WVU Football Recruiting Update for May 2022
Now that Spring football is over and the May 1 transfer “deadline” passed, we have a much better idea of West Virginia’s roster composition and upcoming needs. As a result, now provides a good opportunity for us to provide our May 2022 WVU football recruiting update. Several recruits committed already, and some exciting official visits are coming soon. We take a look here.
The Early Commitments: Offense
So far, so good for WVU football recruiting for its Class of 2023. Head Coach Neal Brown and staff already addressed two positions with fresh talent. The goal for the Mountaineers has been to add at least one quarterback and one running back to each class. They filled both spots early.
Raheim Jeter from South Carolina fills in the quarterback spot. Jeter earned early three-star designations from the three major services. According to quarterback-specific scouting services, however, he rates as a top-25 quarterback in this Class of 2023. Jeter offers the Mountaineers a large-bodied pro-style quarterback who demonstrates poise in the pocket and has excellent arm strength.
Jaheim White from Pennsylvania represents the Mountaineers’ running back for the Class of 2023. White’s role as a workhouse is in question, but he certainly played that way in his junior season. White offers WVU a solid runner through contact with plus-pass-catching skills. He represents a great addition to the class who hovers fairly close to the four-star line with room to climb up the rankings this season.
The Early Commitments: Defense
On the defensive side, West Virginia has added four commitments at positions of need. The biggest get of the class so far is Josiah Trotter. He is a consensus four-star linebacker recruit from Pennsylvania. Trotter is an NFL legacy, as his dad played football for over a decade, primarily for the Eagles, earning four Pro Bowl appearances in the process. He offers a potential Mike linebacker given his understanding of the game and leadership traits. Trotter also represents a vocal leader behind the scenes and could help the Mountaineers recruit more talent into the class.
The Mountaineers also added Jeter’s teammate Cameron Jackson, a three-star defensive tackle from South Carolina. Jackson offers the Mountaineers size and strength in a position of need. He stands at six feet, four inches, and tips the scales at 305 pounds. Over the last few years, WVU football recruiting struggled to get the appropriate size in the middle of its line. Jackson certainly helps here.
Finally, West Virginia adds a pair of three-star cornerbacks to the class in Cameron Calhoun and Josiah Jackson, both out of Ohio. The cornerback room needs bodies, and both Calhoun and Jackson were very high on the Mountaineers’ board.
WVU Football Recruiting the Elite
Like they have in the last two years, WVU football recruiting focuses equally on the mid-to high-three star prospects and the elite recruits that can change the dynamic of a team. Just take a look at the official visits that have been confirmed. Both Rivals and 247Sports show that the first weekend in June will see official visits from Trotter, Calhoun, Jackson, and White. These early-June visits with early commitments to the class have been a pivotal part of the Mountaineers’ recruiting strategy.
With a vocal leader like Trotter on campus, it certainly cannot hurt that three of the Mountaineers’ top uncommitted targets will visit at the same time. Rodney Gallagher represents the biggest name on that list. That said, James Heard and Austin Ramsey will also be in town at the same time.
Gallagher hails from Laurel Highlands, and the area has been good to West Virginia in the past. 247Sports identifies him as a Top-100 recruit in the Class of 2023. Gallagher unofficially visited West Virginia several times already. He can play either wideout or cornerback and offers a truly elite skill set. Gallagher set a commitment date of July 4.
Heard represents another four-star prospect for either the defensive line (as an edge rusher) or linebacker. He knows Trotter very well, and Rivals assigns Heard a four-star designation. Heard may well project as a solid bandit recruit, and he and Trotter would be an outstanding tandem for several years if West Virginia lands Heard.
WVU also finds itself in the mix for wideout Kenny Johnson, though they will have to overcome Penn State (the current favorite) to get him. He has set his official visit for the second weekend of June.
Assessing the Recruiting Needs
At the end of the day, we expect West Virginia to take between 21 and 23 high school or junior college recruits for the Class of 2023. It could be more if the NCAA waives the annual scholarship maximum. That said, WVU football recruiting filled two spots already at quarterback and running back.
Looking at the scholarship chart, we note that the Mountaineers remain thin at receiver and lose between one to three more after this season. As a result, we expect to see two to three receivers in this class. Edward Combs and Johnson are names to watch here. The Mountaineers’ roster holds four young tight ends, so they could get away without adding another this cycle. They can be picky here, in other words. If they found the right guy, though, we could see them adding one to this class. For the offensive line, West Virginia likely loses two to three after this season. We expect them to add three offensive linemen to this class. Ramsey and Zach Aamland are a few names to watch there.
On the defense, the Mountaineers remain thin on depth at a few critical spots. After this season, they lose two to three on the defensive line. As a result, we expect them to add three to four total. With Jackson on board, that leaves another two to three spots for the class. At linebacker, West Virginia should add at least three. With Trotter on board, the addition of Heard could wrap things up nicely, leaving one more spot at a minimum.
The secondary, of course, remains the thinnest unit on the entire roster. Thus, even though the Mountaineers have already added two cornerbacks, we expect them to add another four defensive backs. Gallagher could fill one of those slots. That said, we expect them to put a full-court press on several others, like Tawfiq Byard.