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Marshall columnist uses misinformation to slam WVU, uses former recruit as pawn

Chuck Landon spewing misinformation about West Virginia University is nothing new. However, using a former football recruit as a pawn in his attempt to discredit the Mountaineers is probably the lowest he has gone yet.

Many were surprised by the announcement that 2016 athlete Tyrhee Pratt out of Capital High School in Charleston, West Virginia would not be signing with WVU on national signing day. He would instead be visiting the University of Charlotte in the coming week. But the circumstances surrounding that development are far removed from what Landon is trying to imply.

So lets dig into just how off base Landon was this morning in his publication:

-Landon wrote, “No matter what the circumstances were WVU shouldn’t have pulled the former Capital High School star’s scholarship offer the day before national signing day (Feb. 3).”

Contrary to what Landon published, Pratt made the decision to explore those options on his own. According to Capital head coach Jon Carpenter as stated to the Charleston Gazette, ““The crazy thing, is that in the last couple days and hours, he’s been recruited more than he has throughout the whole process after he committed to West Virginia. That was why a whole lot of people wouldn’t even mess with him. But things happen so fast, and he’s still under the recruiting pressure.’’

Pratt went on to state in the same article, ““I’m delaying [the decision] for right now,’’ Pratt said on Tuesday. “I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days. I’m probably going to take a visit to UNC [Charlotte] Monday.’’

-Landon wrote, “The excuse Pratt isn’t a full qualifier academically doesn’t wash. That didn’t just happen on Feb. 2. If that were the problem, there was plenty of time to inform Pratt about it instead of waiting until the 11th hour.”

I am a more upstanding writer. I am not going to use a young man’s academic status to either prove or disprove a point. However, I will assure you, this information is false.

-Landon wrote, “Besides, if Pratt is a partial qualifier he could have gone to WVU under new NCAA legislation for 2016 enrollees, according The term “academic redshirt” is replacing “partial qualifier.”

Again without getting into the academic eligibility of the young man it is not as simple as Landon makes it out to be. There are circumstances in which WVU can take partial qualifiers but there are hurdles. Again, this is not Marshall, it is more complicated.

-Landon wrote. “So, if Pratt was a partial qualifier, WVU still could have taken him. If the Mountaineers had room, that is. And that appears to be the crux of the matter.”

Yet another piece of uninformed journalism. WVU has yet to reach 85 scholarships for the 2016 season. Contrary to Landon, the Mountaineers do have room remaining. However, this is irrelevant considering again the Mountaineers did not pull the scholarship offer to Pratt.

Landon wrote, “Was it really Pratt’s academics or was it the pair of junior college All-Americans who dropped into WVU’s crowded lap a few days earlier?”

This has already been covered but I’ll reiterate, academics did not play a part in Pratt decommitting from WVU. Also, implying that two JUCO All-Americans “dropped into WVU’s lap” is about the dumbest part of this entire article. WVU coaches worked hard to land Craig Smith and Justin Crawford, or was he referring to Mike Daniels? Yes Chuck, he is a JUCO All-American too.

Unlike Marshall, WVU coaches work hard for their recruiting classes. They do not have the luxury of sitting back and taking non-qualifiers.

It is interesting Landon would even address this issue. Just weeks before publishing this story Landon ranted about Pratt not even being the best athlete in the state. He felt that Point Pleasant running back Cody Mitchell was more deserving of the Kennedy Award, Mitchell is a Marshall commit.

There is no denying that Cody Mitchell is a great athlete and will be an asset to the Marshall football program for years to come. I guess since Landon felt Mitchell was the best athlete in the state it justified Marshall not even attempting to persuade Pratt to the Herd. Speaking of which, I have to wonder if this article is simply a deflection from the fact Marshall has not pursued Pratt. No matter the young man’s academic status the Herd can take him.

Recruiting is more about building relationships than anything else. The fact that Capital head coach Jon Carpenter was more than satisfied with WVU’s recruitment of Pratt goes a long way in building a relationship for the future. The Mountaineers are heavily involved in the recruitment of Pratt’s teammate Dorian Etheridge as well as potential 2018 and 2019 prospects in the Charleston area.

It is unfortunate that rebuttal articles such as this one needs to be written to defend a university. But yet here we are, defending against an article written simply in an attempt to rile the masses and throw mud on a university just for the sake of spite. What is more unfortunate is that a university that didn’t even have a dog in the fight has to be brought up simply to put things into perspective.

Tyrhee Pratt will be a collegiate athlete whether it be at WVU or Charlotte and he will undoubtedly be successful. There is no reason to use this young man as a pawn to grind an axe against West Virginia.


Jeremy Simon
Founder and publisher of, Jeremy is also a contributor to USA Today as well as covers the Mountaineers for Athlon Sports. Follow on Twitter @JSi07
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