SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Three-star linebacker Davonte James admitted he was leaning toward Georgia Tech, until a return visit to Morgantown last weekend altered his college plans.

Davonte James

The 6-foot-3, 216-pounder committed to West Virginia on Friday night, becoming the Mountaineers’ 12th pledge for 2014 and the third defensive player.

James visited Georgia Tech last month and came away impressed by the campus and its city surroundings. But the relationship he developed with WVU defensive line coach Erik Slaughter ultimately swayed James to stay closer to home.

“James plays inside linebacker in high school but is being recruited at the Buck position by the Mountaineers,” said Rivals senior writer Keenan Cummings of WVSports.com. “His skill set will fit nicely into that role due to his athleticism to rush the passer and drop back into coverage. He has a knack for being around the ball.”

Scout recruiting analyst Kevin Kinder of BlueGoldNews.com offers this assessment:

“Davonte isn’t a flashy player who relies on speed or highlight plays to make his mark, however he has a lot of the attributes that define the term “football player,'” Kinder said. “He doesn’t get out of position, he fends off blocks well and tackles with excellent technique. Those things often get lost in the analysis of 40-yard dash times and sack totals, but they are what make him a very good prospect.


WVU’s current crop of Buck linebackers includes junior college newcomers Brandon Golson and d’Vante Henry, along with senior Dozie Ezemma and sophomore Garrett Hope.

“James will start out as a Buck linebacker in West Virginia’s defensive system, but he could easily grown into the Will or Sam spots on the inside,” Kinder said. “He’s already in the 225-pound range, so it would be easy to see him adding 10 to 15 pounds and making the switch. He’ll have to show that he can drop into pass coverage on the college level in order to be productive as an outside linebacker, but given his work ethic and attention to detail, he should be able to find a spot on the Mountaineers defense. That could take a year or two, but he’s the kind of solid performer that can be depended on to do things correctly.”

James becomes the third Ohio player committed to WVU for 2014, and the Mountaineers have extended offers to two other defensive end prospects from the Buckeye State—three-star Anthony Clark of Akron and three-star Louisville commitment Terry Ramsey of Clayton.

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  • Mountie

    We better start thinking about signing a few quarterbacks

  • wvrefugee

    215 lbs???????? WTF????

    • Mac

      215 in high school. He'll no doubt add some weight (muscle) when he hits the weight room at WVU.

  • Magic Mike

    Holgerson Big 12 mentallity. No defense it is going to be a rough year. Only 3 defensive recruits. The Big 12 needs to take a page out of the SEC and recruit defense.

    Speaking of SEC Alabama players are flashing cash on face book. Just google it and you will see.

  • big tom

    unless those last three recruits make it, our defense will really be short.
    all three were expected to contribute right away.... it's a real shame if they don't qualify.
    congrats of getting James, now the hard part is to make sure no one steals him away

  • Hillboy wv

    Wvu linebacking corps seem to be getting some attention and good players.

  • cutty77

    Fill this Team with 3 Stars Players,and we will do fine.

  • Keith

    We are the only group left that can still take a joke.

  • John weaver

    You people crack me up. Wvu fans always have a great sense of humor.

  • Hop'sHip

    This is giving me the habibie-jeebies.

  • Davy

    Because they knew someone would comment about it.

    • Keith

      Good one Dave.

    • Grant

      Just saying it is more accurate to say he is a four star player.

  • Grant

    This is a great pickup! He is also an ESPN 300 player, 4 star on Scout and 247, and ranked 7th best recruit in Ohio. Not sure why none of that was mentioned?

    • Wemakerain

      Rivals and ESPN lost most of their scouts to 247 last year. I feel 247 is most reliable anyways, so don't take a 3 star ranking personally.