WVU Football Early Signing Day 2017

Charlie Benton, LB, 6-3, 215, Opelika, Ala./Opelika HS/Butler CC (Kan.)

Played for coach Tim Schaffner at Butler Community College (Kan.) … helped team to an 8-3 record in 2017 … finished the season ranked third on the team with 34 tackles, tied for second with 10 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one interception … All-KJCCC Second Team (2017) … three-star rating by rivals and 247Sports … No. 5 safety nationally and No. 71 overall by 247Sports … No. 5 ranked outside linebacker by ESPN … also offered by Iowa State … previously played three seasons for coach Brian Blackmon at Opelika High (Ala.) … helped team to a 12-1 record and an appearance in the Alabama 6A Quarterfinals in 2015 … finished the 2015 season with 72 tackles, nine pass breakups, four tackles for loss, four interceptions and three sacks … had 158 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 17 pass breakups, five interceptions, and two fumble recoveries during high school career … played in the 2015 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game … Opelika-Auburn News All-Area First Team (2015).

 

Tyrese Allen, DL, 6-3, 292, Paintsville, Ky./Paintsville HS

Played for coach Joe Chirico at Paintsville High … 2017 all-area player of the year … two-time all-area … finished with 155 total tackles, including 88 solos … also ran for 1,468 yards and scored 26 total touchdowns as a senior … led Tigers to an 11-2 record and trip to the semifinals of the 2017 Kentucky Class 1A Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl playoffs … selected to play in the Best of the Bluegrass All-Star football game … named to 2017 Kentucky Mr. Football Watch List … registered 65 tackles as a junior … played the first two seasons of his high school career for coach Jim Matney at Johnson Central High … rated a three-star prospect by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … No. 10 overall player in Kentucky by rivals … No. 8 overall in Kentucky by ESPN … No. 12 overall in Kentucky by 247Sports … also offered by Cincinnati, Memphis, Purdue, Western Kentucky.

 

 

 

Josh Norwood, S, 5-11, 175, Valdosta, Ga./Valdosta HS/Northwest Mississippi CC

Played one season for coach Benjy Parker at Northwest Mississippi Community College (Miss.) … All-NJCAA Region 23 First Team (2017) … All-MACJC First Team (2017) … helped Northwest Mississippi CC to an 8-3 record and an appearance in the Graphic Edge Bowl … finished the season third on the team with 71 tackles, five pass breakups, three tackles for loss and one interception … four-star rating by ESPN … three-star rating by rivals and 247Sports … No. 4 cornerback nationally and No. 9 overall in Georgia by 247Sports … No. 2 safety nationally and No. 23 in the nation by ESPN … ESPNJC50 … previously played two seasons at Ohio State (2015-16) … played in 11 games during the 2016 season, helping the team to an 11-2 record and Fiesta Bowl berth … finished the season with eight tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup … redshirted the 2015 season … played for coach Rance Gillespie at Valdosta High (Ga.) … finished the 2014 season with 44 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups, six interceptions and five forced fumbles … Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State First Team (2014) … Region 1-6A co-Defensive Player of the Year (2014) … All-Region 1-6A First Team (2014).

 

Kwantel Raines, S, 6-3, 206, Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa HS

Played for legendary Coach Mike Zmijnanc at Aliquippa High School … helped team to a 12-1 season, a 6-0 conference mark and a No. 3 ranking in the state … Quips made their 10th straight appearance in the WPIAL championship game … 3A Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Trib 25 All-Star Team … two-time All-Beaver Valley Conference First-Team selection … nominated for the 2018 US Army All-American Bowl … Top-10 prospect in the state and WPIAL … also played quarterback and wide receiver … collected three interceptions in a win over South Park … created six turnovers in the first two playoff games of 2017 … team leader of one of the best defenses statistic-wise in the WPIAL, allowing just one touchdown in the regular season … MaxPreps preseason All-American … four-star ranking by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … 247Sports ranks him No. 192 best prospect, No. 17 at his position and No. 7 in Pennsylvania … rivals lists him as No. 13 in the state, No. 24 at his position … rivals250 … ESPN ranks him No. 17 at his position, No. 25 in the region and No. 9 in the state …  ESPN300 … MaxPreps lists him as the No. 12 best recruit in Pennsylvania … joins fellow Aliquippa High standout Dravon Askew-Henry on the Mountaineer roster …  received more than 30 scholarship offers, including Cal, Florida, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, TCU, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.

