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Big weekend for WVU hosting potential recruits

By By Chris Anderson
For the Gazette

Over the weekend, West Virginia hosted a handful of camps, leading to dozens of marquee visitors making their way to campus. In a variety of different ways, all of these camps and visits led to a hugely successful weekend for the Mountaineers.

The first bit of good news came Friday night, when WVU Virginia picked up its 13th commitment of the 2015 class, as Union Local (N.J.) offensive tackle Colton McKivitz pledged to the Mountaineers.

The 6-foot-7, 260-pound prospect originally committed to Miami of Ohio earlier in the process, despite naming West Virginia his “clear leader.’’ Eventually, though, McKivitz continued to look around, as schools from the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 refused to stop recruiting him. That resulted in another large tackle with big potential for offensive line coach Ron Crook.

On the camp side of things, West Virginia also hosted a 7-on-7 tournament and a “Big Man Camp’’ simultaneously on Friday and Saturday. That allowed big-time programs such as DeMatha Catholic (Md.), Eastern Christian (Md.), Miramar (Fla.) and others to bring their entire teams to Morgantown.

For Miramar, that gave current commits Kahlil Lewis and Kendrell McFadden their first opportunities to see their future homes. Both recruits left impressed, and indicated that the trip helped solidify their commitment to the program. Not only that, but JaJuan Seider and Damon Cogdell spent a tremendous amount of time with the Patriot’ offensive tackle, Leeward Brown, who is currently committed to Miami. The three-star prospect has said before that the Hurricanes are his school, but if there were one program that could flip him, it would be the Mountaineers.

More recruiting and evaluation took place throughout the day Saturday, especially as Eastern Christian (Md.) tore through the tournament on its way to the championship.

ECA is led by quarterback David Sills. The three-star prospect is best known for committing to USC and former head coach Lane Kiffin when he was in seventh grade. He has stayed committed since then, but is openly looking around, and it is believed West Virginia is the leader. Not surprisingly, Shannon Dawson and Dana Holgorsen spent plenty of time watching Sills and his team play.

On Sunday, West Virginia hosted another one-day prospect camp, opening up Mountaineer field for dozens of top prospects to compete in front of the coaches, in hopes of earning an offer. Frankfort quarterback Gage Shaffer (currently committed to Maryland) was one of the stars. The in-state prospect admitted he did not throw as well as he was capable of, though, and says he hopes to hear from the staff in the near future.

At running back, Jonathan Femi-Cole, who crossed the border from Canada for the camp, was very impressive, and is hoping for an offer when he calls the coaches this week. He already holds an offer from Minnesota.

The talent was not just restricted to the 2017 class, either.

Southlake Christian Academy (N.C.) cornerback Aapri Washington was one of the best players of the entire three days, and he was equally impressed with the coaches and the campus. This was his second time to Morgantown, and he already holds offers from Mississippi State, Boston College and more.

Even with all the campers and teams in town, the biggest names may have been visitors just stopping by to watch the coaches.

Five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle swung through the facilities and hung out on the field for a while, speaking with the majority of the coaches before heading to Penn State. He put the Mountaineers in his top 10 and says he is seriously considering West Virginia for an official visit.

Joining his cousin, Aapri, mentioned above, was four-star 2016 running back Robert Washington. He watched his cousin participate, but also spent plenty of time talking with Seider and Galloway. Afterward, he said the visit really helped West Virginia’s chances with him, and he could see himself returning in the fall.

While the immediate impact was only one commitment, this weekend’s slate of visitors and campers will likely lead to several more down the road. In three days, the coaches put in work that could be felt for years.

Chris Anderson is a fulltime writer for

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