Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.


Learn more about HD Media

If you heard crowd noise for West Virginia during Saturday’s win over Eastern Kentucky, it was likely very minimal. Or, in many cases, it was fake and piped in via loudspeakers to help improve the environment. The University made the decision that there would be no fans allowed at the game, only essential personnel, family members of the team and coaching staff, and limited media members.

At the same time, the NCAA also has restrictions in place that have banned in-person recruiting – including visits – to campuses through the end of the month (and possibly longer). Despite all of that, the Mountaineers had a four-star, Top 100 recruit in the stands to see the season-opening win over the Colonels.

Fort Lauderdale (Florida) American Heritage edge rusher Marvin Jones Jr. was in the stands. The four-star prospect in the Class of 2022 holds two dozen offers from the likes of Florida State, Alabama, Tennessee and, yes, West Virginia. He also happens to be the brother of freshman cornerback Daryl Porter. So Jones came up with their mother to watch the game.

“It was more of a family trip,” Jones said after the visit. “I just came to see my brother play.”

The NCAA restrictions, as well as the COVID protocols enacted by the team, kept Jones from talking with the coaching staff or getting a tour of the facilities, but that didn’t stop him from being impressed with what he saw on the field – although even he admits that competition was not up to par.

“It was exciting to see that football is back and it was obviously cool to see my brother play,” he said. “They played good, but I’m interested to see what they do against bigger schools.”

Jones is the son of the former two-time All-American linebacker of the same name. The elder Jones played at Florida State, where he was a Butkus Award winner in 1992 before leaving school early to be the No. 4 overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. He then enjoyed a 10-year career with the New York Jets, accumulating over 1,000 career tackles.

The younger Jones says his father’s time at Florida State will not impact his recruitment, and that he’s open to any and all schools. Right now, though, he’s more focused on his junior season and has no other visits planned. His lead recruiter for the Mountaineers is tight ends coach Travis Trickett, who specializes in south Florida recruiting. Since the Sept. 1 date that allowed colleges to initiate contact with 2022 recruits, Jones says he and Trickett have “gone back and forth” in conversation.

Jones, who is ranked as the No. 6 weak-side defensive end in the Class of 2022 by 247Sports, says he has no favorites at this point in his recruitment.