Welcome to our weekly wrap-up of everything happening with West Virginia football recruiting. In this edition, we discuss the Mountaineers’ recruiting plans as their coaches endure the dead period for recruiting after several key players have opted for other schools.
The stunningly quick commitment of Brian Maurer to Tennessee leaves West Virginia looking for options after its top quarterback target decided on another school.
West Virginia was the first school to offer the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Maurer a scholarship. The Mountaineers were perceived to have the inside track all spring for the 3-star recruit from West Port High School in Ocala, Fla.
Maurer received his first scholarship offer from West Virginia. And he appeared ready to commit to the Mountaineers earlier this spring.
That all changed after Maurer visited Tennessee and Ohio State last week. And after he accepted Tennessee’s offer, he becomes the third prime West Virginia quarterback target to select another school.
— Brian Maurer (@maurerera_2) June 27, 2018
Earlier, Connor Bazelak picked Missouri and Zach Calzada opted for Texas A&M.
— Connor Bazelak (@BazelakConnor) June 17, 2018
West Virginia does not have a commitment from a 2019 quarterback after the three recruits decided on other schools.
— Zach Calzada (@ZachCalzada) June 14, 2018
Will Grier remains set at quarterback for 2018, and Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Zach Spavital can decide on a transfer quarterback as easily as one of the high school players.
But not having a Class of 2019 quarterback commitment at this point is not an ideal situation.
West Virginia has been linked with Michael Johnson Jr. The No. 1 player in the state of Oregon is the son of the Ducks’ offensive coordinator, Michael Johnson. But his son shows little interest in playing for his father’s team.
Mike Casazza of 247Sports.com reports that Brendon Clark of Manchester, Va., could be a player of interest as well. Clark was committed to Wake Forest for nearly a year before de-committing two weeks ago.
There’s still plenty of time in the Class of 2019 and West Virginia can move in a lot of directions. But it still hurts when their acknowledged top quarterback target opts for another school.
West Virginia class rankings this week
Despite their first addition in nearly 3½ months, the Mountaineers skidded to No. 73 this week in the 247Sports composite team rankings after being ranked No. 71 last week. It marked the 14th consecutive week the Mountaineers’ recruiting ranking has dropped.
The slide pushes West Virginia to eighth among Big 12 schools for the Class of 2019. They trail No. 6 Oklahoma (down from No. 3), No. 18 Texas (down from No. 13), No. 25 TCU (down from No. 24), No. 31 Oklahoma State (down from No. 25), No. 37 Iowa State (down from No. 34), No. 38 Baylor (unchanged from last week ) and No. 42 Texas Tech (down from No. 36).
Donavan Beaver came away sold after his recruiting trip to West Virginia last week, so much so that the 6-foot-6, 275-pound tackle couldn’t wait to commit to the Mountaineers only a day later.
The 3-star prospect from Massaponax High School in Fredericksburg, Va., was intrigued with the Mountaineers from an earlier visit. But finally meeting with West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen sealed the deal.
“After my first visit, I left thinking that I wanted to go there,” Beaver told EerSports.com. “But I didn’t get to meet Coach Holgorsen when I was up there for the first visit. So I came up to meet him and was ready to make my commitment.”
I’m very proud to announce that I have committed to West Virginia University!!!! pic.twitter.com/pJtHRK4cpX
— Donavan Beaver (@donavanbeaver) June 24, 2018
Beaver told 247 Sports that recent visits to Pitt and Syracuse convinced him to commit to the Mountaineers.
“After I did two other visits — Syracuse and Pitt — I knew West Virginia was the place for me,” he said.
Beaver is ranked as the No. 838 player on 247’s composite ranking of all national prospects. He is the 82nd-ranked tackle prospect and No. 20 ranked player from the state of Virginia.
Check out my highlight – https://t.co/0lnPxHAyHZ
— Donavan Beaver (@donavanbeaver) November 5, 2017
Offers, by the numbers
5-star offers: 4
4-star offers: 52
In-state recruits offered: 6
Texas recruits offered: 6
Georgia recruits offered: 43
Florida recruits offered: 33
North Carolina recruits offered: 31
Ohio recruits offered: 21
Pennsylvania recruits offered: 18
New Jersey recruits offered: 12
Virginia recruits offered: 10
- T Donavan Beaver, 4 stars, Massaponax (Fredericksburg, Va.)
- OLB Dewayne Grantham, 3 stars, Martinsburg, W.Va.
- OLB Lee Kpogba, 3 stars, Parkland (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
- K Kolton McGhee, 3 stars, Bishop Guilfoyle (Altoona, Pa.)
- WR Deshon Stoudemire, 3 stars, Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
- DE Jalen Thornton, 3 stars, Indian Hill (Cincinnati)
4 top uncommitted targets
3-star QB Michael Johnson Jr., Sheldon, Eugene, Ore.
After three of West Virginia’s top potential quarterbacks recruits all decided to go elsewhere, Johnson becomes an even more intriguing prospect.
