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ESPN Four-Star Justin Benton Chooses West Virginia

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Despite 247Sports, among others, predicting a Georgia win, ESPN four-star defensive lineman recruit Justin Benton (6-foot-2, 275-pounds) from Newton, Georgia has decided on West Virginia.

Benton announced the commitment on his social media pages earlier today.

ESPN is the only recruiting service to list him as a four-star recruit, the other three major recruiting services all list him as a three-star. Despite the same star rating, he is getting extremely different rankings on all three.

He’s a top 100 defensive lineman for the class of 2023 by all four services, but none agree on where to place him in their top 100.

Rivals has him the highest as the No. 16 rated defensive lineman for the class of 2023 while 247Sports Composite follows with No. 59 ranking. On3 trails behind the other two with a ranking of No. 87.

Benton chose West Virginia from a top eight of Duke, Georgia, Houston, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Penn State, Tennessee and West Virginia. Many experts were expecting him to commit to his home state of Georgia.

Benton is the 11th recruit for West Virginia in their class of 2023 which includes consensus four-star wide receiver Rodney Gallagher and 247Sports three-stars offensive lineman Cole Young, defensive lineman Eamon Smalls, defensive back Josiah Jackson, linebacker James Heard Jr., linebacker Josiah Trotter, running back Jaheim White and defensive lineman Cameron Jackson.

The class also includes running back Jordan Louie, who isn’t rated on 247Sports, but is a three-star recruit on other outlets. Trotter and Heard are listed as four stars on Rivals.

Benton’s commitment bumps West Virginia up to No. 18 on 247Sports. It was No. 21 prior to his announcement. 247Sports is the only service to have currently updated their rankings to include Benton.

As of this writing, only 16 programs have more recruits committed at this stage, with 10 of them being ranked higher than West Virginia. Of the 25 programs that have at least 10 commits, only two (Arizona, Western Michigan) find themselves outside of the top 30 recruiting classes according to 247Sports’ rankings.

Common college football recruiting powerhouses such as Alabama, LSU, Michigan and Texas are rated lower for having less total recruits and despite having more four and five star recruits.

Still though, the high ranking shows the depth of the class that West Virginia is bringing in. Of the 10 players West Virginia has committed, each has at least a three-star rating to at least one of the three major recruiting services. Four (Benton, Gallagher, Heard, Trotter) have a four-star on a service.

While the lack of consensus four and five stars in comparison to some of the nation’s premier programs will likely push West Virginia out of the top 25 prior to signing day, the amount of high-floor guys being brought in by Brown should be viewed as nothing but a positive for the future of the program.

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