 

Keith Washington, CB, 6-2, 187, Prattville, Ala./Prattville HS/Michigan/Copiah-Lincoln CC

Played for coach Glenn Davis at Copiah-Lincoln CC … saw action nine games, finishing with 20 tackles, including 14 unassisted tackles and 2.2 tackles for loss … also had a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, two interceptions and five pass breakups … season-high six tackles, two interceptions and a pass breakup at Coahoma … also had three tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups against Mississippi Gulf Coast … three-star rating by ESPN and 247Sports … No. 117 overall nationally, No. 14 cornerback and No. 23 overall from Alabama by 247Sports … ESPN lists him as the No. 8 cornerback nationally … lettered at Michigan for the 2016 season … played on special teams units in nine games and also saw time at cornerback … tallied one special teams stop against Wisconsin (Oct. 1), his first career tackle … contributed one special teams tackle at Rutgers (Oct. 8) and against Illinois (Oct. 22) …. saw time on special teams against Michigan State (Oct. 29) and Maryland (Nov. 5) … redshirted as a true freshman in 2015 … played for coach Chad Anderson at Prattville High … two-time Montgomery Advertiser Player of the Year (2014-15) … was a dual-threat quarterback in high school and completed 93-of-162 passes for 1,718 yards and 17 touchdowns … ran the ball 152 times for 1,201 yards and scored 20 touchdowns ... also offered by Kansas, Memphis, Texas Tech and Toledo.

Trey Lowe, QB, 6-3, 198, Collierville, Tenn./Bolivar Central HS

Played for his father, coach Woodrow Lowe Jr., at Bolivar Central High … one of five semifinalists for Mr. Football in Tennessee … helped lead team to a 6-5 record and a spot in the Tennessee Division I Class 3A state playoffs … three-time all-district selection … Steve Young Co-Award Winner (MVP) … invited to play in Toyota East/West All-Star Game … finished career as all-time passing leader at Bolivar High with 5,568 yards and 53 passing touchdowns, rushed for 25 career touchdowns and had 78 total touchdowns … earned West Tennessee Player of the Week (Game 5) … as a senior, finished with 2,759 total yards and 30 touchdowns, completed 108-of-167 passes for 1,819 yards, 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions … also ran for 940 yards and 14 touchdowns … helped lead Bolivar from 6-5 as a sophomore to 8-3 as a junior … completed 61 percent of his passes, threw for 1,601 yards and 20 touchdowns … ran for an additional four touchdowns … BCH leadership council … 2017 Boys State Delegate (American Legion) … 2017 BCHS Most Athletic … 2016 Male Athlete of the Year … two-time baseball all-district/all-tournament team … four-star rating by ESPN … ESPN300 prospect … No. 13 pocket passer nationally and No. 6 in Tennessee by ESPN … participated in rivals250 underclassman camp … three-star rating by rivals and 247Sports … No. 19 overall in the state and No. 20 dual-threat quarterback nationally by rivals … No. 23 dual-threat quarterback nationally, No. 22 overall prospect in Tennessee by 247Sports … also offered by Army, Houston, Illinois, Memphis, Navy, Ohio and North Carolina.

