WVU 2012 Recruiting Snapshot: Part Two - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU 2012 Recruiting Snapshot: Part Two

Updated: August 14, 2011

Last week, I covered the offensive recruits currently committed to the Mountaineer football program for the 2012 signing class.  You can find that article here: WVU 2012 Recruiting Class Snapshot: Part One

Let's now move on to the defensive prospects who have pledged their services to Head Coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff.

Once again, I have incorporated a "Commitment Level" rating for each recruit, which is basically my opinion on how firm each prospect's commitment to WVU is at this time.  The scale ranges from 1-10, with a 10 demonstrating an absolute lock that we sign that particular recruit on National Signing Day.  Since no verbal commitment is ever official until the prospect actually signs, it will be rare to see a commit on here listed as a 10.

The following recruits are eligible to officially sign their Letter Of Intent (LOI) on Wednesday, February 1st:

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IMARJAYE ALBURY

Hailing from talent-rich Miami Northwestern Senior High School (FL), Albury committed to the Mountaineers back in early March.  He currently stands 6'1" and 280 pounds and projects as a defensive tackle on the next level.  Rivals.com lists him as the 40th best defensive tackle prospect in America and Scout.com ranks him 73rd at his position.  Both recruiting services give Albury a three-star rating, and his lead recruiter Robert Gillespie beat out ACC program Wake Forest for his commitment.

COMMITMENT LEVEL: 8.5 (Editor's Note: The majority of the kids WVU has gotten in the past from South Florida have made Mountaineer fans sweat out their commitment, so Albury's decision to commit so early was a bit surprising.  Nevertheless, he is bound to get more recruiting attention as his senior season kicks into gear.  In the end, I would be surprised if Gillespie isn't able to close the deal on Albury and gain his signature.)

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DA'QUAN DAVIS

This shutdown-cornerback was a big get for Defensive Backs Coach David Lockwood when he committed in June.  Scout.com lists him as the 45th best cornerback in the country and a three-star prospect.  WVU offered the standout in late February when he was on campus for Junior Day, and he also reported an offer from Marshall.  On film, he has tremendous technique and is somewhat reminiscent of current Mountaineer senior cornerback Keith Tandy.

COMMITMENT LEVEL: 9.5 (Editor's Note: I've been told from multiple people that the coaching staff is extremely high on Davis and was pushing for his commitment for a long time before he actually pulled the trigger.  He is also one of the guys who helped eventually land teammate Trevor Williams and four-star prospect Deontay McManus from Dunbar, so I'd be flat out shocked if his name is not on the signing list come February 1st.)

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JARROD HARPER

Harper was the first member of this current 18-man recruiting class. Hailing from Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg (MD), the physical safety prospect has been a Mountaineer fan ever since he was little.  When the verbal offer eventually came from Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel on February 22nd, it didn't take long for Harper to accept, as he committed that same day.  MDHigh.com ranks Harper as the top safety prospect in the state heading into his senior season and Scout.com lists him as the country's 35th best safety.

COMMITMENT LEVEL: 10* (Editor's Note: Not only was he the first recruit in the 2012 class, he's probably the firmest commitment as well.  The only way this kid doesn't ink with the Mountaineers is if something happens and we pull his offer, but I see no reason for that to happen.  With a 10 rating, Harper looks to be an absolute lock to sign in this class.)

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KOREY HARRIS

This Bartram Trail (FL) defensive end verbally committed to the Mountaineers on August 3rd.  WVU beat out Big East brethren Cincinnati as well as North Carolina State for his services.  Harris possesses great length and athleticism for a defensive end and is currently 6'4" and 240 pounds.  He likes to get after the quarterback and he will have plenty of chances in Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 stack.  Rivals.com gives Harris a three-star rating, and Running Backs Coach Robert Gillespie was his lead recruiter.

COMMITMENT LEVEL: 9 (Editor's Note: Harris is a talented prospect that will immediately boost the defensive line's athleticism upon his arrival.  If he's looking for early playing time, then he has made the right choice with the departure of Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller after this upcoming season.  That factor alone may be the main reason why his commitment seems so firm at the present time even though he's the most recent addition to the class.)

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JOSEPH JACKSON

Joseph Jackson is an extremely athletic 6'1" 205-pound outside linebacker from First Coast High School in Jacksonville, FL.  He is one of the most highly-touted LB's to commit to the Mountaineers in the last few years, and his offer sheet further proves that statement.  Jackson reeled in offers from Auburn, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL), North Carolina, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and South Carolina before verbally committing to Running Backs Coach Robert Gillespie in late March.  On film, Jackson displays his great speed and athletic ability which should help him get on the field early as a Mountaineer.  Rivals.com ranks Jackson as the 61st best outside linebacker while Scout.com lists him 77th at his position.  Both services rate him as a three-star prospect.

