transfer Blake Frohnapfel.
So, yes, it definitely was a weak year.
The good news, however, is next year’s crop of potential Football Bowl Subdivision quality recruits is much deeper. Here’s an early look at 10 West Virginians who could be legitimate prospects.
n Mason Hodge: The 6-1, 225-pound Wayne middle linebacker just might be the best player in the state. Marshall already has made contact, according to sources.
n Stone Wolfley: This 6-4, 238-pound tight end/defensive end from Morgantown High already has committed to WVU, according to 247 Sports.com.
What a surprise.
His father, Dale, was a four-year letterman for the Mountaineers and is employed by WVU’s athletic department. Besides that, his uncles Craig and Ron Wolfley both played in the NFL. Now, that’s a pedigree.
n Kashuan Haley: The 6-0, 190-pound Capital High School star is a prospect at running back, defensive back or wide receiver. He rushed for 1,639 yards and 24 touchdowns on 218 carries last season, while being named as the Kanawha County Player of the Year by the Charleston Daily Mail newspaper.
n Alex Locklear: The 6-5, 300-pound offensive lineman from Spring Valley is definitely on the recruiting radar. At his size, how could anyone miss him?
n Cody Mitchell: This 6-3, 215-pound running back/safety from Point Pleasant comes from a football family. His father, Darrell, played tight end at WVU. And his brother, Derek, just finished his Marshall career as a linebacker.
n Donte Hendricks: The 5-11, 175-pound speedster from Cabell Midland is considered a wide receiver prospect. That’s because he runs a 4.38 40, according to 247 Sports.com. The recruiting web site says Hendricks is interested in Marshall, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky and North Carolina.
n David Smith: Perhaps, the only thing more impressive than this George Washington High offensive lineman’s 6-5, 300-pound size is his 4.125 GPA.
n Trevor Stacy: What a bookend. This 6-5, 290-pound offensive lineman pairs with Locklear to give Spring Valley an impressively sized combination.
n Cory Coppola: The 6-4, 233-pound linebacker from Bluefield High School also plays running back. Maybe that’s because he runs a 4.68 40.
n Grant Ferguson: This 6-2, 180-pound athlete plays quarterback at Wayne, but some Mid-American Conference schools may like him at safety.
Besides these 10, there are probably a few more potential prospects out there. That’s notable progress for a state that once produced lots of NCAA Division I talent.
So, perhaps, West Virginia is getting back on the recruiting radar.
It’s about time.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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