Oyenmwen “Junior” Uzebu, OL, 6-6, 290, Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta HS

Played offensive tackle for coach Jacob Nichols at Alpharetta High … earned second-team All-Region 7-6A honors … anchored an offensive line that paved the way for 2,062 rushing yards by Raiders’ backs and passed for 2,590 yards for more than 4,500 yards of total offense as a senior … helped lead Alpharetta to an 11-2 record, 8-0 in the region and advanced to the final four of the state playoffs … as a junior, helped the team finished 7-4 and make an appearance in the first round of the state playoffs … three-star rating by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … ESPN rated him as No. 48 best offensive tackle prospect … also offered by Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, NC State, Pitt, Syracuse and USF.

 

 

Blaine Scott, OL, 6-4, 330, West Portsmouth, Ohio/Sciotoville Community School

Four-year starter and senior captain for coach James Gifford at Sciotoville Community School … 2017 First Team Division VII All-Ohio honoree … three-time All-Southern Ohio Conference First-Team … three-time Associated Press Division VII All-Southeast District First-Team … recorded 78 pancake blocks as a senior … led the offensive line that allowed the Tartans to gain 2,094 rushing yards in 2017 … three-star rating by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … ranked the No. 25 best guard in the country and No. 17 player in Ohio according to rivals … ranked the No. 24 best guard nationally and No. 25 player in Ohio according to 247Sports … also starred on the basketball court, earning Southern Ohio Conference All-Star honors in 2016 … No. 16 in Ohio, No. 23 guard nationally and No. 34 in the Midwest by ESPN … also offered by Arkansas, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Michigan State, Minnesota, NC State, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse and Vanderbilt.

 

Randy Fields Jr., WR, 6-3, 192, Elkton, Md./St. Frances Academy

Played for coach Henry Russell at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore … as a senior in 2017, named All-Metro second team … finished with 38 catches for 625 yards and seven touchdowns … helped lead St. Frances to a 12-0 record, the Class A MIAA championship, No. 1 ranking in Maryland and No. 11 in the nation … St. Frances will play Bignham (Utah) in the second annual GEICO Champions Bowl on Dec. 23 in Arizona … as a junior, he earned Maryland Private School All-Metro and All-State honors, helping lead St. Frances to a Class A MIAA Championship … caught 61 passes for 995 yards and 13 touchdowns … had 13 catches for 210 yards and three touchdowns against No. 1 McDonogh … three-star rating by ESPN.com, rivals, 247Sports … No. 21 overall in Maryland by rivals and No. 23 by ESPN.com and 247Sports … also offered by Cincinnati, Pitt, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

 

James Gmiter, DL, 6-3, 309, Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park HS

Played offensive and defensive tackle for coach Jeff Metheny at Bethel Park High … 2017 Pennsylvania Football Writers 6A All-State Team (DL) … four-year starter … two-time WPIAL Class 6A All-Southeastern Conference … Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Trib 25 All-Star Team … Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fab 22 … helped lead Bethel Park to an 8-2 record and the 6A Southeastern Conference championship … finished with 39 tackles, three sacks, six tackles for loss and one batted pass … paved the way for the offense to average 263.1 rushing yards per game and 34.4 points as a run-first offense … invited to play in the Blue-Gray All-Star Game … as a junior, named honorable mention Class 6A all-state selection … nominated for Mr. Pennsylvania Lineman of the Year … participated in the U.S. Army Combine … three-star rating by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … No. 26 rated defensive lineman in Pennsylvania and No. 58 overall by rivals … No. 26 ranked in Pennsylvania by ESPN.com … No. 27 in Pennsylvania and No. 71 defensive tackle overall by 247Sports … also offered by Wisconsin.

                               

 

Briason Mays, OL, 6-4, 290, Bolivar, Tenn./Bolivar Central HS

Played for coach Woodrow Lowe Jr. at Bolivar Central … four-year starter and three-time All-Region 7-3A First-Team honoree … two-time all-district selection … helped lead team to a 6-5 record and a spot in the Tennessee Division I Class 3A state playoffs … Steve Young Co-Award Winner … invited to play in Toyota East/West All-Star Game … high school teammate of fellow 2018 signee Trey Lowe … paved the way for the offense to rush for 3,071 yards, pass for 1,828 yards and score 36.9 points per game … graded out to 94 percent and finished with 101 pancake blocks … finished with 47 tackles on the defensive line … BCH leadership council … three-star ranking by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … ranked as No. 32 in the state of Tennessee by ESPN … ranked as No. 21 player in Tennessee and No. 37 guard nationally by rivals … No. 36 guard in the country and No. 31 player in Tennessee according to 247Sports … also offered by Air Force, Army, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Navy, Toledo and UCF.