The multi-talented Johnson would be a neat consolation prize.
The top recruit in the state of Oregon according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings, Johnson is an intriguing dual-threat prospect with deep bloodlines.
His father, Michael, was a former professional quarterback after his college career at Akron. Michael Johnson Sr. then became a coach, starting at Oregon State and then working for four NFL teams as an assistant. He later became offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers under Mike Singletary.
There was also a one-season stint as UCLA’s offensive coordinator in Rick Neuheisel’s final season. Johnson later served as a one-game interim coach for the Bruins in a Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl loss to Illinois in 2011.
His son apparently is not sure about playing on his father’s team at Oregon.
According to 247 Sports.com, Johnson’s current favorites include Florida State, Miami, N.C. State, Penn State and LSU.
But he has previously mentioned his interest in West Virginia. That could obviously be piqued even more in the next few weeks.
Johnson has said he would like to visit West Virginia, but didn’t include the Mountaineers in a whirlwind group of visits with his family this week. Among the schools he visited included Penn State, Miami, N.C. State and Florida State.
West Virginia must close fast for Michael Johnson Jr.
The Mountaineers aren’t among his favorites at this time, if that list is to be considered. But that doesn’t lessen the importance of him for the Mountaineers, especially after all of their other targets opted to go elsewhere.
The most recent 247 Sports composite ranks Johnson as the nation’s No. 5 dual-threat passer and the No. 219 prospect overall.
There’s a lot of time left in his recruiting. But Johnson becomes a much more intriguing prospect for the Mountaineers after the earlier quarterback commitments.
3-star CB MJ Devonshire, Aliquippa, Pa.
The recruiting battle for MJ Devonshire involving Ohio State and West Virginia continues to percolate.
The Buckeyes and Mountaineers are considered the favorites for the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Devonshire. He most recently visited the Buckeyes’ Friday Night camp last week.
His tradition-rich program at Aliquippa High School has produced an array of NFL stars. Most notable on that list are Mike Ditka, Ty Law, Sean Gilbert and Darrelle Revis.
Devonshire picked up an offer earlier this month from Pitt. It took the Panthers several months to decide to offer a player who developed in their backyard, but they appear to be making up ground.
His national profile skyrocketed when he earned the MVP award last month for defensive backs at The Opening regional in Massillon, Ohio.
Devonshire ranks No. 464 nationally, No. 42 among cornerbacks and No. 7 among Pennsylvania recruits.
Other schools he is considering include Indiana, Michigan State and Maryland.
His athleticism and willingness to attack receivers in press coverage make him an intriguing prospect. His return ability provides an additional value boost.
3-star T Jonathan Allen, Dunbar, Dayton, Ohio
After attending Louisville’s Friday Night camp last week, Jonathan Allen continues to stack up offers.
Ohio State remains the heavy favorite for Allen, who has visited a couple of Buckeyes’ camps after receiving his offer from them earlier this month.
— Jonathan.Allen (@Jon110900) February 12, 2018
But he still hasn’t decided on a school, giving the Mountaineers a chance of attracting the 6-foot-6, 315-pound tackle.
Cincinnati and Wisconsin are the other leading suitors for Allen, who ranks as the No. 17 prospect in Ohio and the state’s No. 2 tackle, according to the 247Sports composite.
3-star RB Tyler Goodson, North Gwinnett, Suwanee, Ga.
With Tyler Goodson’s college announcement looming next week, he’ll have a tough decision. His finalists are Iowa, Wake Forest and West Virginia.
I’ll be committing July 3rd‼️👀
— Tyler Goodson(Tgood) (@tgood1110) June 11, 2018
He spent time earlier this month at Wake Forest’s camp, leaving some to think the Demon Deacons might be his top choice.
Wake forest this weekend‼️🎩 #GoDeacs
— Tyler Goodson(Tgood) (@tgood1110) June 1, 2018
Earlier, he was intrigued with Michigan State after initially listing the Mountaineers as his No. 1 choice.
Goodson has made it known to all of his suitors that he wants to play early in his college career.
An array of West Virginia coaches have visited Goodson in recent weeks. Goodson’s productive wide receiver teammate, Josh Downs, also has been offered by the Mountaineers, according to 247Sports.
Goodson ranks No. 40 among running back recruits in the nation and is the No. 69 prospect in Georgia.
A breakdown of the Mountaineers commits by position. West Virginia expects to sign 26 players in this class.
OL: 1/4 (Beaver)
WR: 1/4 (Stoudemire)
DL: 1/4 (Thornton)
OLB: 2/2 (Grantham, Kpogba)
K: 1/1 (McGhee)
A breakdown of West Virginia’s six commits by state:
- Georgia: 1 (Stoudemire)
- North Carolina: 1 (Kpogba)
- Ohio: 1 (Thornton)
- Pennsylvania: 1 (McGhee)
- Virginia: 1 (Beaver)
- West Virginia: 1 (Grantham)
Miss a previous edition? Find our weekly West Virginia recruiting update here each week.