Cogdell Forges Modified Miramar Pipeline with Latest WVU Commit - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Cogdell Forges Modified Miramar Pipeline with Latest WVU Commit

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MORGANTOWN - The latest verbal commitment made its way to West Virginia University this week and lo and behold, it was that Miramar pipeline again.

This time, running back Alex Anderson added his name to the Mountaineers’ growing list of former Patriots players to pave their path to college football in Morgantown. The South Florida high school has quickly become the most recognizable program to WVU fans who follow recruiting like religion.

Prior to this year, the pipeline existed largely because Miramar’s head coach was Damon Cogdell, a former WVU linebacker who went back to his high school alma mater to help turn around a struggling program.

Cogdell not only fixed issues that had led to a poor showing on the football field, but he also improved work in the classroom. He says when he came to Miramar, the average GPA for players on the football team was hovering around 1.9. Recently, it has risen as high as 3.0 while fielding two state champions along the way.

Having accomplished so much at his high school alma mater, Cogdell found the opportunity to coach at his college alma mater quite enticing. He took a job as West Virginia’s linebackers coach and just completed his first spring with the team.

“It’s still surreal to me right now,” Cogdell said. “I never really had the ambition to coach college football and as I started to coach, it was almost like what else can I do at Miramar? The opportunity was here for me to come to my alma mater once again, it’s like a dream come true and it’s been wonderful so far.”

Rather than meeting with West Virginia coaches and sending his own players like Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and Ivan McCartney their way, Cogdell’s help in the pipeline will be as a coach really pushing for athletes to join him. At least in the case of Anderson, a 3-star prospect, the amended pipeline still works.

“We talk about [WVU] all the time,” Anderson said of his teammates. “We even talk about all of us going up there and turning ourselves around. It’s great to follow in Stedman’s and Ivan’s and Geno’s footsteps.”

Recruiting South Florida has become a sort of tag-team effort for Cogdell and WVU running backs coach JaJuan Seider. The two had been teammates in college and when Seider was interested in a Miramar product, he knew exactly who to call.

“It’s funny. Him and I spoke a lot even when he was at Marshall,” Cogdell said of Seider. “With him coming to recruit my school as a Marshall guy, I used to always tell him, ‘Listen, when you come in my building, don’t put that shirt on.’”

Now they wear the same shirt with the same vision in mind – bringing the most talented athletes to Morgantown.

That quest does not always lead to Miramar, but sometimes finds them recruiting Cogdell’s former rivals on the high school field. He believes that though he coached the Patriots, his relationships with other programs will bode well for WVU’s commitment list going forward.

“A lot of those kids wanted to play for me, but because of the addresses and where they stayed, they weren’t able to play with me. In the summertime, when we did a lot of 7-on-7 deals, I was there meeting those guys and it made those bonds that much more special,” Cogdell said. “It makes my job a lot easier with the coaches, too, because I had a pretty clean face and all the coaches got along with me pretty well. I think it’s to my advantage to go around South Florida and recruit.”

In recent years, part of the recruiting has been done for him. Seeing the success that players like Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey had made Mountaineer fans out of young athletes who may not have known anything more about West Virginia than the 70 points its college program put up in the Orange Bowl.

When WVU coaches come knocking now, they know what to expect.

“It’s a blessing within that community in Broward County,” Cogdell said, “You see a lot of West Virginia gear walking around.” 

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