MORGANTOWN — Aliquippa High School has been kind to WVU in recent years.
That statement alone is almost hard to believe.
A once-proud pipeline school to the Mountaineers’ main rival, Pittsburgh, the small western Pennsylvania school has undergone a transformation of sorts at least on the recruiting trail.
The school has been a factory for the Panthers over the years. From Mike Ditka to Sean Gilbert to Darrelle Revis to Jon Baldwin, the history is deeply entrenched.
But WVU has made some noise of late, first by signing the top prospect at the school in the 2014 class — now-senior Dravon Askew-Henry — as well as his close friend defensive lineman Jaleel Fields. The program unsurprisingly knocked off the Panthers for Henry in a major recruiting win.
That could be the story in itself, but WVU wasn’t done just yet.
It happened again last season, when WVU signed four-star safety Kwantel Raines, again beating out Pittsburgh in a Backyard Brawl on the recruiting trail.
Could lightning strike again?
Aliquippa once again has a high-profile defensive back on the roster in 2019 cornerback Marlin Devonshire, one of the earliest offers for the Mountaineers. It also was the first scholarship offer that Devonshire received, in January 2017, so the groundwork has been laid.
The Rivals.com four-star prospect also collected scholarship offers from programs such as Ohio State, Michigan State and, of course, Pittsburgh.
Except this time the Panthers got a late start, extending a scholarship offer in May, but since that time the rising senior has made trips to the Pitt campus.
Devonshire also has visited Morgantown and will be back for the Showtime Event, on July 27, where he’ll be able to spend time with the coaches and players.
It’s always key to get top-end talent on campus, and obviously with both Askew-Henry and Raines already in the fold, there’s an opportunity to keep that streak going. It’s hard to believe that the Mountaineers have gotten their foot in the door at a one-time Pittsburgh pipeline, and while two is nice, could the third time be the charm?
WVU hopes so, at a place it likely never expected to have a foot in the door.