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Pledges from 2 juco All-Americans highlight recruiting weekend

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In the final weekend before national signing day, West Virginia landed commitments from two junior-college All-Americans, massive offensive tackle Craig Smith and 1,600-yard rusher Justin Crawford.

The Mountaineers’ class now stands at 24 commitments, ranked 42nd nationally by Rivals, with several key targets planning to announce Wednesday.

The 6-foot-7, 330-pound Smith flipped his commitment from South Florida early Sunday while visiting Morgantown. He topped 380 pounds as a high school player at Royal Palm Beach, Fla., where he signed with Florida A&M in 2013 before failing to qualify.

He emerged during a productive sophomore season at Tyler (Texas) Junior College, drawing offers from Louisiana Tech, UCF, UAB, Louisiana-Lafayette and Akron.

Rivals senior writer Keenan Cummings reported the two-star Smith is scheduled to graduate from junior college in May before reporting to West Virginia for summer workouts.

MORE: Juco OT Craig Smith’s 2015 highlight film

With early enrollees Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettway on campus, running back wasn’t a need for West Virginia until Big 12 rushing leader Wendell Smallwood announced Jan. 6 he was entering the draft. Assistant coach JaJuan Seider quickly turned his focus toward Crawford, the NJCAA offensive player of the year after leading Northwest Mississippi Community College to an 11-1 record and the national championship.

Crawford ran for 3,161 yards and 30 touchdowns over two seasons at Northwest, making 268 carries for 1,610 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore. He added 29 receptions for 394 yards and six touchdowns.

He committed to Louisville out of Hardaway High in Columbus, Ga., where he was too old to play as a senior in 2014. After coach Charlie Strong left Louisville for Texas, Crawford decommitted and enrolled in junior college.

Crawford told Rivals this week’s choice boiled down to West Virginia over Missouri, though he held offers from South Carolina and Ole Miss and had been scheduled to visit Texas A&M.

“Crawford is a true all-purpose back and has the ability to step in and start at WVU,” Cummings said. “He will likely battle incumbent Rushel Shell for the bulk of the carries in 2016.

Highlights from Crawford’s sophomore season:

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