Farrell Files: West Virginia Found Two Solid RB Recruits, Now Looking to Portal for Immediate Needs
I continue my look at the 2023 class with a focus on the running backs and we also track some things in the portal.
West Virginia has two running backs in this class and they are both very different. Jahiem White is by far the more polished and versatile of the two. He’s honestly a stud from Pennsylvania who was an important get. White isn’t a burner, but he has sneaky speed and at 5-9 and 197 pounds he runs with natural leverage and surprises with the ability to break tackles and bounce off people. Shorter running backs are preferred, at least by me, as they make smaller targets and that leverage makes them natural blockers and hard to find in the passing game when they release from the backfield. He’s not tiny, but his build is excellent and perfect for his running style. I also think he can catch some passes out of the backfield if utilized properly.
The other running back will be fun to watch. Late addition DJ Oliver is 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds or more and is a rumbling, pounding mass of humanity who is hard to tackle. He’s got sneaky speed though and shocks a bit on film with his ability to run away from people. He’s big, he’s physical and a less athletic CJ Donaldson comes to mind. West Virginia fans are gonna love him if he makes his way into the rotation.
Overall West Virginia did well here as they needed one but landed two. They will have a young group with a lot of promise next season and these two, especially White, have a chance to make a long term impact.
Now onto the portal. University of Louisiana-Monroe OL Chase Rodriguez is committed and he’s a road grader. He’s not tall at 6-2 but he’s a load at 340 pounds and his strength is mauling in the run game and wearing opponents down. He’s an odd one though. A walk on out of high school who was more of a track kid (shotput) he doesn’t have a fancy resume at all so the staff must know someone who knows him. His high school team amassed serious rushing yardage and that’s where you can see him shine. He’s a hard eval for me so like I said, someone knows something.
A new offer is out to Liberty transfer Robert Rahimi at safety. He’s a hard hitter and active tackler and an overachiever type with a chip on his shoulder. I’m not sure of the connection here, but WVU was first to offer him when he entered the portal and are aggressive here. They need defensive back help and he’d be a solid addition.
As expected LB Amari Gainer chose UNC over West Virginia with Alabama coming in late with a push. This one hurts as Gainer is a good for defensively (he was not used right at FSU) and a leader. When West Virginia is a finalist for coveted players in the portal they need to close but UNC was just more attractive as far as scheme and opportunity.
Highly Coveted FSU Transfer LB Amari Gainer Picks Tar Heels Over Mountaineers
Finally, the hire of WR coach Bilal Marshall has been criticized by some of the fan base as they wanted a bigger name and someone with playing ties. But Marshall knows the program as a two year GA and, most importantly, he’s from South Florida so this should open up some recruiting ground in that area. Marshall will have to prove he can coach, but that’s not my concern. He’s going to have to prove he can recruit.