MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In search of defensive backs during the recruiting homestretch, West Virginia gained commitments from two safety prospects Saturday.
Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College’s Toyous Avery, after recently decommitting from Colorado State, pledged to the Mountaineers and reportedly canceled an upcoming visit to Missouri.
Within minutes of that announcement, West Virginia also received a commitment from JoVanni Stewart of Katy, Texas—the same high school program that produced Jordan Thompson.
Rated a two-star prospect by Rivals, the 6-foot, 200-pound Avery made five interceptions and 69 tackles this season as a junior college redshirt freshman. He holds offers from Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas State, Southern Miss and South Alabama, and has three years of eligibility remaining.
Coming out of Newton, Ga., in 2014, Avery was lightly recruited after a shoulder injury cut short his senior high school season. The Mountaineers staff envisions Avery at strong safety, where Karl Joseph has graduated and Jarrod Harper is entering his senior season.
Avery was among the first players visited by new safeties coach Matt Caponi, who officially joined the staff Jan. 13.
Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson took the lead on Stewart, who becomes the fifth FBS commitment off a dominant defense that led Katy to the Texas 6A Division II large-class state championship.
Stewart was a reliable playmaker in run support despite being only 5-10, 190 pounds. Recruiting analysts like his productivity and said a lack of size hurt his ranking. He holds offers from Air Force, Bowling Green, Army, New Mexico State, UT-San Antonio and UTEP, with Purdue and Utah having shown interest.
West Virginia has four safeties committed for the 2016 class, including early enrollee Dylan Tonkery of Bridgeport and four-star Lackawanna (P.) College standout Kyzir White, who’s being courted by USC and Penn State.
With 23 commitments, the Mountaineers’ class is ranked 43rd nationally by Rivals and sixth in the Big 12.