 

Bryce Wheaton, WR, 6-5, 207, Fuquay-Varina, N.C. /Holly Springs

Played for coach Robert Furth at Holly Springs High … will be a third generation Mountaineer behind grandfather Garrett Ford Sr. and uncle Garrett Ford Jr., who were standout running backs at West Virginia … grandfather was also a long-time administrator at WVU … an All-SWAC selection as a senior … selected to the 2017 Shrine Bowl for Team North Carolina … team offensive MVP as a senior despite missing six games due to a shoulder injury … three-year lettermen for Holly Springs … three-star ranking by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … 247Sports ranks him the No. 27 best prospect in North Carolina and the No. 135 wide receiver overall … ESPN ranks him No. 23 in the state and No. 144 nationally at his position … rivals lists him as the No. 34 best recruit in North Carolina … second-team South Wake All-Conference selection … also played defensive back and ran track for Holly Springs … sophomore and junior totals combined were 42 catches for 479 yards with a long reception of 66 yards … averaged 11.4 yards per catch in those two years with six touchdowns … also as a sophomore and junior totaled 184 rushing yards and two touchdowns with an average of 11.5 yards per carry … also offered by Missouri, Syracuse, Louisville and Washington State.

 

Dante Stills, DL, 6-4, 284, Fairmont, W.Va./Fairmont Senior HS

A three-time Class AA All-State performer for coach Nick Bartic and J.L. Abbott at Fairmont Senior High School  ... named defensive captain and a first-team selection of the 2017 West Virginia AA All-State team … also a first-team All-State selection as a junior and a second team All-State selection as a sophomore … named a 2017 Under Armour All-American … led the Polar Bears to consecutive state runner-up finishes in 2016 and 2017 … team finished 12-2 overall and 8-0 in its conference in 2017 … collected 81 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks as a senior … as a junior, he collected 75 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 quarterback sacks … a four-time member of the Times West Virginian football team … ranked as the state’s No. 1 prospect by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … ranked the No. 140 overall in the nation by 247Sports … ESPN300 … ESPN ranks him the No. 24 best recruit in the region and No. 21 at his position … rivals lists him at No. 6 at his position and No. 150 overall nationally … Rivals250 … participant in the prestigious Nike Opening Camp … his brother, Darius, is a freshman on the 2017 Mountaineer football team … father, Gary, was an All-Big East standout linebacker at WVU for Hall of Fame Coach Don Nehlen, before enjoying a successful pro career with the Kansas City and Baltimore … also offered by Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

 

Skyler Simcox, K, 6-0, 190, Abingdon, Va./Abingdon HS/Emory & Henry/Western Kentucky

Helped Western Kentucky to an 11-3 record and a victory in the Boca Raton Bowl in 2016 … converted 16-of-22 field goals and 70-of-71 PATs to rank second on the team with 118 points … became the third kicker in school history with two 50-yard field goals in a career after hitting a 50-yard field goal against Houston Baptist and a 52-yard field goal against Middle Tennessee … previously played one season at Emory & Henry College (Va.) … converted 9-of-11 field goals and 38-of-40 PATs in 2015 … D3football.com All-Region Third Team (2015) … All-ODAC First Team (2015) … attended Abingdon High (Va.), where he tallied 57 points and made 39-of-41 PATs in 2014.

