West Virginia University’s football team made another addition to its program Monday morning, one that will join the roster very soon. Finnish defensive end Edward Vesterinen pledged to the Mountaineers moments after receiving an offer from the coaching staff.
“The Mountaineers felt right because I built a good relationship with the D-line coach and was talking a lot with him,” Vesterinen told 247Sports. “I feel like it’s a perfect place for me as an environment.”
The catch is that it is only a “feeling.” The European prospect has never been to Morgantown before, as the pandemic canceled his plans to come to the United States and work out for schools this summer.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder did, however, see enough during his virtual visit last week to feel confident in his choice. WVU coach Neal Brown and his staff also felt strongly enough about what they saw remotely — via Vesterinen’s film — to extend the offer in the first place.
There’s another catch, though. Despite the timing of this commitment, Vesterinen will actually be a late addition for the 2020 signing class.
“He became available because, in Finland, they have a mandatory military service and he just found out he would be early released,” said Brandon Collier of PPI Recruits, a group that trains and works with European prospects with college football aspirations. “So he was supposed to be [a] 2021 [recruit], but he is now able to go 2020.”
Vesterinen will enroll at WVU in August, starting practice on the second day. That will allow him to count toward the 2021 class since the Mountaineers have already utilized all of their scholarships for 2020.
It’s a move that Brown and staff have done several times before, and will continue to do in the future. Georgia linebacker James Thomas — who committed in February, but did not sign an official letter of intent — plans to do the same thing this fall.
According to Collier, who has trained and worked personally with Vesterinen, the newest Mountaineer is not just a body, either.
“He’s a high three-star, maybe low four-star [recruit] if he played in the USA,” said Collier. “He has it all in terms of pass rush and really good testing numbers.”
If he turns out to be as good as that impromptu ranking, then the Mountaineers will continue a trend of finding success with their creative ways of adding late players to the roster. Last year, WVU added Jarret Doege, Reuben Jones, George Campbell and more in similar fashion. The coaches are hoping for similar success this fall.