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West Virginia Mountaineers Football Recruiting: What You May Have Missed (10/22/14)

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The Mountaineers receive a new defensive line commitment and a few more at wide receiver and running back could potentially be on the horizon.

Justin K. Aller

The scholarship and spot that opened up in the 2015 West Virginia recruiting class last week with Larry Jefferson flipping did not stay unclaimed for long as DE Adam Schuler announced his pledge on Twitter after the Baylor game out of nowhere. The lightly recruited DE from Florida is definitely one of the more under-rated prospects in the class right now. Most major recruiting sites have him unranked, though he is considered as high as a 3 star by some. His commitment paired with Landers is a great boost to the overall defensive line depth in this class, but the staff may still try to chase down a JUCO guy for the class to get a little more experience mixed in there as well. That being said, while Adam is still only in high school, he may be one of the more or most game-ready prospects in that we have in the class right now. Listed at 6'5" 255 lbs., he looks even bigger on film and seems to have a good motor. Though ideally he will get a red-shirt year to develop and grow more, it wouldn't surprise me if he played a Darrien Howard-type role next season; e.g., getting in a few snaps when guys are going down because you're the next biggest around. But the coaching staff would likely love to give him a free year in the weight room, as it can be so crucial along those lines. Hopefully Adam Shuler pans out into a Will Clarke-type DE for the good guys, with "the lightly recruited out of high school but a great frame" parallels already in place. As they say, you can't teach size but Bradley can teach everything else.

With Shuler's addition, the Mountaineers are looking much better along the defensive front. A JUCO addition would be great, a Tim Settle commitment would be bonkers, but the three commits looking destined for the D-line (Shuler, Landers, and Shriner) should provide some much needed depth to the 3-man front. The remaining spots in the class are really up for grabs at this point and it will be very interesting to watch things shake out.  Tim Irvin (check out his film) and Jordan Cronkrite (film) are still both slated to be in Morgantown next weekend and that weekend should clear quite a few things up. Well, hopefully.  Momentum has seemingly been building with Cronkrite's recruitment and he is close enough to Tim Irvin that one could expect it to carry over to Tim as well to a certain extent. Both players are pure athletes and could line up in a variety of spots, but it seems to work out for both to end up on offense and special teams with a lot of defensive talent in the class right now. Irvin would be a huge addition at wide receiver and could easily play slot or outside. Cronkrite fits a Wendell Smallwood-type mold at running back with excellent pass-catching ability out of the backfield and similar frames. He could line up at wide receiver as well if the staff felt it was a better fit, but DTW and Cronkrite would be an awesome little thunder and lightening combo one day and Cronkrite is more naturally gifted at the RB position. Coach Hologorsen's only real gripe with Smallwood has been his big play abilities, something Jordan might be able to help with. Needless to say, a commitment from either one would give Mountaineers fans a lot to be excited about.

Even if WVU loses out on Irvin or Cronkrite, the next commitment will still most likely be from a wide receiver. It was looking like that would be Tavares Martin for a time, but with quite a few new names surfacing that seems more unlikely by the day.  It could be his grades or the staff could just feel they have more talented options on the board, but for the time being things have slowed down. It does look like the staff is trying hard to find the next Kevin White though, as most of the attention has gone to large-bodied wide receivers. Dominique Reed (film) and Isaac Whitney (film) have both been names on the tips of peoples' tongues lately, and either looks to be a solid addition. Reed and Whitney are very similar players in certain regards, both from the JUCO ranks and both standing over 6'2". Right now Whitney probably has garnered a bit more recruiting attention but Reed could have a higher ceiling. Another name to keep an eye on is Dede Westbrook (film), the 5'11" JUCO speedster from Texas. With his skills he could help fill a Mario Alford-role though he will likely be tried at the slot first. It remains to be seen how his recruitment will play out but it sounds like there is interest on both sides, we'll just have to see if things come together.

The class is really starting to get tight now and there are still loads a potential names on the board, so it will be an exciting end to the season one way or another. I would imagine the staff will shoot for one more commit along both the offense and defensive lines and then try for 2-3 players for the offensive skill positions, but there may not be enough room for 25-26 commits. The senior class isn't overly large but there is always attrition so you never know. Right now the weekend visit for Irvin and Cronkrite should be the next large development in terms of recruiting, though to get Tim Settle rescheduled and on campus for an official would be huge as well. The staff has done a great done of not losing commits so far this season so the class is in great shape at this point to get a little more selective with the final few openings. There is probably still going enough room to take a JUCO WR regardless, but the staff may move on those WRs a little slower right now with some blue chip recruits on the way to Morgantown soon. A tall, physical wide-out should be a must for this class with White graduating, but Cronkrite and Irvin are the types of talent that have an all but guaranteed spot on the team if they want to commit. Not to mention there is a lot of time till February still for the staff to keep looking around at recruits, and they may want to do that a bit more until they're certain they've found another gem like Kevin White.