Wide receiver verbals
by Jim Buzzerd
Last month West Virginia University 2021 football target, wide receiver J.J. Jones, narrowed his list to five schools and West Virginia was not among them. Jones plays for Myrtle Beach High school which is an area that WVU rarely recruits. Jones was a target because his father, Jon, played for the Mountaineers. When Jones omitted West Virginia from his final five schools it became apparent that his legacy status was the only reason he was considering WVU in the first place.
Scuttlebutt at the time was that the WVU staff was not surprised at Jones’ decision. No doubt WVU would have gladly accepted the four star recruit’s commitment, it was one they weren’t counting on. Some have said Jones was rated third among the wide receivers on WVU’s board. One of those is Kaden Prather, a 6-3, 210 lb. receiver from Northwest High school in Germantown, Maryland. Prather, who has a very impressive offer list, committed to the Mountaineers last Saturday.
Penn State was considered to be the favorite to win this recruiting battle, largely because of the relationship he developed with former Penn State assistant Gerad Parker. Head coach Neal Brown hired Parker in January and gave him the title of offensive coordinator. Penn State remained in the mix for Prather, but the original relationship with Parker, plus the ability of the rest of the Mountaineer staff to relate to high school athletes, won Prather over.
“I think the thing that drew him there the most was the coaching staff,” Northwestern coach Mike Neubeiser said. “He just has a really good rapport with the guys there. He and coach Parker were tight when Parker was at Penn State. When he went to West Virginia, they stayed pretty tight. “I think that is the big thing. I think he feels good about him, he trusts him. I think he trusts coach Brown a lot. He seems very genuine.”
What remains is to see if Prather can graduate early and be on campus for next spring’s semester. His high school coach can’t predict the outcome on that, but he’s confident Prather will be a force from the first day.
“I think his speed and his size and strength and his attention to detail … he is very coachable,” Neubeiser said. “Physically, it won’t be a huge adjustment for him whereas some kids, when they get to school, they need to get bigger and stronger to catch up. I think he will fit right in from Day 1 physically.”
That is likely a factor why Prather had over 40 offers to play college football, and these weren’t run of the mill offers. He narrowed his top five down to WVU, Maryland, Oklahoma, Penn State and South Carolina. Prather’s offer list is deep and impressive, containing the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.