 

Mike O’Laughlin, TE, 6-5, 230, Glen Ellyn, Ill./Fenwick HS

Played for coach Gene Nudo at Fenwick HS … two-time all-state … two-time all-conference and two-time Pioneer Press All-Area First Team … team’s most valuable player … Tony Lawless Award (conference MVP) … helped lead Fenwick to a 6-6 record and first round of the state playoffs … as a senior, he finished with 54 catches for 956 yards and 11 touchdowns … averaged 18 yards per catch …  helped lead Fenwick to the Class 7A state semifinals as a junior … finished with 54 catches for 939 yards and eight touchdowns … three-star rating by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … No. 13 player in Illinois and No. 17 tight end nationally by ESPN … No. 6 player in Illinois and No. 22 tight end nationally by rivals … No. 9 prospect in Illinois and No. 30 tight end nationally by 247Sports ... also offered by Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio), Ohio State, Toledo, Western Kentucky and Wyoming.

T.J. Banks, TE, 6-5, 240, North Versailles, Pa./East Allegheny HS

Played tight end, wide receiver and defensive end for coach Dominic Pecora at East Allegheny High …2017 Pennsylvania Football Writers 2A First-Team All-State (TE) … Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fab 22 … Pittsburgh Tribune Review 2017 Trib 25 All-Star team … helped lead East Allegheny to a 7-4 record and quarterfinals of WPIAL 2A playoffs … finished with 48 catches for 679 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 14.1 yards per catch … named 2016 All-WPIAL Three Rivers Conference … had 34 catches for 479 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior … three-star ranking by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … No. 19 tight end nationally, No. 21 prospect in Pennsylvania and No. 88 in the East by ESPN … No. 11 in Pennsylvania and No. 14 tight end nationally by rivals … No. 16 player in the Pennsylvania and No. 29 athlete overall by 247Sports … also offered by Cincinnati, Illinois, Maryland, Pitt, Syracuse, Temple, Toledo and UCF.

 

Sam James, WR, 6-0, 171, Richmond, Hill, Ga./Richmond Hill HS

Played at Richmond Hill High for coach Matthew LeZotte … 2017 honorable mention Georgia Class 6A All-State selection, by the Georgia Sports Writers Association … 2017 Region 2-6A All-Region First Team … member of the 2017 WJCL Big 22 Squad … caught 53 passes for 905 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior, good for an average of 17.1 yards per catch … helped lead Wildcats to a 7-3 record and trip to the Georgia Class 6A Playoffs … 2016 The Opening Orlando Regional participant … as a junior, caught 42 passes for 917 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior … plays basketball and also runs track at Richmond Hill, winning the Georgia 6A state championship in the 400 meters as a junior … rated as a three-star prospect by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … also offered by Cincinnati, Colorado State, Connecticut, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Memphis, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, UCF and Wake Forest.

 

Josh Chandler, LB, 5-11, 226, Canton, Ohio/Canton McKinley HS

Played at Canton McKinley High for coach Dan Reardon … registered 86 tackles as a senior, including 17 for loss, while dealing with a knee injury for much of the year that caused him to play only seven games … also accumulated two sacks and two fumble recoveries for the Bulldogs in 2017 … ran for 367 yards and four touchdowns on offense as a senior … helped Canton McKinley to an 8-3 campaign in 2017, including a berth in the Division I playoffs and share of the Federal League championship … 2017 Division I All-Ohio First Team … 2017 Division I All-Northeast Inland District First Team … 2016, 2017 All-Federal League First Team … 2017 Academic All-Ohioan … 2016 Division I All-Ohio Second Team … finished with 76 tackles, including 12 for a loss, two sacks and an interception as a junior … earned four letters in football, two in basketball and two in track and field … played first two years of high-school career at GlenOak High for coach Scott Garcia … three-star rating by ESPN, rivals and 247Sports … No. 50 player in Ohio and No. 38 inside linebacker by ESPN … No. 32 player in Ohio and No. 29 inside linebacker nationally by rivals … No. 56 player in Ohio by 247Sports … also offered by Air Force, Akron, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.


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