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May 10, 2013

Build Your Own Recruiting Class First Round Review

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The First round of the 2014 WVSports.com build your own recruiting class draft has come and gone. While there were some surprises and a major run on the defensive line, you still saw the highest Rival's ranked prospects come off the board just about as they should. With 21 picks down WVSports senior writer Keenan Cummings and staff writer Tony Krumpach look to break down Monday's action and give a little draft insight into the lucky prospects who found their names called earlier this week.

Monday's action went fast as it was clear most posters had a solid grasp of who they wanted to add from this current recruiting cycle.

1. OhioEER 13 made at 10:10 a.m. 5-star cornerback Jabrill Peppers.

Peppers is an explosive, lock-down cornerback with a 6'1" 210-pound frame and the most athletic and talented DB prospect the Mountaineers have offered. He has been compared to Charles Woodson for a reason, but his ability to shut down one side of the field while also making a dynamic impact on the punt and kickoff return game is also very reminiscent to current Arizona Cardinals Pro-Bowler Patrick Peterson. WVU has a glaring need at this position and Peppers could likely push for major playing time right now, and he's still in high school.

Keenan's Take: With the first pick you better impress, and it's difficult to find a pick that is not only ultra-talented but meets West Virginia's needs as well as Jabrill Peppers does. Arguably the top prospect in the country, Peppers has the potential to develop into a lockdown cornerback that is very skilled in the return game as well. Impressed, indeed.

2. Arch XLIV made at 10:21 a.m. William Crest, QB, Dunbar Poets

History has been kind to the Mountaineers when it comes to Dunbar, and 2014 is no different. Like Tavon Austin, William Crest is a Rivals' 4-star that I don't consider a reach at all at #2 overall. QB is the straw that stirs the drink in the air-raid offense and William Crest has a big arm and great mobility. He has room to grow a bit more, although he is already at 6'2". If this Rivals 4-star Poet delivers like our previous one from 2009, we're in good hands. Or in William Crest's case: arm(s).

Tony's Take: A talented signal caller from a school that quickly becoming a pipeline for West Virginia. Perhaps a Quarterback could have been taken later in the draft there is little doubt of the quality of Crest when you realize that the Mountaineer staff took his commitment so early in the process. You can't go wrong taking the number one want of Dana Holgorsen at the Quarterback position.

3. Pcurry10 pick made at 10:33 a.m. Lorenzo Carter DE Norcross, GA

Carter is a long and dare I say, "wiry" defensive end that the WVU defense needs. You look around some of the top programs in the country and they put an emphasis on getting to the QB to disrupt the passing game. He has the frame and athleticism not only to rush the passer but also to be a disruptive force in the run game. He is a piece that you can build a defense around.

Tony's Take: While there is a perceived bias on my part for Georgia prospects, as good as Da'Shawn Hand and Andrew Brown are, there might not be a bigger impact on the defensive line in all of high school football than Lorenzo Carter. Not only is Carter a top prospect in all of the 2014 class, he could immediately step in and give the Mountaineers a big addition at a major position of need. Perhaps the best player at one of the biggest position of needs equals an exceptional selection.

4. FreePacman pick made at 10:40 a.m. DL Da'Shawn Hand Woodbridge (Va.)
It's not often the top player falls in your lap but that's what happened too good to pass up with the 4th pick FreePacman selects Da'Shawn Hand. Do you like Barkevious Mingo, Demontre Moore? Then you'll love Da'Shawn. At 6'4 245 he only racked up nearly 200 tackles and 40 sacks in 2 years. QBs are great but we are pretty deep there, and CBs are only as good as the pressure on the opposing QB (see Bruuuuce).

Keenan's Take: The top ranked player in the class of 2014 and for good reason. Hand is a pass rushing specialist that could end up at several spots in college and given his position and talent level it isn't unexpected that FreePacman elected to jump on him while he was still available.

5. Keenan Cummings pick made at 10:46 a.m. DL Andrew Brown. Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith

Brown is an absolutely dominant defensive lineman that is just too hard to pass up at this position. While the edge rushers are tempting, the Rivals.com five-star is the prototype defensive lineman that the Mountaineers have struggled to recruit over the years. At 6-foot-3, 298-pounds, Brown brings a lot to the table and has offers from practically every program in the country. You can never have enough defensive linemen, and this pick addresses a major need for the Mountaineers with the departure of several key starters at year's end.

