The WVU and Pitt football teams won’t meet each other on the playing field until 2022. However, the Mountaineer and the Panthers are regular foes on the recruiting ground.
This week, the Mountaineers beat out the Panthers in a recruiting rivalry that saw wide receiver Randy Fields choose West Virginia over Pitt, as well as Cincinnati.
Fields is a three-star recruit from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. He is 6-foot-3, 185 pounds and will be an engaging target for whoever will be the Mountaineers’ starting quarterback in a few years. The reloading receiving corps will definitely be well-stocked with fields in the mix.
He is entering his final year of high school and will help the Panthers build off last year’s 10-2 campaign. St. Frances is one of the top football schools in the state of Maryland and is building into becoming one of the best programs on the east coast.
The only two losses for the Panthers last year were Paramous Catholic, a perennial powerhouse out of New Jersey, and IMG Academy out of Bradenton, Fla., an institution that attracts the top athletes from across the country.
Fields has already seen some of the best competition the prep ranks have to offer, so with a solid senior year, he should transition well for the Mountaineers in the Big 12 Conference.
Having the opportunity to play in the Big 12 is an inviting motivational factor for many young players in the eastern part of the country. This is where the Mountaineers have traditionally won in recruiting battles.
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The state of West Virginia is said to be the most northern of the southern states and the most southern of the northern states. Heck, it could also be considered the most western of the eastern states. Since landing in the Big 12, the Mountaineers are still struggling to find their identity in the national scheme of things.
But the Big 12 also provides a unique setting for players to see teams and areas that are a little out of the ordinary. Having Randy Fields stack up against some of the other top offenses in the college game gives him, and other similar players, a chance to be among the nation’s best.
The Big 12 and ACC are what Fields likely grew up with in Maryland. He will soon get the chance to square off against Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Randy Fields made the right choice when he picked West Virginia over Pitt. Both programs can profess wins on the field and in the recruiting arena. Recently, former WPIAL star Jordan Whitehead picked Pitt after heavy recruitment from West Virginia.
Other regional standouts have their pick of the litter with schools like WVU, Pitt, Penn State and Ohio State. PSU and OSU were in on Whitehead, too, so it wasn’t just the Mountaineers who missed out on the cornerback.
Randy Fields could be a collegiate star on the offensive side of the ball and fans of the Mountaineers will be happy to see him shine at Milan Puskar Stadium.
He wouldn’t want to hear the panther growls at Heinz Field, anyway.