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National Signing Day Recap

Photo via Pittsburgh Post Gazette

The traditional signing period is officially here and below is how the day went for new head coach Neal Brown and his staff. (This does not include early enrollees CB Kerry Martin, DL Taijh Alston and CB Dreshun Miller).

7:59 a.m. – LB Jared Bartlett

Suwanne (GA) outside linebacker Jared Bartlett has signed with the Mountaineers.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker held offers from Alabama, Maryland, Wake Forest, and Purdue before deciding on West Virginia.

Widely considered as a three-star recruit, Bartlett will soon be looked at as a steal for the West Virginia coaching staff. His speed and athleticism make him a terrific pass-rusher and an even better tackler. Bartlett shoots gaps well, can drop in coverage when asked, and has a nose for the football that reminds us of David Long. He might not have the stars beside his name, but Bartlett will be a household name sooner rather than later.

8:15 a.m. – OG Donovan Beaver

Spotslyvania (VA) offensive guard Donovan Beavers has signed with the Mountaineers.

Beaver is a 6-foot-7, 295-pound and three-star lineman according to numerous outlets, making him the second largest lineman on West Virginia’s roster behind Colton McKivitz. The Virginia native was also heavily recruited, claiming offers from Florida, Louisville, Central Florida, and Virginia Tech before committing to the Mountaineers.

Despite his large frame, Beaver is exceptionally quick off the line, allowing him block linebackers with ease. He uses his height well, too, lowering his pads to block smaller defenders and upending bigger, stronger tacklers.

8:30 a.m. – WR Terence Doston

Tampa (Fla.) two-sport star Terence Doston has signed with the Mountaineers.

Doston, a baseball and football standout, chose West Virginia over offers from Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina, and Minnesota.

Standing at 5-foot-10, 160-pounds, the three-star receiver is an absolute burner. Doston flashes track-like speed and can make tacklers miss in the open field with ease. Doston will also play baseball at WVU for coach Randy Mazey. He will join quarterback Trey Lowe as the 2nd football player to also be a member of the baseball club.

8:45 a.m. – CB Nicktroy Fortune

Lawrenceville (GA) cornerback Nicktroy Fortune is officially a Mountaineer.

The 5’11” 175 -pound corner chose West Virginia over offers from Virginia, Iowa State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Kentucky and many others. He made his pledge to the gold and blue back in July and has been a solid commit ever since. He took his official visit earlier this month and said, “The training room blew me away. It’s really cool to see how much they try to keep you healthy and ready to go. The facilities were pretty amazing.”

Fortune has a knack of jumping routes and timing passes, his cover skills should and will translate to the next level. He is probably the best high school cover corner the Mountaineers have landed in the last few years. With his versatility, don’t be shocked to see Vic Koenning move him around the field just to get him out there early on.

8:54 a.m. – DL Jordan Jefferson

Navarre (FL) defensive lineman Jordan Jefferson has officially signed with West Virginia.

Jefferson chose the Mountaineers over other offers from Kansas State and Louisville among others.

Jefferson becomes the first signee under new defensive line coach Jordan Lesley, who we saw tweet a couple of things on the day that Jefferson was in town for an official visit indicating that the pledge to West Virginia was made while on campus. With Jefferson’s frame (6’4″ 300 lbs) and the leverage he creates at the line of scrimmage, he should be able to come in and compete right away to earn a spot in the rotation up front.

9:00 a.m. – WR Ali Jennings

Highland Springs (VA) wide receiver Ali Jennings has officially signed with West Virginia.

Jennings also held offers from Illinois, James Madison, North Carolina, Michigan State and Georgia Tech.

“Great guys, great staff,” Jennings told DVN in July, following his official visit to Morgantown. “They all knew me and made me feel right at home.”

DVN asked Jennings what else he liked about the West Virginia offense

“The fact I can catch 100 balls for a lot of touchdowns,” Jennings joked. “But no, seriously, it’s a good spread offense in a wide receiver-friendly conference.”

