MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As MetroNews continues sizing up West Virginia’s class of 2014 recruiting class, our series shifts to linebackers.

Once again, we’re joined by senior writer Keenan Cummings, who focuses on recruiting for the Rivals network. He appraises a collection of linebacking targets drawing West Virginia’s attention:

Davonte James

Davonte James
Inside linebacker • Springfield (Ohio) High

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound James is a three-star Rivals prospect and teammate of receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass, who committed to Kentucky over numerous major-college offers. The Springfield program previously produced Alabama junior linebacker Trey DePriest, projected as an early-round NFL draft pick next season.

“James visited Morgantown during spring practice and left with the Mountaineers as one of the leaders,” Cummings said. “The athletic linebacker was particularly impressed with the coaching style of the staff and expects to make a decision sometime during the summer. James expects to return to Morgantown at some point before he makes that decision.”

With offers from Michigan State, Purdue, Illinois and Georgia Tech, James will have numerous options. Video highlights of his sophomore season show James’ playmaking ability.

Jaboree Williams

Jaboree Williams
Outside linebacker • Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) High

Another three-star prospect, the 6-foot, 210-pound Williams has offers from WVU, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Boston College, Cincinnati, USF and scores of smaller FBS programs.

“Williams has watched his recruitment skyrocket during the spring evaluation period, but West Virginia is one of the schools that has his attention,” Cummings said. “Running backs coach JaJuan Seider is the lead recruiter and Williams plans to visit this summer. A very versatile linebacker prospect, Williams has played almost every position on his high school team, ranging from cornerback to defensive line. College coaches have been impressed with his ability to flip his hips in pass coverage as well as his nose for the football.”

Check out video of Williams’ junior season here.

T.J. Harrell

T.J. Harrell
Star/inside linebacker • Tampa (Fla.) Catholic

Possessing 4.5 speed, Harrell is a 6-1, 210-pounder with 28 offers from FBS programs, including UCLA, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Syracuse, Michigan State, and N.C.State. Rivals rates him the No. 22 athlete prospect in the nation.

“One of the most versatile prospects on the West Virginia recruiting board, Harrell is being recruited for positions all over the football field, including several major offers at running back,” Cummings said. “Harrell has developed a close bond with lead recruiter Joe DeForest and expects to make a stop in Morgantown at some point later in the process. Harrell is familiar with the success of the West Virginia program over the years, but the multi-talented athlete wants to see it in person.”

During an interview with SBNation in April, Harrell said West Virginia also was interested in him as a receiver. Other schools have suggested he’ll make a better safety. Here is video of Harrell on both sides of the ball.

Tre Neal

Tre Neal
Linebacker • Buford (Ga.)

Schools such as Southern Miss, South Florida, UCF and East Carolina are recruiting Neal, a 6-2, 190-pounder who plays for one of Georgia’s small-school dynasties. In a six-classification state, Buford won the AAA crown last season after winning the AA title seven times in the previous 11 years.

“West Virginia has been the school recruiting Neal the hardest and although he’s not quite ready to name a leader, it’s safe to assume that the Mountaineers are in good position,” Cummings said. “Neal has the size and the speed to move sideline to sideline and has enough athleticism that schools are targeting him at wide receiver. Neal expects to take several visits this summer, including a trip to West Virginia, and plans to make his decision known before the start of his senior year.”

A video highlight showing Neal’s explosiveness at receiver last season.

JaKevin Jackson

Jakevin Jackson and LeGrande Harley
Inside/Star linebackers • Georgia Military College

Jackson (6-3, 225) and Harley (6-1, 220) were teammates last season alongside Mario Alford and Brandon Golson — 2013 West Virginia signees that assistant coach Tony Gibson flipped from Arizona. Now Gibson is once again recruiting the Georgia juco program that has produced 15 NFL players since 1995.

LeGrande Harley

“Both junior college linebackers will have three years to play two,” Cummings said.  “Both are highly interested in West Virginia and have impressed with their athleticism and natural instincts.”

Kansas State and Cincinnati have offered Jackson, but Cummings said WVU currently is the frontrunner. Capable of playing inside or outside, Jackson expects to announce his college decision June 10.

Harley, who Cummings said plans to visit Morgantown June 4, has offers from Arizona State and Georgia State.

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  • Charles

    You will be waiting forever if you are waiting on a what would be considered an elite class at wvu. We have one glaring roadblock that the "elite" recruiting schools do not. Their coaches hit the road to recruit drive 2 hours and recruit their whole class. We basically have to steal every recruit we get from another school's backyard. We have to get a kid that grew up a gator, Seminole, hurricane, hokie, etc to commit to us. Our state's lake of in state talent will always hinder our class rankings. This is not to say we can't do well, and win with what we get. Back we can never be top 5 or so. Name one school in our position that does. Saban leaves the house and his state has 50 d1 prospects and 40 of them grew up tide fans. No matter who coaches here our recruiting is limited. Until one day our residents get done athletic ability in their genes. Our class this year is a great class that fills our needs and about taps out what can be done when "stealing" every kid from someone's backyard.

    • tw eagle

      you are definitely right . . .BUT , let's dream for a minute . . .there are enough W Va boys available each year to give WVU and Marshall at least 6 or eight bodies each year. . .they may not be the fastest , or jump the highest , but they'll work the hardest and show up for practice and games with energy and emotion . . .WVU has had problems on special teams for what seems like decades . . .these W Va boys will fill the holes on these teams that out of state recruits won't . . . find a way to get these W Va boys grant-in-aids , or some type of coal industry sponsored academic scholarships . . .I say if a way can be found to accomplish this agenda , that WVU and Marshall will be climbing through the hierarchy of ncaa football . . .

  • tw eagle

    Well , it's nice that WVU is getting the attention of some fine athletes . . .being inundated with recruiting data , I see that the BIG schools have already got COMMITTMENTS from 10 to 15 players already . . .when WVU starts getting commitments from these athletes before summer arrives , I'll start getting real excited . . .more than likely , WVU will again be relegated to picking through the 'leftovers'
    in January and February . . .I do understand it will be a long road till WVU joins the 'elite' programs . . .

    • Wemakerain

      WVU has never gotten recruits of this caliber to consistsntly consider, much less enroll. And keep in mind the limited number of scholarships available this year, the staff is only taking commitments from the best available

  • Habib Haddad

    The future looks so bright, hold on while I get my sunglasses on.

  • Helen5844

    The future looks bright indeed!!!!

  • Big harv Lantz

    Looks like we are heading in the right direction...Big Harv

  • Recruiting Junkie

    Thanks Allan!