For the third time in four weeks, West Virginia University’s football team played a tight game against a Top-25 opponent. Unlike last week, though, the Mountaineers were unable to capitalize when it mattered most and suffered their seventh loss of the season.
Much like all of these home games, however, Neal Brown and his staff left a lasting impression on a talented group of visitors.
The headliner for this past weekend was Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Mississippi) cornerback Jackie Matthews. The 247Sports three-star recruit received an offer from the Mountaineers earlier this fall, with the staff putting an emphasis on adding some immediate help in the secondary, and they rolled out the red carpet for Matthews.
“I loved it,” he said. “I got to see all the things I wanted to know about West Virginia … The atmosphere and the weight room. The field. Everything. Everything stood out.”
Matthews was hosted by his cousin, current West Virginia wide receiver T.J. Simmons. He, too, is from Alabama and not only has that connection with Simmons, but a previous relationship with Brown and his staff from their time at Troy.
That could go a long way in helping the Mountaineers secure his commitment, as Matthews says he is down to West Virginia and Central Florida with only a couple of weeks before the start of the early signing period. He would have three years to play two seasons and can enroll in January.
While Matthews was there for the entire weekend – as is custom with an official visit paid for by the school – there were more than a dozen other prospects on the sideline for an unofficial visit on Saturday. That included quarterback commit Garrett Greene, who flew up from Florida on Friday and watched Fairmont High fellow commit Zach Frazier in a state playoff game.
Also there was kicker commit Kaulin Parris and his teammate, star running back J.J. Davis. Huntington’s Brocton Blair, who recently received a preferred walk-on offer from WVU, was also in attendance.
“It was a great visit and my second time coming up this season,” said Blair. “It was good to talk to the coaches more now since I got the [preferred walk-on offer]. I enjoyed it.”
Traveling up from Woodward Academy (Atlanta, Georgia) was one of the younger prospects in attendance, 2022 athlete Damari Alston. Recruited as a running back, Alston already holds an offer from the Mountaineers and received plenty of attention from the coaching staff.
“All coaches showed fantastic love toward me and I definitely favorited the visit,” said Alston. “I loved it there…. The amount of love I received really stood out to me.”
West Virginia heads on the road for their final home game of the season, but the staff will be back in Morgantown right after that with two big official visit weekends before the early signing day. Those will be two more opportunities for the staff to continue to build relationships and sway recruits.