MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia, some 19 months after becoming the first program to offer four-star prospect Kwantel Raines, landed a commitment from the elite safety Monday night.
An impact defender at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds from Aliquippa, Pa., his pledge raised the Mountaineers’ 2018 recruiting class four spots to No. 18 in the Rivals national rankings. West Virginia has never finished higher than 25th since Rivals began tracking team rankings in 2001.
Raines stars for the same high school that produced West Virginia junior safety Dravon Askew-Henry, and the two could be college teammates next season. That connection, combined with the recruiting of defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, helped WVU land the nation’s 19th-rated safety and No. 224 prospect overall.
Showing the physicality to play the Spur position currently manned by senior Kyzir White, Raines also possesses the athleticism to become a rangy, downhill bandit safety.
After taking unofficial visits to West Virginia, Pitt, Penn State and Florida, Raines made an official visit to Morgantown for the Oklahoma State game. Following Monday night’s ceremony, he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Gibson’s honesty about having to earn playing time struck a chord.
“(Other schools) told me I could start right away,” Raines said. “I didn’t figure that was real.”
He also holds offers from a spate of Power 5 schools including LSU, Virginia Tech, TCU, Michigan State, South Carolina, Louisville, Cal, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
Raines told Rivals writer Keenan Cummings that he likely was finished taking visits: “I think this is a done deal.”
For now, Raines’ attention turns to winning a state championship as his Aliquippa team stands 10-0 entering the postseason.
He became West Virginia’s 19th commitment and its third in the secondary.
West Virginia’s commitments for 2018:
|Dante Stills (Fairmont, W.Va..)||6-4, 265||DL||4 stars|
|Kwantel Raines (Aliquippa, Pa.)||6-3, 200||DB||4 stars|
|Leddie Brown (Smyrna, Del.)||6-1, 190||RB||4 stars|
|T.J. Banks (North Versailles, Pa.)||6-6, 240||TE/DE||4 stars|
|Joshua Norwood (Senatobia, Miss)||5-11, 185||DB||3 stars|
|Charlie Benton (El Dorado, Kan.)||6-3, 215||LB||3 stars|
|Randy Fields (Baltimore, Md.)||6-3, 190||WR||3 stars|
|Trey Lowe (Bolivar, Tenn.)||6-3, 175||QB||3 stars|
|Briason Mays (Bolivar, Tenn.)||6-4, 290||OL||3 stars|
|James Gmiter (Bethel Park, Pa.)||6-4, 300||DT||3 stars|
|Sam James (Richmond, Hill, Ga.)||6-1, 160||WR||3 stars|
|Mike O’Laughlin (Oak Park, Ill.)||6-5, 215||TE||3 stars|
|Tyrese Allen (Paintsville, Ky.)||6-3, 290||DT||3 stars|
|Josh Chandler (Canton, Ohio)||6-0, 220||LB||2 stars|
|Blaine Scott (Portsmouth, Ohio)||6-4, 299||OL||3 stars|
|Jayce Rogers (Valdosta, Ga.)||5-8, 160||CB||3 stars|
|Oyenmwen Uzebu (Alpharetta, Ga.)||6-6, 300||OL||3 stars|
|Bryce Wheaton (Holly Springs, N.C.)||6-3, 200||ATH||3 stars|
|Alex Williams (Pickerington, Ohio)||6-7, 240||DE||3 stars|