Welcome to our weekly wrap-up of everything happening with West Virginia football recruiting. In this edition, we discuss the Mountaineers’ recruiting plans as coaches continue with their spring evaluations.
Competition is heating up for 3-star quarterback Connor Bazelak, who is attracting interest from several big-time powers.
Georgia became the latest suitor for the prospect from Archbishop Alter High School in Dayton, Ohio.
Excited and thankful to have received an offer from the University of Georgia!!! pic.twitter.com/C6EVAWV11T
— Connor Bazelak (@BazelakConnor) May 9, 2018
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Bazelak attracted intensified interest last month. He was the first prospect West Virginia offensive coordinator Jake Spavital visited when in-home recruiting started after West Virginia’s spring practice concluded last month.
There could be a reason for the Mountaineers’ interest in Bazelak. It correlated with apparently lagging attention from top West Virginia quarterback target Brian Maurer, who did not commit after a visit last month.
Bazelak has about 25 offers, including those from the Bulldogs, Iowa and North Carolina State in the last week.
Excited and thankful to have received an offer from North Carolina State University!!! pic.twitter.com/BbVsXAtLjm
— Connor Bazelak (@BazelakConnor) May 11, 2018
They join a crowded group of top programs that have shown interest, including Ohio State, Penn State, Oklahoma State and Tennessee.
The Buckeyes also could be close to offering, according to Land of 10 recruiting reporter Ryan Donnelly.
Connor Bazelak wants to wait before making his college decision
Bazelak told Donnelly he plans to wait for several weeks to see who else offers.
“Right now, I’m just letting this May recruiting cycle go through and meeting with all of the coaches that want to come see me,” Bazelak told Land of 10. “I’ll probably narrow it down to three or four schools at the end of May and then visit those schools in the beginning of June and have a decision in mid-June. Some of those will be official visits, depending on the school.”
It sounds as though the Mountaineers’ competition for Bazelak could be more intense than that for Maurer.
West Virginia class rankings this week
With no new additions, the Mountaineers fell to No. 46 this week, after being ranked No. 43 last week in the 247Sports composite team rankings. It marked the ninth consecutive week the Mountaineers’ ranking has dropped.
The slide pushes them to seventh among Big 12 schools for the Class of 2019, trailing No. 2 Oklahoma (unchanged), No. 16 TCU (up from No. 17), No. 20 Texas (down from No. 18), No. 29 Baylor (down from No. 27), No. 32 Iowa State (down from No. 30) and No. 33 Oklahoma State (up from No. 40).
Dana Holgorsen and his coaches are heading far from their traditional recruiting footprint as they try to take advantage of their rising national profile.
The Mountaineers dipped into Louisiana this week with their offer to B.J. Lockhart of Walker, La., a dynamic wide receiver/defensive back in the Class of 2019. His hometown, about 25 miles east of Baton Rouge, is the self-proclaimed “Pine Tree Capital of the World.”
Lockhart, a 5-8, 180-pound speedster, has been following the Mountaineers since the days of Tavon Austin.
Honored to receive an offer from West Virginia🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/Eh9IYkPLIy
— BJ Lockhart🎒 (@Lockhart_BJ) May 15, 2018
West Virginia has two Louisiana natives on its current roster. Senior linebacker Quondarius Qualls from Farmerville and sophomore running back Tevin Bush from Landry-Walker High School in New Orleans.
Most schools have been recruiting Lockhart as a potential defensive back. But he tells 247 Sports.com recruiting reporter Chris Anderson he would like to play offense as well.
The Mountaineers are considered him as a strong safety who could develop physically once he joins the program.
His offers include Memphis, Tennessee and Arizona State.
Lockhart is ranked as the 50th-best prospect in Louisiana (as an athlete) by 247 Sports.com.
Offers, by the numbers
Reported offers: 204
5-star offers: 4
4-star offers: 46
In-state recruits offered: 5
Texas recruits offered: 6
Georgia recruits offered: 40
Florida recruits offered: 32
North Carolina recruits offered: 27
Ohio recruits offered: 20
Pennsylvania recruits offered: 17
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 Brian Maurer, West Port, Ocala, Fla.: Maurer remains perceived as the Mountaineers’ top quarterback target and has been for several months. He was the first quarterback offered by the Mountaineers in the Class of 2019.
Some recruiting analysts remain surprised he didn’t commit after his visit to the Mountaineers last month.
Interest is picking up with Maurer, who has met with coaches from Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Florida since his trip to West Virginia. These coaches have asked him to delay his decision, which clearly works against the Mountaineers.
Maurer has strong interest in several other schools, most notably Boston College, Cincinnati, Indiana, UCF and South Florida.
Earlier this week, Maurer picked up an invitation to the Elite 11 Finals June 1-3 in Los Angeles.
