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West Virginia University’s football team has found great success over the years in recruiting from the junior college ranks. Former stars like wide receiver Mario Alford, offensive lineman Mark Glowinski, and all three White brothers – Kevin, Kyzir, and Ka’Raun – hailed from two-year colleges before arriving in Morgantown and making a difference.

Those recruits typically fill specific positions of need in each class, and are often times not targeted until later in the process. A select few, though, find their way onto the radar early and become important prospects for the coaching staff to try to add. This 2021 recruiting class is no different, with the Mountaineers focusing in on a handful of elite junior college players to add to the roster.

At running back, coach Neal Brown and staff are hard after East Mississippi Community College athlete JD Martin. A quarterback in high school, Martin led one of the more successful high school programs in Alabama before a knee injury derailed his recruitment. Electing to go the junior college route, Martin converted to more of a scat back that lines up all over the offensive side of the ball to make plays. That’s resulted in well more than a dozen new offers, including one from WVU.

The 247Sports three-star prospect says Brown has shown interest in him since the coach’s days at Troy, and that means a lot to him that it has transferred to WVU. The staff views Martin as someone who could line up in the backfield or in the slot and make a difference once he got the ball in space. He plans to virtually visit soon and will be considering WVU strongly as he narrows down his recruitment and signs in December.

Georgia Military College offensive lineman Anthony Belton is the most recent junior college offer from West Virginia. He says the staff sees him as a potential starter right away at tackle, and has been in touch with him for several months now.

“I’ve known about West Virginia, but I met some of the coaches in January when they came up to GMC,” Belton said. “[Last month], coach Lesley was telling me about the talk him and coach Moore had and he was telling me he feels like I can come in and be able to play a big role at left tackle.”

Another long-standing target for WVU is Northwest Mississippi Community College defensive lineman Nijel McGriff, who did not have to wait until June for his scholarship. In fact, he was one of the first junior college players to claim an offer from the Mountaineers.

McGriff learned of the news via defensive line coach Jordan Lesley, and the two have stayed in touch ever since, with the staff regularly sending him graphics and updates, including an invite for a virtual visit in the near future.

McGriff was originally scheduled to take an official visit in June, and although that will have to wait, he still has the Mountaineers near the top of his list.

At linebacker, Tavareon Scott is another name to know. West Virginia offered the Dodge City (Kansas) Community College star back in May, and Scott was also hoping to officially visit before the summer was over. Of course, the NCAA has paused all in-person recruiting, so that trip might have to wait until fall, if it happens at all. Texas Tech, South Carolina, and Arizona join WVU on Scott’s offer list.

This list may grow heading into the fall, as it often does with junior college recruiting. The staff evaluates the roster during the season, identifies any weaknesses, and sets out to find immediate help to fix those positions, particularly at spots where someone is graduating and leaving a hole. Transfers and junior college players are the best hope to do just that. That’s why the aforementioned group of players are so key for WVU this cycle, and a few more may join them soon.

Contact Derek Redd at 304-348-1712 or derek.redd@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.