Hello again and welcome back to The Signing Musket for our last edition before National Signing Day next Wednesday. With news coming fast and furious and attention on this incoming recruiting class, let's get rolling with Chris Anderson of EerSports.com.
But before we get rolling a quick aside. If you haven't read it yet, please take a few minute and scan this post from earlier in the week where WVUIE97 took a hard look at recent Mountaineer rosters and the attrition that has plagued the final classes of Bill Stewart's staff and going back to Coach Rodriguez as well. There's been a lot of discussion on depth, but this is the definitive analysis.
The Smoking Musket: The big news last week was something we talked about in this space when 3 star O lineman Josh Krok of Niles, Ohio backed out of his commitment to the Mountaineers and switched to the Kentucky Wildcats. Any indication what fueled his change of heart? Playing time? The desire to play in the SEC? Mark Stoops continues to be a bugaboo for WVU across the Ohio River.
Chris Anderson: Not all "flips" are created equal in the world of recruiting, and this one is no different. Committed players often take visits elsewhere, but very rarely do you see them not mention other trips for six months, then do so just before National Signing Day. This was more of a mutual decision than anything and could be partially related to your next question...
The Smoking Musket: I saw where O lineman Yodny Cajuste committed to WVU on Sunday. Can you give us the lowdown on him?
Chris Anderson: Before Krok went public with his commitment to Kentucky, Cajuste had already picked up a full offer from West Virginia - he was previously holding a 'greyshirt' offer. The question for the Miramar (FL) prospect, though, is will he take that spot on the offensive line, or will he play defensive end in college?
According to Cajuste, the answer is both. He will try out for both positions, and wherever he plays better is where he will play for WVU. If his performance is equal at both, then he says he will move forward at defensive end. His potential for both positions is through the roof. He has only played one year of organized football and already dominates opposing players. He has an ideal frame (6-foot-5, 265 pounds of solid muscle) to be a marquee left tackle, or to become an even better version of Will Clarke. there's a reason Florida, Oklahoma State and more jumped in with offers, too.
The Smoking Musket: Was checking through Twitter and found a link to your page where 3 star defensive end Jihad Ward, who is committed to Illiniois, seemed to be giving WVU another look. Should Mountaineer fans get their hopes up that a guy with a fantastic name like Jihad could be joining the fold? Can we even be trusted with a name like that?
Chris Anderson: Ward is a tremendous prospect, and one that West Virginia would love to add to this class. That night, Ward had spoken with the Mountaineer coaches and voiced his confusion over his decision on Twitter - although those tweets have since been deleted. It's understandable. Out of all the prospects for all the schools, his decision seemed the most curious to me. Not because Illinois is not a good fit for him - it is - but because of what he had been saying leading up to that decision.
After visiting both Illinois and West Virginia, Ward admitted that West Virginia was his favorite. He said that Mountaineer assistant coach Brian Mitchell was the coach he had the best relationship with out of all the coaches recruiting him. He also said proximity to home (Philadelphia) was very important, and Morgantown is considerably closer than Champaign. A couple days later, though, he committed to Illinois. Because of all of that, I would say this is something to watch closely until the ink is dry on his Letter of Intent.
The Smoking Musket: Here's a similar question from a member of our Musket staff: "any chance of flipping (current Florida State commit and wide receiver) CJ Worton?"
Chris Anderson: As of right now, he's still committed to Florida State, although I do believe Florida has the inside track to flip him from the Seminoles. Oregon is also trying to make a push, but I'm not sure he will make that trip to Eugene. I think his decision comes down to the Gators and Mountaineers, and while I think UF has the edge, I wouldn't count out West Virginia with current commit - and one of Worton's good friends - Jacob McCrary constantly in his ear.
[Editor's note: Morton has since de-committed from FSU after Chris answered this.]
The Smoking Musket: From my buddy Chad: "do you know why Dalvon Stuckey is no longer committed to Auburn?"
Chris Anderson: I'm told there are grade concerns. He was originally down to Auburn, Miami and West Virginia, but now that he's looking around again, it sounds like it is between Arizona state and Louisiana-Lafayette, with Louisville pushing for a late visit. West Virginia is not involved at this point.
The Smoking Musket: I also saw that EerSports.com got a nod as one of the top sites on the 247 network. First off congratulations, and second can you give a little background there?
Chris Anderson: Thanks! It's been a great month for the site. We've already exceeded our monthly goals for visitors and views, and we received word from headquarters that we were one of the top growing sites on the network in new subscriptions. It's an exciting time for Mountaineer sports, and fans are eager to get as much info as possible!
The Smoking Musket: Any other surprises just under a week out from National Signing Fay on Feb 4? Where do the numbers stand as of now for the Mountaineers?
Chris Anderson: Right now, the class is "full" in the sense that if everyone in the class made it in and no one currently on the team left, there would be 85 scholarships accounted for. As is the case with college football, though, there will be attrition this spring, and a couple spots will open up. I expect there to be at least two to three more recruits in this class - if they are the right ones. I don't expect the staff to pick up someone for the sake of adding them if they miss out on a top target.
As for surprises, nothing would shock me. This staff has shown a penchant for sneaking a kid or two in on a late visit, and adding them to the class, so I wouldn't let my guard down just yet.
Thanks as always for Chris and his insights and thanks to you for stopping by to read. If you have questions you'd like us to include as a part of this segment, leave them in the comment section here, shoot me an email at email@example.com or hit us up on Twitter: @abpriddy or @SmokingMusket. And be sure you're following Chris at @CMAnderson247 to get the latest. He's always sending great chunks of info out.