Tony's Take: With early discussion amongst Rivals national analysis on which Virginia prospect should be #1 you can't help but love the pick-up of any. With the speed rush end Da'Shawn Hand already off the board your hands are almost tied in taking the top defensive tackle/nose guard in the prep ranks. I hate to say this is a "duh" pick but at number 5 you can't pass up on a prospect that many feel is the top player in the 2014 class.

6. NeverLeaveYourWingman via Bwhite4 selecting last due to no pick made during 15-minute slot at 1:21 p.m.Virginia Beach (Va.) safety Quin Blanding.

Blanding possesses every intangible you look for in a Safety. He checks in at 6'2" and 206 lbs making him physically ready to compete the second he steps foot on campus. His 4.55 40 time resembles that of a Cornerback, but his ability to come up and attack at the line of scrimmage is what scouts have been drooling over. The Wingmen were ecstatic to see Blanding fall all the way to the 21st pick (6th pick due to bwhite's drop out) and the chance to take a Safety of his caliber and NFL prototypical size was too much to pass up. In a pass heavy league, look for Blanding to cement his name on the depth chart early in Morgantown, and give Big XII quarterbacks nightmares for seasons to come.

Keenan's Take: Although this is listed as the 6th pick, it actually wasn't made until the tail end of the first round and what value at that. Blanding is one of the premier defensive backs in the entire country, blessed with the size and speed to be an immediate impact player. Blanding is a great foundation to build your defensive backfield with and could see the field very early in his career. An absolute steal given when he was selected and a great start for the late addition to the draft.  

7. Nickw79 pick made at 11:07 p.m. takes Davonte Lambert (DE) from Georgia Military Academy.

At 6'3 285 Lambert has added nearly over 20 lbs of muscle to an already impressive frame while LOWERING his 40 time. This tells me he has the work ethic to succeed at the next level. WVU had all the skill position talent in the world last year and had a disappointing season. Imagine the difference if we had a dominating force on the DL and in the secondary. Lambert is the first piece to that puzzle. With offers from many of the top programs in the country, he will be tough to haul in, but he may be more physically ready than the previous defensive selections. Nicknamed, "The Freak", we can only hope he brings his freak show to Morgantown.

Tony's Take: At first glance I thought that Lambert was someone who could be taken later in the draft, be it later first or into the second week of the competition. After some thought I really like this pick, even though it could have been later. Obviously Brown was off the board and there might not be another bigger body that could step in and play immediately. You have to love that he is big enough to play nose guard but also could take snaps at the strong side defensive end position. Added bonus to Lambert is that the JUCO should be able to play day one.

8. Anthony Krumpach pick made at 11:22 a.m. KD Cannon (WR) from Mount Pleasant (Tx.)

The Mountaineers have been known for being an explosive offensive team. Without a doubt the most electric prospect in the 2014 class is Mount Pleasant's KD Cannon. The Texas product would be an immediate impact at slot but would also be someone who could take a few hand-offs and be an asset to the special teams unit.

Keenan's Take: Cannon is an electric playmaker that can line up on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. Blessed with the "Tavon" factor, the dynamic athlete is someone that is not only exciting but highly skilled. It's hard not to like this pick given the natural skills of Cannon.

9. Vernon Bailey pick made at 11:31 a.m. Isaiah Wynn OG--St. Petersburg, FL

While not the biggest guy he has tremendous strength and length. Great natural ability and five-star technique. One of the things I like most about Wynn is his desire to compete. On film he is relentless and at the Rivals camp in Atlanta he was clearly the best lineman and dominated on his way to winning the MVP for linemen.

Tony's Take: Could it be a reach to take an offensive lineman this early? Not in my opinion it isn't. Wynn is one of the top offensive linemen in the country, not just at the guard position. Like mentioned by Vernon, Wynn was the best lineman competing at the Rivals Camp Series event in Atlanta and showed why he has well over 20 offers from the top programs in the country. If I were ESPN's Mel Kiper this would be my number one guy on the offensive line.

