Young Players & Incoming Recruits
We tried giving you updates on various recruits during awards season, but finally some early-enrollees are arriving on campus. South Charleston’s Derrek Pitts is one of them.
Pitts, who projects to play defense for Tony Gibson, is joined by Tevin Bush and Maverick Wolfley as the three early-enrollee freshmen for WVU. Bush was a running back/wide receiver for New Orleans’ Landry-Walker High School, and amassed 2,500 yards and 29 touchdowns on his way to a Class 5A State Championship. The final player of the trio is Wolfley, who may be the most familiar with WVU. Wolfley’s brother Stone was redshirted as a freshman this past season, while their father Dale was a member of the ’88 West Virginia squad that played for the National Championship. However you look at it, Maverick is a Wolfley – and you can never have too many of them around. Who knows, maybe he’ll channel his inner Steeler-playing grandfather Ray Mansfield.
Aside from the early-enrollee high school players, some JuCo commits joined them on campus. Hakeem Bailey, Jalen Harvey, Dominique Maiden, Ezekiel Rose and Quondarius Qualls all enrolled on Jan. 10, 2017. Offensive coordinator Joe Wickline’s son, Kelby, and former ‘Eer David Sills, also joined the team via JuCo and enrolled in January.
West Virginia football (and basketball) have been a launchpad for junior college student-athletes looking to leap to the NCAA. Bruce Irvin, both Rasul Douglas and Justin Crawford, and all three of the White brothers (Kevin, Ka’Raun, Kyzir) were JuCo products. West Virginia doesn’t attract all the 4- and 5-star recruits Alabama or USC does, so these athletes looking for one last chance sometimes get that opportunity in Morgantown. As of right now, there are four JuCo players (Bailey, Harvey, Qualls & Rose) looking to be added to the defense, while three others (Maiden, Sills & Wickline) are expected to play offense. Adjusting from the JuCo to the NCAA game is different for every player, but West Virginia has proven those recruits can make immediate and lasting impacts.
Aside from recruits already on campus, many are finishing things up in high school. Players expected to sign with the program are Eugene Brown, Mike Harley, Jr., Ricky Johns, Exree Loe, Kenny Robinson, Alec Sinkfield, Collin Smith, Darius Stills and Tyler Thurmond. A handful of these guys are from the Pittsburgh-area, but Brown and Thurmond are from Georgia, while Sinkfield and Harley are from Florida; Stills is from West Virginia. Harley Jr., the St. Thomas Aquinas product who seemed to be a Mountaineer, announced on Sunday his desire to re-open his recruitment.