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Neal Brown Wants to Get WVU Back to Focusing on Fertile Recruiting Areas

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In total West Virginia signed 18 recruits to the 2020 signing class during the early signing period.

247Sports ranks WVU’s class as fourth-best in the Big 12 and 37th best overall. This is an accomplishment for head coach Neal Brown and staff, who had only about 11 and a half months to put the class together.

Part of this class’ success can be attributed to Brown specifically targeting areas of the country that traditionally produce high-level football recruits – New Jersey, South Florida and the DMV (the tri-state area of Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia).

Brown focused on these three areas, other areas around Morgantown and area that he and the coaching staff already had relationships in.

“We took a six-hour radius around Morgantown and that needs to be our primary recruiting area,” Brown explained Wednesday. “I thought we did an okay job. I think we’ve got to continue to build relationships and grow our brand and grow our presence in that (area). And then we look at these secondary areas where we’ve had established relationships, whether it’s Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, whatever it is.”

Currently, on WVU’s roster there are only eight players from the DMV, four from Florida and one from New Jersey. Almost all of the 18 recruits that signed Wednesday fall into one of these areas Brown focused on.

Six recruits fall into the six-hour radius around Morgantown. Zach Frazier and Sean Martin from West Virginia, Tairiqu Stewart from Ohio and Devell Washington from Michigan. There’s also Charles Finley and Chris Mayo from New Jersey.

“The New Jersey area…that’s an area where, as a young coach, I recruited heavy,” Brown said. “I’ve got appreciation for the players in that state. We’ve got a large student body representation from New Jersey so I think it’s a good fit in that regard as well. So that’s an area we want to be heavier in…we want to continue to grow there.”

Five recruits came from areas that Brown would have recruited while the head coach at Troy. Jackie Matthews from Alabama, Sam Brown and Taurus Simmons from Georgia, Reese Smith from Kentucky and Lanell Carr from Missouri.

Florida is a state that Brown thinks WVU can continually get recruits out of.

“There’s a ton of West Virginia-south Florida connections. I think that’s an area where we can continue to be fruitful. (Tight ends coach) Travis Tricket’s recruited down in that area a long time…I think it’ll continue for us to go down there and try to get some kids.”

In this class, Florida natives Garrett Greene, Quay Mays and Daryl Porter Jr. all signed with WVU. Canadian Akheem Mesidor played high school football in Clearwater, Florida and also signed with the Mountaineers.

Finally Brown added David Vincent-Okoli and Jordan White from Maryland. He said that is an area they will continue to explore.

“The DMV, that’s one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the entire country,” Brown said. “We’ve got to have a stronger presence in there. Going in there with a short amount of time, I thought we did a pretty good job. I’m really excited about the guys we brought out of there.”

Despite signing Stewart from Ohio, Brown wants to do better in close areas like that.

“We’ve got to get better in some areas, the state of Ohio, Western PA, we’ve got to get better. But we’re making some inroads and sometimes those relationships and inroads take time.”

The only recruit that did not geographically fit into Brown’s plan was European cornerback Jairo Faverus from Amsterdam, Netherlands. Other than that every recruits came from an area that Brown specifically wanted to focus on and wants to continue recruiting in.

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Cody spent the last two years getting his master's degree in journalism from WVU. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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