Mountaineers travel from near, far and all points in between to fill the soccer recruiting class


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MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – Adalyn, Anslee and Dax Brown say hello to your dad for us. Their daddy, of course, is Neal brown, who has spent the past two weeks replaying the film Planes, Trains & Automobiles to bring together the 22-player football signing class he announced earlier today.

By the way, that class is expected to drop to 32 by the time it finishes when fall training camp begins next August.

Brown’s travels have taken him from Boston, Massachusetts, to Chandler, Arizona, to a whole bunch of places in between. So far a total of fifteen states have been covered in this year’s signing class, as well as three different countries – Germany (Aric Burton), Australia (Oliver Straw) and Jamaica (Asani Redwood via Collins Hill High in Suwanee, Georgia).

It is remarkable the great distances Brown and his coaching staff had to cover to ink what ranks 31st in the nation this recruiting class. By the way, it will be interesting to see if these rankings are reviewed on July 31st before the teams start fall camp.

Nonetheless, the logistical challenges faced by Brown and his coaches working in a small college town without a full-service airport were quite daunting. There are no direct flights between Morgantown Municipal Airport and Logan International in Boston.

Morgantown flight logs also do not include trips to Pearland, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia, Miami, Florida, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Leo, Indiana, Chandler, Arizona, Friendship, Mississippi, Harper Woods, Michigan, nor Saraland, Alabama – not to mention Heufeld, Germany, or Melbourne, Australia.

This is where these guys had to go to fill the 22 slots announced today.

“The past two weeks have been hectic,” Brown admitted. “The contact period for recruiting started on the Sunday after our game against Kansas and really from that Sunday after Kansas I had been gone all week and so had our staff. Then we walked in and greeted three official visitors this first weekend, then we left on Sunday, came back late Friday and hosted six official visitors last weekend.

“We went from Boston, Massachusetts, to Phoenix, Arizona, to that of Sean Mahone awards banquet in Las Vegas all the way to South Florida so we did some mileage, ”he said.

Our friends on the road, the Pitt Panthers of the Atlantic Coast Conference, today had 12 of their 19 players from the four neighboring states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Virginia.

Our other friends due to the East, the Maryland Terrapins of the Big Ten Conference, have recruited more than half of their 23 players from the National Capital Region. These guys don’t need a bunch of plane tickets or generous boosters to transport them to all the places they had to go to get them.

Therefore, it took total team effort and sacrifice for West Virginia to sign the players it has today, from coaches and their families to support staff to people whose contributions from the Club of 1891 allowed Neal brown be in three or four different states on the same day.

Otherwise, Arizona Player of the Year Nicco Marchiol could turn football for Arizona State, Arkansas, Colorado, or the 27 different schools that offered him scholarships.

Lee Kpogba, the former Syracuse signatory and four-star prospect from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and one of the best college linebackers available in the country, could have ended up in Indiana, Louisville or North Carolina. South.

Cornerback Jacolby Spells, 16 from Floridae-American Heritage High’s best prospect in Miami, Florida could have ended up in one of the 26 different schools he had offered, such as Penn State, Oklahoma and Georgia.

Or, Clemson’s four-star transfer Lyn-J Dixon and his astounding 35-line bio in this afternoon’s signing day release could have chosen another Power 5 schedule.

“We have a collective group that we feel good about,” Brown admitted. “To anyone watching these press conferences through Power 5 football, I would be shocked if anyone says, ‘Oh, I don’t feel good with what we’ve got. “So we feel good with these guys and I think everyone is doing it, but I think it’s important to understand that we’re not done yet.

“These guys are not only very good football players, but we are convinced that they are a perfect match for what we want to do here,” he added.

Think about it: it takes even more time and effort to fetch some of the sleepers like Suwanee, Ga. Defensive lineman Asani Redwood, whose late entry drew plenty of high-fives at the Milan Puskar Center. . Some connoisseurs already compare Redwood to Akheem Mesidor, which should give you a pretty good idea of ​​what West Virginia thinks they’re getting in a 260-pound passer who only played two years of organized football and once weighed 185 pounds not too long ago. .

You have to work hard to find Mar’Ques McLaurin, a quarterback turned safety at Jones County College in Ellisville, Mississippi, who might be able to safely enter and compete for playing time.

You need to do some homework and plan to sign a 6-foot-5, 210-pound defensive lineman from Heufeld, Germany. That’s what Brown and his guys did with Aric Burton, who is now preparing for Clearwater Academy International in Clearwater, Florida.

Speaking of homework, it takes a few sleepless nights to recruit a bettor from Melbourne, Australia. West Virginia found their guy in Oliver Straw, who is said to be able to kick football with either foot. Former mountaineer bettor Zach Anglin asked in a Tweet earlier today if Straw is able to do it on the same kick?

Not sure about that, Zach.

But what I’m sure is that Brown’s job is far from over. Thanks to a one-year temporary exemption from the NCAA allowing teams to sign up to seven more players during this recruiting cycle, Brown and his guys will return to the Friendly Skies once the schedule moves to January.

When only two of your recruits are from your home country – Corbin Page from Spring Valley High and Zeiqui Lawton from South Charleston – they have no other choice.

“We still have needs that we have to meet, and we haven’t had everyone we wanted,” he noted. “There were some that we lost here at the end, but the guys we brought in, I think, are top players.

“We made a few mistakes in our first recruiting class just because I didn’t know in our first real signing class if I had a really good idea, as I needed it, of what was right for Morgantown and West Virginia University. And, what is the fit fits our program structure.

“Now we are doing it,” he concluded.


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