10. alldayEERday pick made at 11:39 p.m. Washington (Pa.) running back Shai McKenzie

Love McKenzie's unique size and speed combination. With several "smaller" backs on the roster, brings a lot of depth to the roster in future years. Ability to block, good hands out of the backfield, will help to open up the passing game.

Keenan's Take: McKenzie brings an element that West Virginia is looking for in the backfield with a bigger running back that has the speed to be an every down player. From neighboring Washington, Pa., McKenzie has well over 40 offers and is a great start to a recruiting class, although you can argue that there are other running backs that could have been taken beforehand.

11. killerwvu pick made at 11:48 p.m. 4* Immokalee (Fla.) Athlete Jimmy Bayes

The WVU defense was one of the poorest in school history, and often failed to garner much of a pass rush. Bayes projects as an OLB in the 3-4 and should be the pass rushing specialist the defense needs.

Keenan's Take: Bayes is a perfect fit for what West Virginia wants to do at the BUCK linebacker position, although I wonder if he will be able to contribute immediately or will require more weight. I like the pick and think it fits what the Mountaineers want to do, but I do believe there were better overall options on the board to suit those needs.

12. keyseer pick made at 12:02 p.m. Aliquippa (Pa.) safety Dravon Henry

Versatile defender who could project at safety or corner. Explosive enough to play early he comes from Aliquippa which produces excellent talent every year and we actually have a legitimate chance of landing him.

Tony's Take: Versatility is the name of the game and the #12 pick is just that. Henry has the size of a cover safety but could very well drop down and play corner. With Peppers off the board, Henry is one of the better defensive backs left and it comes as somewhat of a surprise he is still left on the board to this point.

13. NYeer pick made at 12:04 p.m. Leonard Fournette, Running Back, New Orleans, LA.

It's been way too long since WVU has had an impact running back, and for WVU to scoop up the #1 running back, and third overall ranked player is a major coup for WVU and NYeer. Some may say that a running back is not the focal point of Dana Holgorsen's type of offense. I call BS on that. Add this guy to the Mountaineer roster, and he makes everyone around him better. He's a player who has Adrian Peterson's size and speed, and is the type of guy who can bring a championship and Heisman Trophy to Morgantown. This was the easiest decision I've had to make in a long, long time. #MelKiperHasNothingOnNYeer

Keenan's Take: Fournette is one of the premier playmakers in the entire country and a great way to start building a recruiting class with the 13th pick of the first round. The rising senior can do it all out of the backfield and should be an immediate impact running back at the next level.

14. WVeers13 pick made at 12:05 p.m. Travonte Valentine, Defensive Tackle - Bayside High School - Palm Bay, Florida

Keno I like the way you think. Huge offer list, but Valentine surprises and chooses the good guys! WVU loses significant big men on the defensive front, including Clarke and Rowell. At 6'3 286 lbs. Valentine's frame is college ready. In my opinion, best big guy on the board. I think he comes in and fills a vacancy as a STUD on the Defensive Line. Welcome Home Big Fella

Tony's Take: I think we are seeing that the overwhelming thought is that the biggest positions of need at WVU is along the defensive front……..or that the fan base would like to see the continued trend of recruiting highly rated defensive lineman. Valentine fits that mold and with a run on bigger defensive lineman, it an excellent value pick up for the spot.

15. Dewmanwvu pick made at 12:07 p.m. Brock Ruble, 6-foot-9, 309 pound (and growing) Offensive Lineman out of Hyattsville, Maryland.

This selection will help the Mountaineers develop and maintain depth on the offensive line. Brock is known to recruiters/coaches as an offensive lineman that plays aggressive with a high football IQ. He moves quickly off the line and blocks next level defenders with ease. It doesn't hurt that he comes from a football family; his father was an offensive lineman at North Carolina in the 1980s.

Keenan's Take: Ruble is a very talented offensive tackle that has all the tools to make an impact on the next level. Might be a little too early for 6-foot-9 offensive lineman, but offensive linemen are always an area of need.

