College football recruiting in 2020 is drastically different than it has been in any other year.
The restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected almost every aspect of recruiting. One of those restrictions, no being able to host recruits for on-campus visits or on game days, has had a major impact on West Virginia, according to Mountaineer coach Neal Brown.
“It’s unfortunate because that’s one of our best selling points, the game-day atmosphere here in Morgantown,” Brown said Monday morning. “It has hurt us – and I’m sure it hurt a lot of people – because one of the main things we sell here is game day. This is one of the best home fields in terms of tradition and game-day atmosphere there is in college football, so we definitely miss it.”
This weekend’s game against TCU will be the Mountaineers’ fifth home game this season. For the first two, against Eastern Kentucky and Baylor, no spectators were allowed in Milan Puskar Stadium at all. Even while there has been limited attendance allowed for the last two, against Kansas and Kansas State, recruits still were not permitted.
Brown said not having recruits in town has really changed what he does on game days.
“It’s made for a lot less hectic routine for myself and our assistant coaches on game day,” Brown said. “Most of the time I’m talking to parents and recruits right up until the time I walk out to pregame. We don’t have that, I wish we did honestly.”
WVU, like most schools, has been hosting recruits on virtual visits and overall the restrictions do not seem to have hampered Brown’s recruiting abilities.
Brown has 16 verbal commits in the 2021 class, including four-star prospects Wyatt Milum, Kaden Prather, Justin Johnson and Jaylen Anderson. Milum, an offensive tackle and the no. 1 in-state West Virginia recruit, announced his commitment back in March. Prather, a receiver from Maryland, committed in June. Anderson, a running back out of Ohio, committed in April.