MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A late addition to West Virginia’s camp July 25, Missouri offensive line prospect Chase Behrndt impressed coaches enough that day to earn an offer.
Less than four weeks later, Berndt became the newest commitment to the Mountaineers’ 2016 class Wednesday, spurning schools like Pitt, Indiana and Syracuse that had been recruiting him far longer.
“This was one of Pitt’s top offensive line targets and West Virginia swooped in late,” said Rivals writer Keenan Cummings, who first reported Berndt’s pledge for WVSports.com.
“Less than month ago he didn’t even have an offer from West Virginia. Then he comes to visit on a camp tour and WVU was able to get him over schools that offered him really early in the process. Now it’s even more surprising that he says he’s not planning to take any official visits.”
The 6-foot-4, 295-pound guard from Lafayette High in Wildwood, Mo., is ranked a three-star prospect by Rivals. (Scout lists him as the 46th-best guard prospect in the nation and 247 Sports ranks him 54th at his position.) He’s also one of Missouri’s top wrestlers, having reached the Class 5A state final despite recovering from a knee injury.
He said last month that Pitt coaches projected him at center. That’s also a position of need for West Virginia, which has junior Tyler Orlosky as the starter with senior Stone Underwood backing up.
“He’s a guy who can move around, and he says he can even play tackle,” Cummings said. “But he’ll probably be playing inside the way his body is.”
Behrndt, who earned an MVP award at the West Virginia camp that featured more than 200 players, becomes the Mountaineers’ fourth offensive line commitment in the 2016 class.
“I think the only way they may take another lineman is if a big-time tackle falls into their laps, or if they take a junior college guy late,” Cummings said.
Potential junior college prospects are four-star Iowa Western Community College tackle Na’Ty Rodgers and three-str Dodge City (Kan.) Community College center Chris Gaynor. And even though a flip looks unlikely, the Mountaineers haven’t closed the door on Florida State commitment Josh Ball, the four-star high school tackle from Fredericksburg, Md.