ORLANDO, Fla. — West Virginia landed one of its top defensive targets for the Class of 2014 when Oviedo High’s Tyree Owens chose the Mountaineers over Georgia Tech and Iowa State.
The 6-foot-3, 256-pounder is a raw talent who only began playing football during spring practice of his freshman year, but his 4.7 speed and long wingspan helped him draw a three-star rating from Rivals. He has continued adding weight and growing into his frame since MetroNews counted him among the top defensive line targets in June.
Though Owens committed to WVU coaches on Friday while attending camp in Morgantown, he saved his public announcement for Monday night during a streaming telecast with the Orlando Sentinel.
“West Virginia had the best family feel—when I got there this weekend they welcomed me with open arms,” said Owens, who aims to major in physical therapy. “They have two hospitals there, so that will be a big benefit and I’ll be able to do my internship right there on campus.”
Owens becomes WVU’s ninth commitment in a class that figures to go only 18 or 19 players deep.
“He’s a very long, explosive pass rusher that uses his quickness and strength to cause havoc in the backfield,” said Rivals writer Keenan Cummings of WVSports.com. “This season will be only be his third playing organized football and his potential is through the roof as he continues to shape his skills set.”
Joe DeForest took the lead on his recruitment, with defensive line coach Erik Slaughter also being integral.
“Chalk up this commitment to the fact that West Virginia was the first to offer Owens a scholarship and, secondly, the relationship he built with DeForest and Slaughter throughout the process,” Cummings said.
Owens told The Sentinel his trip to West Virginia clinched the decision.
“The visit made me feel a lot better,” he said. “Even my mom felt a whole lot better about letting her baby go. I think mom saw how happy I was, and she felt a lot better knowing those coaches and seeing how they treated me like I was one of their own kids.”
Owens holds 21 FBS offers overall, including Wisconsin, Virginia, Cincinnati, N.C. State and Marshall. Upon publicizing his destination, he sounded relieved to have the recruiting process behind him.
“It was pretty fun at first being called by coaches and having recruiters call you, but now it’s getting pretty hectic,” Owens said.
“I just want to thank God for making this possible, and I want to thank my mom for standing by me no matter what I had to do. I want to thank my family, all the coaches, and my team at Oviedo, who have been there since Day One and helped me out.”
During Owens’ breakout junior season, he led Oviedo to the Florida Class 7A state quarterfinals and an 11-2 record.