So, a while back, and by "a while back" I mean when Brown was hired, we said that an emphasis had to be made on in-state recruits, as the state itself seemed to be enjoying an uptick in quality. And it's been decent, but it could still be better. Now, though, it seems that the state is once again not producing in terms of talent. So let's take a look at how things are going, shall we?
I know it's not fair to tie this group around Brown's neck, but I bring this up moreso because a) Brown was here at that point (even though I know this particular cycle was basically all but over), and b) the talent in our own backyard that Dana couldn't even bother recruiting.
Top in-state prospects for this class were Darnell Wright (starting at UT), Doug Nestor (starting at VT), Brenton Strange (TE2 at Penn St), Zach Williamson (not in the 2 deep thus far at Louisville), and Amir Richardson, who has 2 receptions for 6 yards and a TD at Marshall as a redishirt freshman. All of these players were at that .85-.89 rating range that we like to call "Teal Chip Prospects," or above (Wright 5*, Nestor 4*). I know we were in on Wright late, or at least made him think about flipping (if only for a second), but it sure would be nice to have these guys right about now with Frazier.
This class also was home to Kerry Martin (who knows whats gonna happen there), and Nick Malone.
This class was a bit weaker than the very deep 2019 class, but we did manage to land the top 2 in-state prospects in Sean Martin and Zach Frazier (both in that .87 Teal Chip range). We lost out on the best running back in the state, in JJ Davis, to Marshall. And with us only signing one running back, who was rated lower than Davis, that one kind of stings a little.
The upcoming senior recruiting class for the State of West Virginia is also very thin, with an underwhelming 7 players even rated at all, and only 2 of those above that .85 mark that we should be hitting. Of those two prospects, we hit on a massive one, 4* Wyatt Milum, but then let another very solid piece get away to Cincinnati in Zeiqui Lawton (3*, .87 rating). Lawton is the type of prospect WE MUST hit on in order to build this program. We can't let them get out of the state, especially not to Cincinnati of all places.
2022 and Beyond
Man, things are looking bare in the state. And maybe it's due to COVID and the lack of ability to host camps, showcases, etc., but people still have film but, as of now, the entire state has only one player rated for the 2022 class. One. Uno. And, on top of that, we don't seem to be really in anyones top anything. Maybe that's because its still too early for a lot of folks, or whatever, but 2022 is a bit scarce right now, and leaving me wondering where we might have to turn in order to find solid recruits to fill out this class.
Four of the top 5 recruits in Ohio have all committed to Ohio State, and eight of the top 15 have committed period. To this date, WVU have only offered 3 of those remaining top 15 that have yet to commit.
In Pennsylvania, four of the top 15 have already committed to Penn State, and have currently offered 10 of the remaining 11 a scholarship in Pennsylvania's top 15. So we are in on Pennsylvania in a big way, though we are not at the top of anyone's list here.
I'm not saying I don't have faith, but 2022 so far is not off to the hottest of starts, and maybe once February rolls around it'll really ramp up. I can only hope so...