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WVU Target Kingsley Opara Considers Top Two

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MORGANTOWN -

What a difference a visit can make.

As this past weekend approached, Kingsley Opara was considering visits to West Virginia University and the University of Maryland. Prior to the weekend, he called WVU his leader.

Then he visited College Park, but was unable to make the trip to Morgantown. And now?

"Right now it's a tie between [WVU] and Maryland," Opara said Tuesday.

Opara, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive lineman, has more than 10 offers, but says the Mountaineers and the Terrapins each have a 50 percent chance of picking him up for the 2013 class.

The visit to Maryland's campus could help its staff in a way West Virginia has not been afforded simply because he has not set foot on its turf.

"Me visiting [Maryland] and talking to all the coaches in person, that's one thing," Opara says of why the Terps have climbed to WVU's level. "Seeing the school and all the gear and whatnot."

What the Mountaineers still have in their favor is their relationship with Opara. It began with co-defensive coordinator Joe DeForest visiting the Jacksonville, Fla. native and has continued with the man who would be coaching Opara if he came to WVU, defensive line coach Erik Slaughter.

More recently, he had his first chance to speak with the head coach himself, Dana Holgorsen.

But it could be the talks with some players he's become familiar from the Jacksonville area or others on the team that pull him to West Virginia the most.

"I haven't visited, but I know a couple players who go there and they say a lot of good things about it and [freshman d-linemen] Imarjaye [Albury] and Christian Brown have contacted me and told me some good things about it. It seems like a very family-like atmosphere," says Opara.

Marcell Lazard, an offensive lineman who committed to WVU in April, tweeted at Opara earlier this week, saying WVU "needs a DT like you to help us excel in the Big 12."

Opara hears what these other players are telling him, but clearly the decision is his in the end.
"They've been pushing me and it seems like everybody is in my ear that I should go to West Virginia," he says.

July 20th looms as the date on which Opara intends to make his commitment and while he says he doubts he will make it to Morgantown before then, he insists that by no means rules out siding with WVU.

"I could probably commit without seeing some of the schools I'm interested in," says Opara. "Maryland is the only school I've been to that offered me. It's not really a problem. I talked to Coach DeForest in person and he was just as genuine as he is on the phone."

That genuine nature could go a long way for a player who lists family atmosphere along with education and playing time as the top determining factors for his decision.

With interests in business, sports management and criminology, Opara has plenty of choices left to make regarding his path in college, but it begins with the school itself in just over a week's time.  

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