MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In search of cornerbacks for its 2019 class, West Virginia landed a commitment from one Sunday when three-star Georgia prospect Nicktroy Fortune gave his verbal.
At 6-foot and 165 pounds, Fortune listed Georgia Tech, Virginia, Iowa State, Rutgers and Georgia State among his finalists. He also holds offers from Kansas State, Wisconsin, Louisville, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Washington State.
The Mountaineers became frontrunners last month when Fortune arrived for an unofficial visit.
“As soon as I was driving through West Virginia, the mountains really caught my eye,” he said. “I’m a nature guy, so I was like, ‘Yo, this is nice.’
“The facilities also impressed me and I was able to click with Coach Belk.”
WVU cornerbacks coach Doug Belk carries some homestate swag in Georgia, having played high school ball in Valdosta and later coaching at Division II Valdosta State.
“I feel like there’s a real big connection with Coach Belk,” said Fortune, who plays at Central Gwinnett High in Lawrenceville, Ga., a half-hour northeast of Atlanta.
Fortune said he anticipates taking only one official visit this fall, to West Virginia. The date for that hasn’t been finalized because Central Gwinnett’s Week 3 bye falls on the same weekend that WVU meets Tennessee in Charlotte, N.C.
Entering his senior season, Fortune is emphasizing “being smarter and more smooth on the field.”
And what about the unusual name Nicktroy?
“My aunt came up with that,” he said. “My mom told me they were sitting there when my aunt came up with Nick and Troy, so she put it together and they all agreed on it.”
He becomes the Mountaineers’ eighth overall commitment for 2019, and the third from Georgia following Savannah athlete Winston Wright and Stone Mountain receiver Deshon Stoudemire. Fortune is the cycle’s first cornerback pledge, with WVU hoping to sign at least two more.
Four-star prospect of Marlin Devonshire of Aliquippa, Pa., has long been a priority for the Mountaineers, who are in a battle against Pitt and several Big Ten schools, including Ohio State. Rivals three-star cornerback Joey Porter, Jr., the son of the former Steelers star, is generating lots of interest at Pittsburgh’s North Allegheny High, with offers from the likes of LSU and Penn State and Miami.
Belk also is recruiting three more Georgia cornerbacks — Dequanteous Watts of Atlanta, Emmanuel Jenkins of Canton and Tavian Mayo of Leesburg — along with Charleston Capital’s Kerry Martin, whose only other Power 5 offer is Rutgers, according to Rivals.
Five months from college football’s early signing period, West Virginia’s class sits 64th in the Rivals rankings, and only six Power 5 programs currently have fewer commitments. But this time last year, WVU also had only eight commitments and subsequently brought in a 24-member class that ranked 33rd overall.