16. Wvuarmyguy pick made at 12:23 p.m. Montae Nicholson, athlete, Gateway High School

One of the most versatile prospects remaining ink on the board, Nicholson could provide much needed help to the Mountaineers' defensive backfield. Nicholson has excellent size for a defensive back to go along with great hips. Given our defense's struggles against the pass last year, Nicholson could compete for playing time immediately. He also has the ability to play wide receiver.

Tony's Take: A similar prospect to Dravon Henry, Nicholson is another jack of all trades defensive back. Corner may not be his natural position but it is one that the Gateway product could fit in if needed. But also like Henry he probably is better suited for the cover or free safety position. Versatility has made pick #16 a value one.

17. HReer pick made at 12:37 p.m. Derrick Nnadi DT, Virginia Beach, VA

The WVU defense starts in the middle with a great NT/DT. Anytime we have had great defenses we have had great defensive linemen. Both Clark and Shaq Rowell graduate this season and even though Darrien Howard may grow into a D-linemen he could be more of a DE for our three man front. DL may be one of our biggest "needs" this cycle.

Keenan's Take:I considered taking Nnadi with the fifth overall pick, that's how high I am on the talented interior defensive lineman. A dominating force in a three-man front, Nnadi would be able to slide in and possibly play inside or outside in the scheme. An absolute steal at 17 and one of the best value picks of the entire first round.

18. Lydeck pick made at 12:41 p.m. Kendall Baker, four star DE.

With Will Clarke, Dozie Ezemma, and Shaq Rowell all graduating after this year, the Mountaineers will need help on the inside of the defense the year after. Defensive line is perhaps the most important position on the defensive side of the ball, as games can be won inside of the trenches. At 6'6'' 297, Baker is a massive man that has a college ready body that could add even more weight and muscle over his career. Baker as wide shoulders, long arms, and a powerful base - all of which are ingredients for a lethal defensive lineman.

Tony's Take: With the first round coming to a close you see another bigger body being taken off the board. Another kid who could have gone at any point in the first or dropped all the way to week two but the facts are it's another quality pick-up at a position of need. A pick that could have been made later, if not for the run on defensive lineman but his size allows you to do a few different things with Baker. Excellent value pick with his size.

19. Thick pick made at 12:50 p.m. Locust Grove (Ga.) safety Cortez McDowell.

With Brown and Nnadi off the board, I turn my attention to the secondary, where I like big, rangy, versatile safeties (on a related note I miss Robert Sands). The 6'3, 200 pound safety out of Locust Grove, GA fits the bill.

Keenan's Take: It's hard to argue this pick as Thick was able to add a big-rangy versatile safety prospect that has the potential to grow into another position.  Although I don't believe that safety is a pressing need given what the Mountaineers currently have on the roster, it's hard to deny that McDowell is just another immediate talent upgrade.

20. Preluderl pick made at 12:51 p.m. Beaumont (Ozen) High School DB Tony Brown.

Not since Pacman Jones has WVU had a cornerback even in the same galaxy as Brown. Possessing the combination of size (6'0" 185), speed (4.4) and arm length that you want in a cover corner. Unafraid to also come up and stick his nose in to tackle on the perimeter, Brown is exactly the type of player WVU needs in the secondary in the pass happy Big XII.

Tony's Take: Outside of Peppers, Brown is the best pure cover corner that West Virginia is recruiting (per Rivals). As Preluderl said, a pure cover corner should be coveted in the Big XII and the addition of Brown to WVU would give that position a big boost. While the cornerback position is somewhat crowded Brown was perhaps the best players still on the board and could have very well been take in the top 10. Excellent pick and great value.

21. wvudavy pick made at 1:07 p.m. Mike Smith DE Miami, FL

In the pass happy Big 12 you have to have pressure on the quarterback, something we did not do very well last year. At 6'3 235 lbs Smith reminds me a lot of Bruce Irvin, Smith even admitted to modeling his game after Irvin. Plus just look at his profile pick, looks like one bad mother---, ready to terrorize QBs

Tony's Take: I love this selection at this pick. Anytime you can get a Bruce Irvin clone you take it. Not to mention whoever gets this young man gets him for four years instead of two. Smith plays way above his Rivals 3 star ranking and for the last pick of the first round it was the best, under the radar selection that could have been made.

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