At six-foot-two and 190 lbs, Jennings brings great size and athleticism to the table. He will be looked at as one of the primary options to replace David Sills V in the future as West Virginia’s main red zone threat.

9:14 a.m. – RB Tony Mathis

Cedartown (GA) running back Tony Mathis has signed with West Virginia.

Mathis is a three-star prospect according to multiple outlets, previously holding offers from Louisville, Iowa State, Appalachian State, and West Virginia. The 6-foot, 195-pound back committed to the Mountaineers back in August shortly after attending one of West Virginia’s summer camps.

Mathis is a relatively larger back and runs behind his pads well. Though not the fastest guy on the field, Mathis runs with determination, breaking tackles with ease and is rarely tracked down from behind.

9:30 a.m. – K Kolton McGhee

Altoona (PA) kicker Kolton McGhee has signed with the Mountaineers.

McGhee is the only specialist taken in the 2019 class and he chose West Virginia over offers from Army and Rutgers.

The 6-foot, 175-pound prospect also received interest from Notre Dame and Penn State and is almost guaranteed playing time during his freshman season in Morgantown.

9:42 a.m. – S Rashean Lynn

Cocoa (FL) safety Rashean Lynn has signed with the Mountaineers.

Lynn is fresh off his visit to Morgantown and chose the Mountaineers over other offers from Louisville, Florida, Oregon and many others.

Lynn is a very intriguing prospect that brings tremendous size at 6’5″ and 185 pounds. Of course, he’s a little on the lean side, but once he gets into Mike Joseph’s strength program this guy will be a problem for Big 12 offenses to deal with.

The Mountaineers haven’t had a safety this big since Robert Sands in 2010. Lynn is a two-way athlete and also plays receiver, which goes hand in hand when high pointing the ball and attacking it. His size advantage will certainly help on the back end for this defense, especially in the red zone where 50/50 balls are more likely to happen.

9:47 a.m. – OL Parker Moorer

Charlotte (NC) offensive lineman Parker Moorer has signed with the Mountaineers.

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound and three-star lineman held offers from Maryland, Virginia, Syracuse, and Central Florida before verbally committing to West Virginia in September.

Previously committed to Maryland, Moorer is considered one the top tackles in the state of North Carolina and his athleticism for a tackle translates well to West Virginia’s offense.

10:00 a.m. – S Osita Smith

Wilde Lake (MD) safety Osita Smith has officially signed with the Mountaineers.

The 6’2″ 205- pound safety chose West Virginia over other offers from Maryland, Purdue, Wake Forest, Indiana, East Carolina and a few others.

Smith is very comparable to former Mountaineer, Rasul Douglas. Similar height/weight and same effect on the game. He also played wide receiver in high school at a high level which has helped him on the defensive side snagging interceptions. His length and quickness will be a much needed piece to help in stopping the run game, even when coming down from the secondary. He has closing speed and can get to the quarterback fairly quick on corner blitzes.

There is a ton of star-level talent in Osita Smith and he could be the next great safety at West Virginia. It is a pretty lofty and maybe unfair expectation, but potential is certainly there.

10:16 a.m. – S Tykee Smith

Philadelphia (PA) safety Tykee Smith has officially signed with the Mountaineers

Smith chose West Virginia over a plethora of offers that included the likes of Baylor, Duke, Maryland, Missouri, Michigan State, NC State, Pitt and Syracuse. Smith is rated as a high-end three-star recruit that has been heavily recruited almost as a four-star would.

There is a lot to like about his game. He is the hard hitter of this class and is possibly the best tackler as well. With his size, (5’11” 190 lbs) and hit-ability he reminds me of recent players K.J. Dillon and Dravon Askew-Henry.

