West Virginia football had a nice weekend this past weekend when they landed 2 of their targets for the 2016 class in Toyous Avery and Jovanni Stewart but there are still more top targets of the coaching staff out there. National signing day is approaching so it’s time to hand out some predictions as to who will finish out this class for the Mountaineers.
WVU is heading into a crucial week and weekend where I fully expect them to take on as many that commit. The first two prospects on this list are no brainers given the Mountaineers situation in the defensive backfield.
JUCO cornerbacks Elijah Battle and Mike Daniels are both going to be Mountaineers when signing day comes if not before. Battle has received 2 in-home visits from Coach Mitchell and has been a priority of the coaching staff since he wasn’t an early enrollee at Minnesota. Daniels was on campus this weekend and informed me that he had a great time. These two will ease the rebuilding process in the defensive secondary for Tony Gibson next season.
Another defensive back prospect that hasWVU listed as a finalist for is KJ Sails, but I believe that he is more than likely heading to Cincinnati. Sails has been a visitor to the WVU campus before but chose to commit to Iowa shortly after his visit only to reopen his options. While he listed WVU as one of those options, I don’t think it’s likely he will be a Mountaineer.
With the news on Saturday night that offensive lineman D’Tavieus Taylor was no longer an option for WVU, the staff will turn it’s full attention to Craig Smith, who is currently committed to USF but will visit WVU this weekend. Smith is very excited about the WVU offer and has spoken very highly of Coach Seider. Smith was paid a visit recently by WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Joe Wickline as they try to talk up the university before Smith sees it for himself. WVU will take one more OL prospect and Smith would be that commit.
There are 3 targets at the linebacker position; Branden Ferns, Emmett Rice, and Kaelin Himphill. I think that WVU will land two of these prospects and you honestly can’t go wrong with any combination of the two. Rice has been used as an outside linebacker in high school and therefore is more familiar with a blitzing type scheme while Himphill and Ferns are run stoppers in the middle. The problem with these three is that Rice is committed to Florida State, Ferns seems to be leaning towards Penn State, and Himphill is from Oregon and WVU got involved late in the process.
While there is negatives to all three there are also positives, Rice wants to play early which he will at WVU, Ferns has an older brother that is currently a Mountaineer, and Himphill wants to go to the program that gives him the best opportunity. At the end of the day I still firmly believe that we land 2 of these 3 LB’s and I am going to say it’s Rice and Himphill which should make all of Mountaineer Nation very happy and before the criticism starts that we lose a 4 star LB (Ferns) for a 3 star LB (Himphill) turn on the highlights of Himphill and try to convince me that he is only a 3 star LB. All three of these prospects have a chance to contribute immediately once they get to Morgantown and with the current commits at the position, WVU would be in excellent shape at the position for the next 4 years.
Another prospect that I firmly believe WVU will land is WR/TE Jovani Haskins, who took an official visit to Miami over the weekend but has spoken very highly of WVU. He almost committed to WVU during an in-season visit but chose to hold off until he made all his visits. Haskins was visited last week by Coach Galloway and Mitchell where they informed him of where they see him fitting in their offense which set very well with Haskins. Look for Haskins to sign with WVU and have an immediate impact given his athletic abilities. Another thing going for the Mountaineers here is that they have offered his teammate Kelvin Harmon as both a DB and a WR. I don’t think that WVU will land Harmon but it’s possible that Haskins might attempt to convince him to join him at WVU.
WVU is set at the quarterback and wide receiver position for this class so there aren’t many options for a surprise commit. With the departure of Smallwood, you could argue that a running back is a must have. However, I don’t see it considering Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway have the ability to fulfill that role. But if they choose to go that way watch for JUCO RB Justin Crawford. Crawford received a visit yesterday from the WVU staff. As a result the 3* back cancelled his visit to South Carolina this weekend and will not visit WVU.
I will say that WVU will use one scholarship on a DL to finish out this class with the main targets being Tyrell Chavis who would be a natural fit as the nose tackle in the 3-3-5 scheme. Another perfect addition to the center of that 3-3-5 scheme would be DT Jamil Dukes, who told me last night that he is still considering WVU after opening up from ECU. DE Jordan Woods and DE Joey Fisher are blitzing specialist that could be big time gets for the defensive line but both don’t seem to be options anymore as Woods is headed to Georgia Tech and the staff seems to have back off from Fisher, which is a surprise. Barring an unforeseen offer this late in the process, I think that WVU will take either Chavis or Dukes in this class with either being a welcome addition to the Mountaineers defensive front.
If things go as I believe the Mountaineers could be looking at a very successful national signing day.