MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The connection of former Mountaineer receiver Antonio Brown and current running backs coach JaJuan Seider went a long way in WVU getting a 2015 verbal commitment from Jovon Durante out of Miami Jackson High School.

Brown, now the head coach at Miami Jackson, and Seider were brief teammates at West Virginia back in the late 1990s.

“JaJuan was one of those 20-some guys (at WVU) that was from the state of Florida when I was there,” Brown said. “We built a comradery just coming from the state of Florida. So, we kept in conversation (as coaches) and stayed in communication throughout the years. When he went back (to WVU), he got first dibs.”

First dibs, that is, on Durante as the rising junior became the second member of West Virginia’s 2015 recruiting class this week. The standout wide receiver already has other early offers from Auburn, Alabama, Cincinnati, Miami and Pitt – among others.

“I don’t think he’s even scratched the surface (of his potential) yet,” Brown said. “He’s raw with some room to grow. His hands and eye coordination are some of the best that I’ve ever seen at this age. Just his awareness of the ball, getting in and out of his breaks, the sky is the limit for him.”

Still, a commitment for 2015 means plenty of time for other schools to recruit Durante even harder.

“I always tell the kids to sit down with your family and make the decision – you’re going to have to spend four years of your career in (wherever you decide). I tell them to just follow your heart and look at the best situation outside of football,” Brown said. “I think he took all of that into consideration and his heart led him to West Virginia.”

Brown, meanwhile, put up some solid numbers himself during his tenure with the Mountaineers, collecting 877 receiving yards during his junior year under head coach Don Nehlen back in 2000. His playing time, however, diminished the following season in the first year under Rich Rodriguez.

“I was so confused as a kid back then,” Brown said of the transition year. “I always wondered what I did to deserve (the lack of playing time), but I understand now that it’s a business…I could have looked at it very negative, but now I understand life a little bit better.”

Brown then had a few years playing in the NFL and now finds himself back home in Miami, leading Jackson High – a connection that gave West Virginia an early recruiting jump on the class of 2015.

You can see the complete interview with Brown above.

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  • Allan

    "I ain't no freshman, I'm Antonio Brown"

  • Sam

    Antonio had a very good junior year under Don Nehlen, showcasing his speed. He was a little erratic catching balls at times, but once he caught it, he was a home run threat.

    For whatever reason, AB was a senior, and he and RR never hit it off. RR did not play him. I figured that perhaps AB didn't practice well and therefore (in RR's opinion) didn't earn the right to be on the field.

    But, we were coming off a bowl victory under Nehlen when AB was certainly one of the star players, and AB being a senior, I expected him to be a good part of the new RR offense.

    RR went 2-9? and AB used his final year of eligibility. AB goes on to on and off play in the NFL, and his present stint as a HS football coach (Kudos to him). I am pleased that AB is doing well as a high school coach.

  • John weaver

    So happy Antonio brown is successful. 4.19 is what I remember about his football,abilities.

  • Alum

    Thank goodness Coach Nehlen sent Doc to FL to open the pipeline to Touchdown City.

  • Marcus

    Antonio Brown's speed in Coach Holgs offense could have put him in the first round of the NFL draft! We always have to give thanks to Coach Holiday without him these Florida connections we wouldn't have! He was plucking these kids out of that talent rich state when recruiting was out of control and not being monitored as strict as it is now!

  • Habib Haddad

    The Florida connection is so important to WVU's success that it cannot be understated. Kudo's to @coachseider for his work in the Sunshine State.

  • Maxxajay

    I remember Brown playing back then.I liked him at the time and still do....