By Keenan Cummings
We’re in the midst of a dead period, but the West Virginia recruiting class continues to take shape.
Dead in name only, the current period which lasts until the end of August prevents college prospects from visiting college campuses or having face-to-face contact with coaches.
But that obviously doesn’t slow things down too much.
Never has that been more evident than when the Mountaineers added a pair of commitments Thursday in Philadelphia Imhotep Charter safety Tykee Smith and Cedartown (Ga.) running back Tony Mathis.
Smith, a four-star prospect, chose WVU over offers from North Carolina, Maryland, Michigan State, Baylor and Syracuse and is an athletic option in the back end.
West Virginia offered him as a sophomore and he was one of the Mountaineers’ top targets on the board overall.
Mathis emerged as the top option for the Mountaineers at running back and was coveted for his versatility at the position in the backfield and as a pass catcher.
The list of schools that made up his top group also included Louisville, Iowa State, Purdue and Wake Forest.
It’s quite the haul in a single day, but there’s still more work to do and some decisions could come soon.
With 15 total commitments, the Mountaineers now will turn their focus to filling out the rest of the needs in the class with a likely breakdown being a pair of quarterbacks, a wide receiver, two to three offensive linemen, two to three defensive linemen, a safety and one or two cornerbacks.
The next expected choice could put a bow on recruiting at the safety position with Columbia (Md.) Wilde Lake safety Osita Smith set to make his college selection Aug. 30 between finalists WVU, Maryland and Indiana.
The Mountaineers have been one of the top choices for some time and he is slotted to fill the hybrid role as the SPUR safety in the defensive scheme if he picks the program.
Several others have indicated that the only thing that stands between them and a decision is visits this fall and one of those is Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County defensive tackle Brian Merritt. The 6-foot, 290-pound, nose tackle has the Mountaineers as the top school on his list and is waiting to see campus.
Highland Springs (Va.) wide receiver Ali Jennings visited WVU in July and could be the last seat at the table for the Mountaineers at the position group in this class. Jennings has a list of eight schools standing out, but WVU is firmly cemented in that picture and he has hinted that a decision could come before the fall, which would put him on a tight timeline.
Even if it doesn’t, he is fully expected to take an official visit to campus once the college football season gets underway.
Keenan Cummings is the Senior Writer for WVSports.com with the Rivals.com/Yahoo Network.