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With running back Constant out of the picture, where will WVU turn?

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s 2020 football recruiting class suffered a jolt over the weekend when running back Lamy Constant announced on Twitter that he was opening up his commitment.

Constant, previously a four-star recruit, had committed to the Mountaineers just a month prior and was seen as one of the biggest fish in Neal Brown’s first signing class.

Multiple sources have indicated that the decision to move on was mutual, and indeed more on West Virginia’s end. Among other factors, dropped Constant to a three-star prospect following an underwhelming senior season.

As a junior, Constant ran for 1,087 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games. His production dropped off considerably this year, when he rushed for 422 yards and four touchdowns in seven games according to New York City’s Public Schools Athletic League website.

Specifics aside, an important reality remains: the Mountaineers are down to 14 commits with early signing day looming on Dec. 18, and are now in the market for a running back.

Brown alluded to West Virginia’s need at the position in his season-ending press conference last Friday.

“We’ve got to do a better job finishing runs at running back,” Brown said. “We have to do better in space at running back. We can get a little better than that. But we’ve got to recruit guys that can compete for playing time. The more competition you have in the room, the more push there is to get everyone better. We’ve got to get some bigger, more explosive guys in that room.”

At the moment, the spotlight is primarily on junior college running back La’Damian Webb. Webb is a freshman at Jones (Miss.) Junior College. The 5-foot-8, 195-pound back signed with Mississippi State in December 2017, but as reported by Rivals’ Keenan Cummings he did not qualify because his ACT score was flagged.

Webb had 940 rushing yards for 10 touchdowns and 151 receiving yards for two touchdowns in nine games this season and was named a second team NJCAA all-American.

He was undoubtedly on the radar yet out of reach for Brown’s Troy coaching staff when he was in high school, where he was named Alabama Mr. Football at Beauregard High in Opelika, Ala.

As a junior, Webb rushed for 359 yards and five touchdowns in Alabama’s Class 5A state championship game — both state records. His video-game numbers for that season added up to 3,242 yards and 47 touchdowns on 311 carries.

West Virginia’s ace-in-the-hole in Webb’s recruitment is defensive line coach Jordan Lesley, who spent five seasons coaching at Mississippi junior colleges and remains well-connected in the region.

However, Webb is not expected to make his decision until February’s signing day. He took an official visit to Ole Miss this weekend despite the fact new coach Lane Kiffin had yet to arrive in Oxford as the Rebels’ new head coach or assemble a full coaching staff. To this point, that has been Webb’s only official visit.

Based on West Virginia’s list of uncommitted running back offers, things could get a bit dicey should the Mountaineers miss on Webb in February. If that ends up being the case, the NCAA transfer portal may become the most likely means for adding to a position of need next season.

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