High School Football

Cornerback pledge begins WVU’s late-cycle emphasis on jucos

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two-star cornerback Elijah Battle’s commitment Sunday became the first in a series of junior-college recruits anticipated to join West Virginia’s rebuilding defense.

The 6-foot, 190-pounder played at Dodge City (Kan.) Community College, about a three-hour drive from where the Mountaineers lost their regular-season finale to Kansas State on Saturday.

Rivals reported that Dana Holgorsen and cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell visited Battle on Sunday. Not long after Battle became West Virginia’s 23rd commitment for 2016. He was an honorable-mention All-Jayhawk Conference this season.

With competing offers include Arizona, Houston, Southern Miss and UNLV, battle is expected to join up to 11 midterm enrollees in Morgantown.

Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson told MetroNews last week that West Virginia—faced with losing 10 seniors on the defensive two-deep—would heavily emphasize juco recruiting the next two months. Two Lackawanna College players, tight end Trevon Wesco and defensive back Kyzir White, previously committed.

“It’s going to be a big year for us in junior college. We’ve got to have guys that we can plug in and go with right away,” Gibson said. “We may take a juco guy at linebacker, and the rest of it is all junior college DBs.”

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