Welcome to our weekly wrap-up of everything happening with West Virginia football recruiting. In this edition, we discuss the Mountaineers’ recruiting plans as spring practice continues.
Most observers still rank 3-star prospect Brian Maurer as the favorite to end up as the quarterback in West Virginia’s 2019 class.
But West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen also is keeping an eye on other players at the key position. The Mountaineers were on display recently for 3-star quarterback Garrett Shrader of Charlotte (N.C.) Christian High School.
Shrader visited West Virginia and Penn State on his trip north.
The 6-foot-4½, 200-pound Shrader told 247 Sports.com recruiting reporter Steve Wiltfong that he’s intrigued with the Mountaineers.
“They’re running thin on the quarterback position, especially with [2018 projected starter Will] Grier leaving this year,” Shrader said. “The thing I like about most of these schools is there is an open job. There is going to be competition for the starting job, but West Virginia is one of those places where it’s more open.”
Maurer is presumed to be West Virginia’s preferred choice and was on campus last week.
West Virginia offensive coordinator Jake Spavital visited Maurer at his high school, West Port in Ocala, Fla., last spring. Spavital and Holgorsen followed up with a visit in December.
Maurer apparently enjoyed his trip and has told other recruits he would like to return to West Virginia for the school’s 7-on-7 camp this summer.
— Brian Maurer (@maurerera_2) April 6, 2018
It was a bit of a surprise that Maurer did not commit. He did post a positive tweet about his visit.
— Brian Maurer (@maurerera_2) April 8, 2018
The 6-4, 185-pound Maurer has been linked with the Mountaineers for a while. He appears to have a particularly strong rapport with Spavital.
Maurer and his family plan to visit Florida and Ohio State this spring. He’ll also look at Indiana and Boston College this summer.
247Sports ranks him as the nation’s No. 18 pro-style quarterback and the 70th-best prospect in Florida.
West Virginia class rankings this week
With no new additions, the Mountaineers fell to No. 32 this week after being ranked No. 30 last week in the 247Sports composite team rankings. It marked the fourth consecutive week the Mountaineers’ ranking has dropped.
Their slide pushes them to fifth among Big 12 schools for the Class of 2019, trailing Iowa State (No. 12), TCU (No. 16), Oklahoma (No. 18) and Texas (No. 20).
Wide receiver Darrell Harding has the kind of size and speed that excites college recruiters. He’s a 6-3, 191-pound 3-star 2019 prospect from West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Fla.
West Virginia’s offer was the 10th that Harding has received. His father played college football at Cincinnati, but ACC programs such as Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest are leading his recruitment.
Harding told 247Sports recruiting reporter John Garcia Jr. that he hopes for offers from power schools such as Ohio State, Stanford and Clemson.
His physicality and ability to high-point on deep balls is particularly attractive to college recruiters.
Harding is ranked as the 95th-best prospect at his position.
Offers, by the numbers
Reported offers: 175
5-star offers: 4
4-star offers: 46
In-state recruits offered: 5
Texas recruits offered: 6
Georgia recruits offered: 31
Florida recruits offered: 27
North Carolina recruits offered: 23
Ohio recruits offered: 17
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 is 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 were surprised he didn’t immediately commit after his visit to the Mountaineers last weekend.
He still has strong interest in several other schools, most notably Boston College, Cincinnati, Indiana, UCF and USF.
The Mountaineers have offered other quarterbacks, but that appears to be window dressing. Maurer looks to be their top prospect for this recruiting class.
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 this year, even before a Class of 2019 recruit such as Maurer arrives at school.
3-star CB MJ Devonshire, Aliquippa, Pa.
MJ Devonshire isn’t the biggest of recruits at 5-11 and 170 pounds, but his athleticism has caught the attention of West Virginia recruiters. The Mountaineers were in early on him and he visited for a junior day in January.
He reportedly shows his highest level of interest for the Mountaineers and Ohio State. He also appears to have particular affinity for Maryland, Michigan State and Oregon State.
Devonshire’s most recent offer came from Indiana after he visited two weekends ago.
But West Virginia could be in the driver’s seat because of the Mountaineers’ early offer. Devonshire also holds a strong connection to the Mountaineers after they plucked former high school teammate Kwantel Raines, a 4-star recruit in the Class of 2018.
Devonshire ranks fifth among Pennsylvania recruits and 45th among cornerbacks nationally.
3-star S Amir Richardson, University (Morgantown, W.Va.)
Richardson’s skill set would make him particularly attractive in the Big 12. And it’s always significant for the Mountaineers to lock down the state’s borders and keep out-of-state poachers away from the best local players.
Richardson is a 6-2, 200-pound safety who appears to have the physicality to play in a Power 5 conference.
Earlier this week, Richardson produced a big effort at The Opening New Jersey Regional that was conducted at the New York Jets’ training facility in Florham Park, N.J.
Richardson was tested as a wide receiver and produced a 38-inch vertical jump that was second among wide receivers and tied for eighth among the campers.
— The Opening (@TheOpening) April 12, 2018
His athleticism enabled him to rank among the 99th percentile of athletes who were tested.
— Amir Richardson (@TheAmirRich) April 8, 2018
After attending West Virginia’s junior day in February, he visited Kentucky last month and has an upcoming trip to inspect Temple. The hometown recruit also has received offers from Georgia Tech, Cincinnati, Marshall and four Ivy League schools.
Richardson has told 247Sports.com and others that he plans to delay his decision until the fall. He also plans to attend Penn State’s spring game next week, along with upcoming visits to Louisville and Virginia Tech.
— Amir Richardson (@TheAmirRich) April 11, 2018
He ranks as the nation’s No. 78 safety and fourth-best recruit in his state.
3-star ATH Winston Wright, Memorial Day School, Savannah, Ga.
The wispy 5-9, 170-pound Wright names the Mountaineers among his three finalists, along with Boston College and UCF.
Wright visited Boston College after announcing the Eagles were leading in his recruitment at that point.
— Winston Wright Jr. (@jetlifewright) April 10, 2018
But he told Ryan Lance of 247Sports.com that he expects to choose his college this summer. He hinted in a tweet earlier this month that his final decision is weeks away.
Two More Months Till Commitment…
— Winston Wright Jr. (@jetlifewright) April 13, 2018
Earlier this month, Wright made an unofficial visit to Florida State and appears to be keeping his options open.
Wright would help whoever he chooses as a receiver and returner. It sounds as if the Mountaineers may be challenged from keeping him from committing to an ACC school.
247Sports.com ranks him as the No. 66 athlete in the country and the No. 67 player in Georgia.
Here is a breakdown of the five Mountaineers signees 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 current 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.