Can the Mountaineers manage to swing a three-star defensive end recruit from Florida, even though he’s already publicized his top schools?
The answer is yes, it can happen. There is a chance, and that was made evident by Daylen Russell, who West Virginia extended an offer earlier in the week, almost a full month after the 6’3″, 255 pound prospect out of Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, Florida narrowed down his choices to a group that does not include WVU. WVSN immediately reached out and spoke with Russell to uncover just how long the WVU coaching staff has been talking to him and if the interest is mutual.
“A new offer can change my mind, but my choice is going to be who shows the most brotherhood and who can also bond with my family,” Russell answered honestly when asked if he would consider opening his recruitment back up to schools like West Virginia outside of his current top five. That has to be a response Neal Brown and his staff will love hearing since the WVU sales pitch usually relies on selling the family atmosphere of Morgantown and the West Virginia football program.
There are a couple questions that come to mind, and both apply to this situation, when a program offers a player out of nowhere who has already voiced he’s deciding between other schools. When exactly did WVU first reach out to Russell? Why does West Virginia believe it can still land such a coveted and quality player? The second questions can likely be answered because of what Russell has said he’s looking for in a program and the fact that no commitment is truly safe in this era of college football recruiting.
As for when contact was initially made, Russell alludes to a timeframe that was right before he unveiled his list. “I first heard from them mid in January and they just started telling me how i can fit well in their program,” he said. To no surprise, Russell mentions Bilal Marshall, WVU’s new wide receivers coach, as the main member of the West Virginia staff he’s been hearing from. Many believed Marshall’s hiring was partly about his ties to the Florida area, most notably how that could assist the program in recruiting such a great location when it comes elite high school football talent. This even coincidently coincides with when Marshall was hired.
Only Russell really knows if he could envision himself being a Mountaineer, but what kind of player would the Mountaineers be adding if they were able to convince this Florida native that West Virginia is the right place for him? Russell considers himself an all around player for any defensive line. He feels he’s a versatile player who can fit into any system and is willing to adjust his game to gel with any group, all attributes any coach would love about a player.
Can Marshall be the secret weapon to unlock a Florida pipeline? How this recruitment of Russell unfolds could be telling to if that does end up being the case, especially when it comes to the defensive side of the ball, the aspect of the game Marshall is not involved in as an actual coach.
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