COMMITMENT LEVEL: 7.5 (Editor's Note: Gillespie pulled in a huge coup when Jackson committed to him back in the spring.  This prospect has four-star talent and should see the field early in his playing career.  The Mountaineers will have their work cut out for them, however, if they want to hang on to the speedy LB.  He will most likely take official visits to Georgia and North Carolina during the fall.  The addition of current Mountaineer K.J. Myers, who hails from the same high school in Jacksonville, should help close the deal for the Mountaineers down the stretch.)

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SAM LEBBIE

The Mountaineers have received an influx of Maryland talent in this 2012 recruiting haul and Lebbie may have as much potential as any of them.  He hails from powerhouse DeMatha High, which already has three defensive players committed to BCS programs.  Lebbie is 6'2" and 240 pounds, and he possesses the strength and athleticism to play early in his college career.  Both Rivals.com and Scout.com list him as a three-star prospect while ESPN granted him four-stars.  He reported verbal offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, North Carolina and Vanderbilt at the time of his commitment.  Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel couldn't have been happier when this future middle-linebacker pulled the trigger for the Mountaineers.

COMMITMENT LEVEL: 9 (Editor's Note: Lebbie publicly committed to the Mountaineers on July 30th after telling reporters for weeks that WVU was his clear-cut favorite over his other finalist, Illinois.  He seems to be a very strong verbal at this point, and the only thing which may change that status in the future is his academic situation.  The coaching staff projects him to be a full-qualifier, although he does still have some work to do in order to be eligible.)

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BRANDON NAPOLEAN

This Jersey City (NJ) product followed in his father's footsteps when he committed to the Mountaineers this past June.  Brandon's dad, Eugene, was a running back for Don Nehlen's troops from 1987-1989.  His son, however, is projected as an athlete who could play on either side of the ball.  Currently 6'0" 170 pounds, he is most likely a cornerback and shows the speed, quickness and lateral movement on film that is vital for this position. Rivals.com lists him as a three-star recruit while NJVarsity.com ranks him as the 12th overall prospect from The Garden State.  Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina and Rutgers also offered.  Defensive Backs Coach David Lockwood was involved in his recruitment.

COMMITMENT LEVEL: 9 (Editor's Note: Napolean didn't seem to mention the Mountaineers very often early in the recruiting process.  All of that changed in an instant when he received the offer from WVU and committed on the spot.  He has said in the past this is his "dream school", so I don't envision much changing in this athlete's recruitment in the months leading up to Signing Day.)

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BRET NIEDERREITHER

Standing at 6'3" and 260 pounds, Niederreither was one of the top targets on Defensive Line Coach Bill Kirelawich's recruiting board when he committed to the Mountaineers in early July over ACC rival Maryland.  The future nose guard, who hails from Red Land High School (PA), has the frame to bulk up in the weight room and be a key plug along the defensive front early in his career.  Scout.com lists him as the 78th best defensive tackle in the nation.

COMMITMENT LEVEL: 9 (Editor's Note:  There is a lot to like about this prospect.  I see him getting up to the 290-level and clogging up the middle in a few years for this defense.  If he brings anywhere close to the toughness and work ethic displayed by Chris Neild over the last few years, then the Mountaineers found a good one in Niederreither.  He also seems to be a very solid verbal at this point and I don't expect there to be much drama for his signature come February 1st.)

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NOBLE NWACHUKWU

One of two defensive end prospects along with previously-profiled Korey Harris, this Texan recently pledged to the Mountaineers while on campus July 30th.  Nwachukwu attends Wylie High School, and one of his teammates, defensive tackle Azuka Akozar, is also getting heavily recruited by the Mountaineers.  Nwachukwu claimed additional scholarship offers from Iowa, Kansas and Houston at the time of his commitment.  He is reportedly 6'2" and 240 pounds heading into his senior season. Rivals.com lists him as a three-star prospect and Wide Receivers Coach Daron Roberts is responsible for his recruitment.

COMMITMENT LEVEL: 8.5 (Editor's Note: Not the biggest defensive end, Nwachukwu uses a great first step on film to get ahead of his opponent and knock him off balance.  He isn't the size of Julian Miller and doesn't have the speed of Bruce Irvin, so it'll be interesting to see exactly how Defensive Line Coach Bill Kirelawich uses him on the defensive line.  Nonetheless, Nwachukwu is a solid athlete and his commitment appears firm at this time.  The only worry I have with any Texas kid is distance from home, but I think this prospect will ultimately wind up in Morgantown.)

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