Late push for Darnell Wright expected to fall short on Neal Brown’s first signing day

MORGANTOWN — Almost everything has changed for West Virginia in the six weeks between national signing days — except for the Mountaineers signing class.

West Virginia has added two commitments since Neal Brown took over for Dana Holgorsen on Jan. 5 — safety Rashean Lynn and graduate transfer quarterback Austin Kendall. Lynn will sign his letter of intent Wednesday, while Kendall is already enrolled at WVU.

Rivals analyst Keenan Cummings says the Mountaineers expect to add a couple more signees on Wednesday, which will leave the class with three spots to fill with additional transfers this summer. Heading into the second national signing day, Rivals ranks West Virginia’s class 52nd nationally and seventh in the Big 12.

Five-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright of Huntington is not expected to be a last-minute addition to West Virginia’s class despite a concerted push from the Mountaineers new coaching staff. The whole staff visited Wright, who also paid WVU an official visit on Jan. 18.

“West Virginia was able to crack open a door that had seemingly been shut for the five-star offensive tackle,” Cummings said. “The Mountaineers impressed with their approach and recruited him hard as they could down the stretch, but had to make up a lot of ground in a short period of time.”

Wright, the No. 16 overall recruit in the Class of 2019, is the highest-rated uncommitted player in the Rivals Top 100 but is expected to choose Tennessee, which has long been the leader.

Another name West Virginia fans should not expect to see joining the program is Isheem Young.

Young was originally recruited by Holgorsen’s coaching staff, of which tight ends coach Dan Gerberry is the lone remaining member on West Virginia’s staff. A safety who was a high school teammate of WVU signee Tykee Smith, Young is a former Penn State commit who spent last year in a juvenile detention facility after his role in an armed robbery.

Young is expected to follow former WVU safeties coach Matt Caponi to Iowa State.

Rashean Lynn (COMMITTED)

WR/S • 6-5, 184 • Cocoa, Fla. • Rivals three-star

Lynn is the most recent player to commit to West Virginia. Recruited by many programs as a receiver, he was drawn by the chance to play defense for the Mountaineers. Has unusual length for a safety, bringing to mind former Seattle Seahawks Brandon Browner and Kam Chancellor … Other offers included Florida, Oregon, Kentucky, Louisville, Virginia, Purdue, Indiana and Cincinnati.

Austin Kendall (ENROLLED)

QB • 6-2, 212 • Waxhaw, N.C. • Rivals four-star

Graduate transfer from Oklahoma… Backed up Heisman winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray for the Sooners. Has two years of eligibility remaining  … Other high school offers included Auburn, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Dreshun Miller (ENROLLED)

CB • 6-2, 175 • Marietta, Ga. • Rivals four-star

Junior college transfer from Eastern Arizona. Initially committed to LSU before returning players left Tigers without need for another defensive back.  … Other offers included Auburn, Houston, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas Tech.

Taijh Alston (ENROLLED)

DE • 6-5, 233 • Cameron, N.C. • Rivals three-star

Attended East Carolina as a freshman before transferring to Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) CC  … Other offers included North Texas and Western Kentucky.

Kerry Martin (ENROLLED)

S • 6-2, 188 • Charleston, W.Va. • Rivals three-star

The lone West Virginia prospect in this year’s class, Martin graduated early and enrolled in December … Other offers included Army, Cincinnati and Marshall.

Ali Jennings (SIGNED)

WR • 6-2, 186 • Highland Springs, Va. • Rivals three-star

Helped his high school to a 15-0 record and a Virginia state title with 40 receptions for 874 yards and seven touchdowns. WVU was the first Power 5 school to offer Jennings … Other offers included Michigan State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Indiana, Illinois, Army, Navy and Air Force.

Tykee Smith (SIGNED)

S • 5-11, 190 • Philadelphia, Pa. • Rivals four-star

First team all-Philadelphia Public League selection who was named the No. 3 overall prospect in Pennsylvania by Penn Live … Other offers included Baylor, Boston College, Duke, Indiana and Kansas.

Osita Smith (SIGNED)

S • 6-2, 205 • Columbia, Md. • Rivals three-star

West Virginia was Smith’s only official visit. An attacking downhill safety who led his team in sacks and tackles for loss as a senior … Other offers included Cincinnati, Indiana, Marshall, Maryland, Purdue, Rutgers and Wake Forest.

Winston Wright (SIGNED)

WR • 5-11, 154 • Savannah, Ga. • Rivals three-star

Part of two state championship teams. A versatile option who might also help in the return game, Wright had 1,000 receiving yards and 700 rushing yards as a senior … Other offers included Boston College, Colorado State, Duke, Illinois, Iowa State, North Carolina, Temple, Central Florida, South Florida and Wake Forest.

Parker Moorer (SIGNED)

OT • 6-5, 294 • Charlotte, N.C. • Rivals three-star

Moorer was committed to Maryland until the death of Terrapins offensive lineman Jordan McNair. Rated as the 23rd overall prospect in North Carolina this year by Rivals … Other offers included Maryland, Colorado State, Louisville, Marshall, Rutgers, Syracuse, Central Florida and Virginia.

Donavan Beaver (SIGNED)

OG • 6-7, 295 • Spotsylvania, Va. • Rivals three-star

Proven as a run-blocker in high school, he helped open holes for an offense that rushed for 4,400 yards and 54 touchdowns in 2018 … Other offers included Florida, Louisville, Maryland, NC State, North Carolina, Pitt, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Tony Mathis (SIGNED)

RB • 5-11, 195 • Cedartown, Ga. • Rivals three-star

Played at the same high school as current Browns running back Nick Chubb. Rated as the nation’s No. 53 running back by Rivals … Other offers included Iowa State, Louisville, Purdue and Wake Forest.

Terence Doston (SIGNED)

WR • 5-10, 160 • Tampa, Fla. • Rivals three-star

A two-sport star who will also join the West Virginia baseball program.  … Other offers included Cincinnati, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Stanford and Central Florida.

Jalen Thornton (SIGNED)

DE • 6-3, 245 • Cincinnati, Ohio • Rivals three-star

Son of John Thornton, a two-time all-Big East defensive tackle for West Virginia who went on to play in the NFL from 1999-2008… Other offers included Cincinnati, Iowa State and Kentucky.

Nicktroy Fortune (SIGNED)

CB • 5-11, 182 • Lawrenceville, Ga. • Rivals three-star

Fortune famously committed after being awestruck by West Virginia’s mountains. Was named the No. 76 overall prospect in talent-rich Georgia by Rivals … Other offers included Virginia, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Syracuse and Wisconsin.

Brandon Yates (SIGNED)

OT • 6-5, 270 • Las Vegas, Nev. • Rivals three-star

Yates is a Delaware native who moved to Las Vegas in high school. A consensus Top-10 prospect in Nevada, he turned down late interest from USC … Other offers included Arizona State, Boise State, Colorado State, USC, Utah and Washington State.

Jared Bartlett (SIGNED)

LB • 6-2, 210 • Suwanee, Ga. • Rivals three-star

Though he wasn’t recruited by new defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, Bartlett’s game looks like it will fit well in Koenning’s scheme. A solid outside rusher, Bartlett had 15 TFL, 11 QB hurries and 5 sacks as a senior … Other offers included Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse and Wake Forest

Kolton McGhee (SIGNED)

K • 6-0, 170 • Altoona, Pa. • Rivals three-star

A two-time all-state selection in Pennsylvania who also averaged 46.2 yards per punt as a senior … Other offers included Army and Rutgers.

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