There's an old saying that is a lot better than never. Occasionally, it's even better than early. That's a lesson that the football world has learned well over the years — just look at Shannon Sharpe and Tom Brady, late-round NFL draft picks who blossomed into stars.
As the National Signing Day approaches us on Wednesday, most members of WVU's 2024 football signing class have made their commitments official already. However, there are still a number of potential diamonds in the rough that have been made preferred walk-on offers rather than offered full scholarships that are yet to make a choice.
Over the years, we've seen many Mountaineer greats start as walk-ons: Rich Braham, Owen Schmitt, and Najee Goode are among that list. A number of WVU's current scholarship players such as Preston Fox, Nick Malone, and Hudson Clement started as preferred walk-ons as well.
Headed into Wednesday, here are four underrated talents who have preferred walk-on offers from WVU currently who may decide to call Morgantown home — and eventually become contributors for the Mountaineers.
Mykel Davis, WR/ATH — Wheeling Park High School (Wheeling, WV)
Davis is a 6'2, 185-pound receiver that comes from in-state. Davis played his high school ball at Wheeling Park, where he was an offensive force this past season.
According to West Virginia Prep Football Stats, Davis reeled in 11 touchdown catches — which is tied for 12th out of the 370-plus players who recorded at least one touchdown reception in the state. He also managed to tally over 800 total receiving yards during his senior campaign, good for 11th overall in the state.
According to his Twitter/X account, Davis has narrowed his final two choices to WVU and Morehead State. The latter is now coached by former Fairmont State head man Jason Woodman, who appears to have heavily interested in bringing Davis to Fairmont while he was still leading that program. Davis is set to make his choice Wednesday.
David Parsons, QB — Parkersburg High School (Parkersburg, WV)
Parsons is another in-state prospect, though perhaps a tricky one after Monday's news that WVU has added it's second in-state quarterback commit for the 2024 class in Murphy Clement. However, in many respects, Parsons represents a different style of quarterback than Clement. One that is a bit more of a traditional pro-style passer.
On film, Parsons is a bit raw but offers up some great intangibles: he seems to have good arm strength, a solid pocket presence with an ability to withstand strong pressure, and the understanding to check down to open options when the deep ball is unavailable.
Parsons was a leading passer in the state of West Virginia this past season, ranking fifth in passing yards with 2,729 yards and tied for eighth in passing touchdowns with 29 total touchdowns.
Parsons may choose another route as the quarterback room is filling up in Morgantown — he also holds Division 1 offers from Morehead State and VMI. But he has also taken numerous visits to WVU, with his most recent coming in January. He also announced on Twitter/X this week that his recruitment is officially closed, with that Tweet coming hours before Murphy Clement announced his commitment. Parsons is set to sign on Wednesday.
Dante Recker, DE/DT — Peters Township High School (McMurray, PA)
Dante Recker could be the next great Division 1 defensive lineman or linebacker. Though it's hard to tell how many people realize it quite yet.
Watching Recker on film, there are a few impressive facets of his game that stick out. He is quite an elusive block shedder, deftly spinning and juking out of reach of offensive lineman attempting to maintain their blocks on him. He also garners a number of double-team blocks, which itself reflects his skill. But it's his resolve and toughness in often fighting through those blocks to make a big play which leaves you stirred by his tenacity.
Also a huge upside are his physical attributes. Recker lists himself at 6'6 and 240 pounds — the type of frame which already provides an advantage over many, but leaves rooms for genetic freak levels of growth under a Division 1 level strength and conditioning program. He has already managed 480-pound squat and 300-pound power clean max lifts, which shows great potential for explosive strength.
Recker also has offers on the table from Army, Navy, Valparaiso, Lehigh, and Robert Morris, and has recently visited West Point, But his first heavy Division 1 interest came in a PWO offer last November from the Mountaineers.
Nasai Bell, ATH — North Caroline High School (Ridgely, MD)
Bell is a very raw talent, but there is lots of potential to be mined here.
Seeing reps primarily at defensive back and quarterback, Bell's biggest upside is his pure athleticism. His ability to break tackles, shimmy away from defenders, find open field space, and bully opponents with his body offer a peak into the star he could become in the correct system.
With an imposing 6'3, 205-pound frame, he has certain highlights where he appears reminiscent of a slightly-smaller Randy Moss, high-pointing interceptions and proving too athletic for the opposing players to do much about it.
His most likely role would be as a special teams player with an opportunity to develop either as an imposing defensive back or Tavon Austin-style utility player on offense.
Bell holds a preferred walk-on offer from Ohio in addition to WVU, and an offer from Marist at the FCS level. He was on a visit in Morgantown earlier in January, however, which is the most recent buzz surrounding Bell on the recruiting trail.