MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia is shifting its 2019 quarterback search after Brian Maurer committed to Tennessee on Wednesday.
The Mountaineers were Maurer’s first Power Five offer 13 months ago, while Tennessee’s surfaced only last week.
Texas A&M and Ohio State also offered recently, but the 6-foot-4 three-star prospect from Ocala, Fla., told media that UCF was his runner-up choice.
Maurer’s recruitment surged this month after earning a spot in Nike’s Elite 11. That landed the 6-foot-4 three-star prospect in The Opening finals this weekend in Frisco, Texas, where Maurer said he’ll be recruiting for the Vols.
“I just want to get the best group that wants to be in Tennessee,” he told 247Sports. “I’d tell them, ‘I’m an Elite 11 quarterback,’ you know. One of the best quarterbacks in the nation, why not come catch from me?”
West Virginia has offered six quarterbacks for 2019 — five of whom committed elsewhere. Sam Howell chose Florida State, Zach Calzada picked Texas A&M, Connor Bazelak pledged to Missouri and Garrett Shrader committed to Mississippi State.
The one still available is Michael Johnson, Jr., a four-star dual-threat prospect from Eugene, Ore. He previously visited Florida State, Penn State and N.C. State and holds offers from 29 Power Five programs, including Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Florida, Miami, Washington and TCU.
An offer could be coming for Brendan Clark of Midlothian, Va., who recently recommitted from Wake Forest amid offers from Notre Dame, Clemson and Maryland.
Rivals writer Keenan Cummings projects WVU remains hopeful of signing two quarterbacks in this class, though the pool of best-available high school prospects isn’t deep.
“This is really weak year nationally for quarterbacks — one of the worst in a long time,” Cummings said. “There’s only a handful of guys that are highly coveted. There’s not a lot of difference-makers. Even a guy like Maurer, I’m not sure he’s a difference-maker, but he’s a solid quarterback.”
“I think they probably take a junior college/transfer guy and maybe a developmental high school guy.”
Given the amount of time invested in pursuing Maurer, how much did losing his commitment sting?
“The answer to that question won’t come until we see what West Virginia gets,” Cummings said. “You go back to 2009 and people were freaking out when West Virginia lost Tajh Boyd, but they wound up feeling pretty comfortable getting Geno Smith.”
“It always hurts from a time standpoint, and Maurer is a guy West Virginia put a lot of effort into. Now they’re scrambling and they have to pick up the board and look at what else is out there.”