There are many reasons to believe that this years recruiting class could be the best the school has ever seen. You can look at any of the recruiting services’ rankings or just by watching the unlimited potential on the highlight reel. Currently the Mountaineers have the 17th rated class according to Rivals.com and the 24th best class per 247sports.
With the Mountaineers recent 10-win season, head coach Dana Holgorsen getting a contract extension and facilities continuing to be imrpoved, it’s not hard to see why things are looking brighter in recruiting. Success, coaching stability and state of the art facilities can really go a long way into the success of a teams recruiting ability.
Let’s dive right into this class and what makes it so special.
I’ll first begin with the stars of the class, this is where everyone looks anyway so why not begin with them?
Safety- Kwantel Raines (Aliquippa, Pa.) is the clear “stud” of the group. You know what you are getting with him, another hard hitting, sure tackling, great covering safety with great size and length. Sure, the comparisons to Karl Joseph and Kyzir White will come along with wearing the No.8 jersey, but he will be great in his own way.
Defensive End- Dante Stills (Fairmont, WV) will join his brother in following their fathers legacy at West Virginia. He is a premier edge rusher that also yielded offers and heavy interest from Oklahoma and Florida. He looks like a man among boys on his highlight reel. He will be a fan favorite early in his career.
Stills and Raines could turn the tide for Tony Gibson’s defense as early as their true freshman seasons, but don’t expect both to be starters right away.
Wide Receiver- Sam James (Richmond Hill, Ga.) is by far the fastest player in this class. Comparison to the speed of Tavon Austin and Shelton Gibson will be made, but James is a slightly different player. He can get a tad more physical with corners than those guys did which adds another key element to his game to compliment his speed. He may be the best offensive player in this class when it’s all said and done.
Defensive End- Tyrese Allen (Paintsville, Ky.) honestly has the most entertaining highlight films I have ever encountered. Checking in at 6’3″ 289-pounds you will see the big man toating the rock as a running back where he actually rushed for over 1,000 yards for Johnson Central High School. He’s very quick and smooth for his size, I see him being a guy that reeks havoc in the backfield for years to come. He will be a developmental guy, but once he gets comfortable, watch out.
Athlete- T.J. Banks (East Allegheny, Pa.) is the guy that just absolutely jumps off the tape in this class. I’ve been on record saying he could have been game ready this year, the 2017 season. He is college ready when it comes to pure skill and athleticism. Banks will more than likely play defensive end and like Allen, be extremely prodcutive. This guy is built like a bionic robot, he is huge, he will play huge.
Offensive lineman- Oyenmwen Uzebu (Alpharetta, Ga.) the “Nigerian Nightmare” is a personal favorite of mine. He’s a very personable, high energy young man that can not wait to hit the sleds in Morgantown. He and Banks both have tremendous size, the only thing that may hold Uzebu back is his youth. Uzebu actually just turned 17, so with that being said there is plenty of time to develop him into a premier offensive tackle. And if you are looking for a pronounciation it is (ON-you-VAY EW-zah-BU).
There are plenty of other really good recruits that will be joining those I mentioned and quite frankly, you could make a case for every one of them to be an “unknown stud”. Dana Holgorsen and staff have done a tremendous job piecing together this class and there is still work to be done. Come February, West Virginia will very likely finish with its highest ranked recruiting class in program history, just wait for it!