This Saturday at the US Army All-Bowl is stage for multiple big-time announcements, but this year West Virginia is in the thick of it for one of the more notable ones. Tim Irvin is set to make a decision and is an immediate impact-type of player. If Karl Joseph were to declare for the draft, then Tim Irvin would bring the skill set to be the next true freshman starter in the secondary for WVU, though if not he would like find himself in rotation if he plays to his potential. Jordan Cronkrite won't be announcing but will be in town for the game and he is another recruit to keep an eye on. Jordan Cronkrite has excellent tools for success at the running back position, but with all the depth back there I think he would make his name on special teams, where a dynamic returner will be sorely needed.
All that being said, the Mountaineers will need to secure their commitments first and right now there is some stiff competition for that honor. Jordan and Tim no longer seem like they are going to be a package deal (not that it was ever set in stone that they would be) and some big-time programs have been making noise with them. Tim Irvin has been receiving a lot of Twitter love from the Stronghorns, and its not surprising that top-notch facilities and the youthfulness of the team (a.k.a. early playing time) has caught his interest. Also he will likely wind up on defense over there which spoils the Big 12 air-out offense angle that the staff loves to pitch to recruits for the secondary. Hopefully the family feel of WVU can help pull him to Morgantown, but Charlie Strong snuck in a late visit and has really made an impression on Irvin from the sounds of things. Jordan Cronkrite has been hearing from Louisville (seems like they are around any players WVU wants), Notre Dame, and UF. Notre Dame probably has the edge right now but WVU could close that gap relatively fast. A strong showing in the bowl game would do wonders for boosting momentum around the program as well as emphasizing the competitiveness of the Big 12.
Rob Dowdy was mentioned last week, but another Pitt commit to keep an eye on is Jordan Whitehead. Personally I was sold that he would make a switch however it seems like he may not be enrolling early anymore which could completely change things. With a couple extra months before a decision the Mountaineers could potentially wiggle their way in as real contenders for him, whereas if he was enrolling early the realistic chances of a change would have been slim. Jordan Whitehead in my eyes was the top target on the board for WVU earlier in the year and after the senior year he had nothing should have changed in that regard. The Mountaineers do have a great class for the secondary right now which is likely where Whitehead would end up, however he is a true athlete and could find a spot on any side of the ball. After his initial commitment I didn't think he would be the type to change his mind, but thank goodness for staff turnover (at Pitt). The good guys could really use this guy. Not only for his talent, but to secure the top WPIAL player in back-to-back years would really establish a recruiting footprint in West Virginia's backyard. Still a long ways to go, but it's good to have a shot with this kid again.
Beyond some key targets West Virginia has just been tightening the hold on its class to get everyone on over to signing day and onward to Morgantown. There has been some shots taken at committed recruits that could bolster the class but nothing really of note has happened in response yet. Some visits will likely be set up however, and that will be what determines the Mountaineers' chances. There are a few other players that are hoping for a scholarship should the staff chose to add them (Leeward Brown jumps to mind) however at this point it is safe to bet that there are grade concerns or the like if an offer hasn't been extended at this point. I would love to add a guy like Brown to the line, but if he can't qualify now then a year or two in JUCO is best for everyone. All in all, the biggest news of the day will be the outcome of the game so here's hoping we take it to the Aggies and finish the year right.