MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For the second time in 48 hours West Virginia landed a commitment from an Aliquippa (Pa.) High School defensive standout.
Rivals.com two-star defensive tackle Jaleel Fields chose the Mountaineers over Purdue and Cincinnati on Wednesday, following in the footsteps of four-star safety Dravon Henry’s announcement from Monday.
The 6-foot-1, 296-pound Fields became WVU’s 18th commitment for the 2014 signing class and its seventh defensive player. He projects as a first-year redshirt with Christian Brown and Darrien Howard returning at nose tackle and Dana Holgorsen’s staff pursuing junior college defensive linemen to plug in next season.
“Fields is very quick off the ball and has a great motor, so much so in fact that he has run down ballcarriers 20 yards downfield on occasions,” said Rivals writer Keenan Cummings of WVSports.com. “He stays low and has good enough strength on the high school level, but will need to continue to develop that aspect once he arrives in Morgantown.”
HENRY JOINS ‘SPORTSLINE’
Henry was a guest Wednesday night on MetroNews “Statewide Sportsline” and said he received an early heads-up from Fields regarding the announcement.
“Jaleel, he told me around 9 o’clock that he was coming to West Virginia and I was so excited,” Henry said. “He’s a hard player, a good student, a good player to coach and I can’t wait to get on the field with him at the next level.”
WVU safeties coach Tony Gibson, who spearheaded the recruitment of both Aliquippa players, made a lasting impression on Henry.
“Me and Coach Gibson, we made a great connection and a great friendship,” Henry said. “He was one of the main reasons I wound up going to West Virginia.
“Just hearing him talk to me and my mom was great. Hearing him talk felt like a big relief was off my shoulders. And the players I talked to said he was a great man, a great family man.”
Though Henry ran for more than 5,000 yards in his Aliquippa career, the elite programs are pursuing him as a defensive back, figuring he can play safety or cornerback.
“I loved running the ball in high school, but you’ve got to chase your dream, so I guess defense is for me,” Henry said. “I’m a speed guy and I’ll come up and hit you, but obviously every player has something he needs to work on and that’s up to Coach Gibson to find out.”