New Jersey Linebacker Picks WVU

Inside linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton, a three-star prospect rated as one of the top defensive players in New Jersey, has committed to West Virginia, his high school coach Darnell Grant told the Newark Star-Ledger.

“I think it’s a perfect fit,” Grant told the newspaper. “West Virginia is going in the right direction and they need help defensively. They need impact players on the defense and that’s exactly what he is — an impact player.”

Grant told last month that Benton made the Mountaineers his front-runner based upon “the intensity of how West Virginia is recruiting him.” The coach said his two-way player appreciated the way West Virginia was “making him feel like he’s a priority.”

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Benton, who also plays running back, chose WVU over Arizona State, Pitt, Syracuse, Maryland and Georgia Tech. He visited Morgantown for the Sept. 28 game against Baylor.

“Benton is a physically ready, athletic linebacker that has been a tackling machine during his four years in high school,” said writer Keenan Cummings of “From what he’s told me, he expects to begin his career at the Star linebacker position and move inside as he adds weight. I do expect he’ll have every opportunity to contribute early in his career.

“Credit quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital here as the lead recruiter, but co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson also played a vital role — especially on the visit, detailing how the Mountaineers would use Benton in the 3-4 scheme.”

Benton becomes West Virginia’s 16th commitment for 2013.

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