#Elite11 Finals Invite #️⃣🔟:
See you in Los Angeles, Brian Maurer!
West Port HS (FL) pic.twitter.com/FUs0QI7zEa
— Elite11 (@Elite11) May 11, 2018
With the departures of backups David Israel and Chris Chugunov, the Mountaineers have three scholarship quarterbacks on their roster. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them add two players at the position in the upcoming class.
The growing interest from other schools in both Maurer and Bazelak will make West Virginia’s quest to attract one of their targets more difficult.
3-star CB MJ Devonshire, Aliquippa, Pa.: The recruiting battle for Devonshire involving Ohio State and West Virginia appears to be heating up.
During a recent trip to Morgantown, Devonshire was impressed with the Mountaineers’ team-building exercises. While there, he had a chance to play dodge ball with his old friend, former high school teammate and current West Virginia freshman safety Kwantel Raines.
“It’s a great fit because one, Kwantel (Raines) is going,” Devonshire told 247 Sports.com’s Steve Wiltfong. “The chemistry between us would be there, and he’ll be able to help me with the defense coming in.”
Devonshire talks with both coaching staffs on a regular basis. He aims to make a decision “hopefully” by December.
His national profile skyrocketed when he earned the MVP award among all defensive backs at The Opening’s Regional in Massillon, Ohio.
— Rivals Camp Series (@RivalsCamp) May 6, 2018
After that camp, Devonshire soared from 11th to fifth among Pennsylvania recruits according to the 247 composite ratings. He also rose from 50th to 37th among cornerbacks nationally.
Other schools he is considering include Indiana, Michigan State and Maryland.
Check out my highlight – https://t.co/TOtc0rjDKi
— mj devonshire jr™ (@Mjdevonshirejr) February 8, 2018
3-star S JaQuan Brisker, Gateway, Monroeville, Pa. (Lackawanna C.C.): West Virginia gained the inside track in Brisker’s recruitment after providing him one of his first offers in November. It appears Brisker, a 6-2, 197-pound safety who is the nation’s top junior college recruit, remembered that.
Brisker has one more year of eligibility at Lackawanna Community College in Scranton, Pa. He plans to take his time as he sifts offers from schools such as Alabama, Penn State, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, Utah and the Mountaineers.
“My top five will be coming soon, but right now it’s all close,” Brisker told Brian Dohn of 247 Sports. “Alabama, Penn State and West Virginia, they definitely have my eye right now.”
Brisker’s size, speed, hard-hitting style and ball-hawking ability would be spotlighted in the Big 12. And if he’s looking for challenges, he would be regularly tested by some of the nation’s top passing teams in the conference.
Alabama has turned up its interest in recent weeks, as Crimson Tide coaches talk with him several times a week, Brisker told Dohn.
But the Mountaineers might have an inside advantage. His cousin, junior safety Kenny Robinson, is expected to contend for playing time this season.
The chance to have the two family members patrolling the Mountaineers’ secondary has to make West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson giddy.
3-star RB Tyler Goodson, North Gwinnett, Suwanee, Ga.: Tyler Goodson has been vocal about his interest in West Virginia. It has remained steadfast, even as interest from other schools has mushroomed in recent weeks.
Since Goodson named the Mountaineers as his favorite, he’s received offers from Kentucky, Iowa and Michigan State, 247 Sports.com reports. He also visited Virginia Tech on his trip to West Virginia last month.
An array of West Virginia coaches have visited him in recent weeks. 247Sports reports Goodson’s productive wide receiver teammate Josh Downs also has been offered by the Mountaineers.
The elusive Goodson holds offers from more than 20 Power 5 schools, including Iowa State, Iowa, Colorado and Nebraska.
— by Ali Edwards (@1AEPHOTOS) April 24, 2018
But he came away impressed with the Mountaineers and their program after his visit.
“They’re definitely at the top,” Goodson told 247 Sports.com. “I really had a great visit and could see myself in the program.”
Goodson plans additional visits during the summer and hopes to make his decision before the season. He ranks 40th among all-purpose back in the nation and the No. 62 prospect in the state of Georgia.
Here is a breakdown of the Mountaineers commits to date by position. West Virginia expects to sign 26 players in this class.
WR: 1/4 (Stoudemire)
DL: 1/4 (Thornton)
OLB: 2/2 (Grantham, Kpogba)
K: 1/1 (McGhee)
Here is a breakdown of West Virginia’s five commits by state:
Georgia: 1 (Stoudemire)
North Carolina: 1 (Kpogba)
Ohio: 1 (Thornton)
Pennsylvania: 1 (McGhee)
West Virginia: 1 (Grantham)
Miss a previous edition? Find our weekly West Virginia recruiting update here each week.