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February 13, 2013

Rivals 250 features many WVU targets

Although the ink still isn't dry on the class of 2013 that head coach Dana Holgorsen presented last week, focus has went full-steam ahead into next year's cycle and with the release of the initial 2014 Rivals 250 here's a look at some of the early prospects on the West Virginia radar.

Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside safety Quin Blanding is a five-star prospect and one of the premier defenders in the entire country. The Mountaineers will be fighting the who's who of college football for the 6-foot-2, 197-pounder but he has mentioned West Virginia early as one of the schools that is sticking out to him. Much like 2013 five-star running back Taquan Mizzell, the school to watch out for is Virginia.

West Virginia will undoubtedly be looking for a splash as the quarterback position in the class of 2014 and the prospect that's emerged right at the top of the board is Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar signal-caller William Crest. Hailing from the same high school as Tavon Austin and Marvin Gross, Crest has visited Morgantown on multiple occasions and is strongly interested in both the program and coaching staff.

The Mountaineers will see competition from Ohio State, Maryland and North Carolina, among others, but at this point they've put themselves in good position early.

Baltimore (Md.) Gilman School outside linebacker Melvin Keihn has an offer from West Virginia and has spoken highly program in the past. He plans to take his time with his recruitment, but getting him on campus will only improve the overall chances. His teammate, cornerback Troy Vincent, also remains someone on the Rivals 250 to watch as someone with an offer from the Mountaineers.

Several prospects from the Keystone State are on the West Virginia's list early including Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway cornerback Montae Nicholson, Aliquippa (Pa.) cornerback Dravon Henry, Bethel Park (Pa.) offensive lineman Mike Grimm and Washington (Pa.) running back Shai McKenzie are all prospects that have been offered and expressed interest in the Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers recruited Ohio well in 2013, and there are already several top prospects with offers in the state including Lima Central Catholic H.S. safety Darius West and Cleveland Glenville safety Erick Smith, while wide receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass is also on the list.

A pair of teammates from Mansfield (Tx.) Timberview in Brandon Simmons and Edward Paris are also are on the West Virginia radar, and while Paris seems more of a longshot; Simmons is very interested in the Mountaineers. A legacy of the program, Simmons has long been a fan of the Mountaineers but as it is with any of the top talent in the country, West Virginia will have to fend off a long-list of schools, including Stanford which has made an early impression.

Another legacy prospect is Olney (Md.) Good Counsel offensive lineman Sam Mustipher, who's already attracted offers from a long-list of programs and plans to visit many of them during the spring and summer. Mustipher will be a tough-pull for the Mountaineers but the family ties could work in their favor.

A pair of big bodies that list West Virginia as a school of interest include Red Bank Catholic (N.J.) offensive lineman Quenton Nelson and Fredericksburg (Va.) Chancellor offensive lineman Steven Moss.

As usual there are a number of prospects from the South, notably Florida and Georgia, including Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake wide receiver Artavis Scott, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, Miami (Fla.) wide receiver Jacob McCrary, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Catholic offensive lineman Reilly Gibbons, Norcross (Ga.) athlete Myles Autry and Norcross (Ga.) linebacker Kevin Mouhon, among others. Obviously, these prospects will be in very high demand, but with the class of 2013 now behind them, it's happy hunting on the recruiting trail.

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