10:30 a.m. – DL Jalen Thornton

Cincinnati (OH) defensive lineman Jalen Thornton has signed with West Virginia

Despite being a legacy recruit and committing to the Mountaineers back in February, teams like Iowa State, Kentucky and Marshall pursued Thorton to great lengths.

At 6-foot-3, 242-pounds, Thornton has prototypical size for a defensive end. As a senior, the Ohio native posted 10.5 sacks and 89 tackles. His athleticism cannot be understated, either. If there is one knock on him, it’s his lack of elite speed. Not the fastest edge rusher, he employs a dominant bull rush to overwhelm offensive linemen and is more than capable of eating up space, tackling oncoming running backs while engaging a blocker.

10:44 a.m. – CB Tacorey Turner

Montgomery (AL) cornerback Tacorey Turner has officially signed with the Mountaineers.

Turner, a former Troy commit signed with West Virginia over other offers from Mississippi State, Kansas, Troy and Bowling Green. The strong connection and previous relationship between Turner and Neal Brown’s staff paid off in big dividends as he was able to lure him to the Mountain State.

Severely underrated and a potential “hidden gem” are two ways to describe Turner. Don’t expect star-like potentials from him, especially early on in his career, but he has the ability to turn into a decent player for the Mountaineers.

There is a chance Turner could be blueshirted, which means his scholarship would count towards next year.

10:45 a.m. – WR Winston Wright

Savannah (GA) wide receiver Winston Wright Jr. has signed with West Virginia.

A three-star recruit, Wright held offers from Duke, North Carolina, Nebraska, and Kansas State before deciding on the Mountaineers.

The 5-foot-11, 166-pound receiver possesses tremendous speed, strong hands, and runs great routes.

With Gary Jennings and David Sills graduating this year, West Virginia’s young group of receivers, including Wright, will be counted on to contribute early on in their careers. The Mountaineers have plenty of taller pass-catchers on the roster heading into 2019, but Wright’s speed alone will afford him playing time on special teams and as a returner.

11:00 a.m. – OL Brandon Yates

Henderson (NV) offensive lineman Brandon Yates has signed with West Virginia.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound three-star prospect chose the Mountaineers over offers from Southern California, Arizona State, Boise State, and Utah.

Yates may be the most technically sound lineman from the 2019 class, utilizing an explosive first step and active hands to keep would-be tacklers in front of him. Above all else, Yates has a mean streak that all great offensive lineman possess.

2:30 p.m. – CB Tavian Mayo

Leesburg (GA) defensive back Tavian Mayo has officially signed with West Virginia.

Mayo chose the Mountaineers over other offers from North Carolina, Iowa State, Nebraska and a few others. Mayo has been a West Virginia lean for quite some time and supposedly made a verbal commitment to the Mountaineers during his official visit at the end of January.

Mayo displays pretty solid coverage skills and his footwork is very sound. There’s a good chance for him to come in and compete for some playing time as a true freshman.

Targets that signed elsewhere

S Isheem Young: Iowa State- Had the original coaching staff stayed in tact, there would have been a good chance that Young ended up in Morgantown. Young had no communication with the new staff.

DB MJ Devonshire: Kentucky- A recruit that seemed to be a West Virginia lean for a mere two years is heading to Kentucky. Devonshire has made numerous trips to Morgantown throughout his recruitment, but the new staff was unable to secure an official visit prior to signing day.

OL Darnell Wright: Tennessee- Wright would have easily been one of the programs biggest pickups possibly ever, but he is heading to Rocky Top as we all expected. You have to give Neal Brown and his staff a round of applause for securing a visit and actually being considered on the final day.

WR Deshon Stoudemire: Iowa Western CC- Former West Virginia commit was pulled of his scholarship offer by Dana Holgorsen and has not had contact with WVU ever since. He will head to the JUCO ranks in hopes of getting in the D-I spotlight once again.

OL Doug Nester: Virginia Tech- This one really never stood much of a chance, but he did flip, just not to WVU. Nester will play against the Mountaineers twice during his career.

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