We're back after a little longer than normal layoff (sorry, I was in Disney World with the family last week and slacked) to get the latest on West Virginia recruiting from Chris Anderson of EerSports.com (of the 247Sports.com network). There was some big news this weekend with the commitment of 2014 3 star DB DaeJuan Funderburk and 2015 4 star safety Kendrell McFadden and there's lots more to cover as we barrel towards National Signing Day on February 5th, so let's get rolling!
The Smoking Musket: First off very nice job dropping some subtle hints about 2015 4 star safety Kendrell McFadden here in this space last week. You clearly had the scoop there. His commitment would seem to indicate that the addition of Miramar coach Damon Cogdell to the staff is paying instant dividends. What's the lowdown on McFadden? Does this vault that 2015 class into the top 10?
Chris Anderson: After the commitment of Kendrell McFadden, West Virginia jumped up to 8th in the 247Sports Team Rankings. I'd put him right there with wide receiver Jovon Durante as the most important player in the class so far - and both could be equally difficult to hold onto. As for Cogdell's presence, it certainly helped, but McFadden was sure to point out that the biggest reason for his commitment was JaJuan Seider. The Mountaineer running backs coach has been recruiting the four-star safety since his time at Marshall, and McFadden noted that Seider was the first coach to notice him and they've built a relationship over the years.
The Smoking Musket: I know that 4 star tailback Donte Thomas-Williams made his official visit to Morgantown this past weekend. Any word on how that went? Is he expected to announce in the next few days or do you see him waiting until National Signing Day? What's your feel on him?
Chris Anderson: When asked to rate the visit on a scale from 1-to-10, he gave it a 10, so I don't think things could have gone much better - except for a commitment, of course. (VIP link to full interview here) He had originally planned to wait until National Signing Day, but now says that his announcement could come sooner. He will check out N.C. State this weekend, and then Dana Holgorsen, JaJuan Seider and Lonnie Galloway will be stopping in for an in-home visit next Monday... that's a day I'd keep an eye on if I were a Mountaineer fan.
The Smoking Musket: Well after the advisory on McFadden last week I'll have my ears up next Monday for sure! The surprise departure of QB Ford Childress opens up a scholarship. This close to National Signing Day, any indication if there's someone specific WVU has on their list for it?
Chris Anderson: Right now, no. There are still set to be four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, which is the target number - and more than any of the last few years. The problem is the limited number of arms this spring, with freshman William Crest not arriving until summer and Clint Trickett out after shoulder surgery. Signing anyone at this point will not help with that.
The Smoking Musket: Some of the Kentucky tweeps on my Twitter timeline seem to think Mark Stoops has been working hard on 3 star O lineman Josh Krok (a current WVU commit from near Youngstown, Ohio) and he could be making a switch to the Wildcats. You hearing anything about that?
Chris Anderson: It sounds like West Virginia has their hands full here. Mark Stoops and Kentucky hosted Krok on an official visit this past weekend, and the three-star prospect had a great time. He did not flip his commitment and still plans to officially visit West Virginia this weekend. I imagine an answer will come shortly after that trip.
The Smoking Musket: Reader Stan Cardwell wanted to know about the Adams twins - one at 5'11" 165 pounds who wants to play QB. Where does WVU see them playing?
Chris Anderson: Jacquez and Jordan Adams. Jordan is a wide receiver/corner who has held a West Virginia offer for sometime. He also holds offers from several other programs, including Virginia Tech and Maryland. West Virginia was first to offer Jacquez. At the high school level, he plays quarterback, but is most likely going to play defensive back at the next level. He's aware of that, though. He told me at the time of his offer, he knew he would have to wait to get offers like his brother because he played quarterback, and colleges needed to see him play other positions. Now that the Mountaineers have offered both, they could very well be the frontrunners, as both have made it clear they wish to play together in college.
The Smoking Musket: Last week you said the firing of D line coach Erik Slaughter might make the recruitment of juco DE Terry Ayeni a challenge as Slaughter had formed the closest relationship with him of anyone on staff. Has another member reached out or is there new news?
Chris Anderson: On Thursday after last week, Ayeni messaged me to let me know that the two parties had agreed to go their separate ways. He is no longer visiting West Virginia at the end of the month, and will instead head down to USF.
The Smoking Musket: Any other news about some of the final names hanging out there as we hit the Signing Day stretch run? Does the class seem to be holding together?
Chris Anderson: Ayeni aisde, there's no need to worry about defensive end recruiting, as Georgia Military College (GA) star Kenderius Whitehead is visiting Morgantown this weekend and has the Mountaineers in the lead. He's a JUCO All-American and attends the same school as current 'Eers Brandon Golson and Mario Alford. He's a name I'd watch most closely, as well as Donte Thomas-Williams and Yodny Cajuste, a new OL/DL target from Miramar (FL), who is visiting this weekend. The class as a whole is doing just fine. As mentioned above, Krok is considering Kentucky, and linebacker commit Xavier Preston has been taking a couple visits, but there is nothing too alarming about guys heading elsewhere.
Thanks as always to Chris for stopping by and dropping knowledge. As we saw this week, he works hard to bring info and insight you can't find anywhere else. If you want more, head on over to EerSports.com where they're running a special to give you a 7 day free trial.
I end with this every week and I mean it - we're here for you, so 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
See you next week!