WVU Lands 1.5 Top Recruits Despite Cincy Debacle

Frank AhrensSenior Writer INovember 10, 2008

ESPN is reporting tonight that even though highly-recruited quarterback Eugene Smith from Miramar, Fla., and his favorite target and teammate, wide receiver Stedman Bailey, both attended Saturday night’s loss to Cincinnati, they committed to come play at WVU.

Smith, who evidently goes by Gino, is the sixth-rated quarterback in the 2009 recruiting class. He takes the place of quarterback Taj Boyd, who decommitted to WVU following its dismal offensive showing in the victory over Syracuse.

Boyd, by the way, was the nation’s eighth-rated quarterback in the 2009 class. So WVU traded up AND doesn’t have to deal with Taj Boyd’s “daddy,” as Coach Bill Stewart referred to him, intimating that he wanted to call plays for his son at WVU.

Here’s what ESPNU has to say about the 6-foot-3, 171-pound Smith, who had 35 scholarship offers, including those from Florida, Alabama and Florida State, and threw for 2,222 yards and 25 touchdowns in his junior season:

“At first glance, a live arm and a quick release are Smith's most impressive tools. He is a dual-threat quarterback who has delivered consistent production as a pass-first, run-second player. Has outstanding upside. Possesses adequate height and a good build. Has outstanding mobility and very good speed.

He's a threat to run and shows good elusiveness in the open field. Gets set quickly and makes good coverage reads during his drops. Shows the feet and change-of-direction skills to consistently buy second-chance passing opportunities. Possesses outstanding arm strength and can make all of the throws in college. Shows great zip on the deep out route and can drive the ball vertically. Has an awesome delivery, with great snap. He's able to fit the ball into tight spots downfield. Shows great arm strength when passing on the move and can complete throws across his body and when off balance. Can be accurate when he sets his feet. Flashes the ability to lead receivers.

Gets hot and his production soars when he gets into a rhythm. Has very good footwork and drop speed. Splits his time between playing in shotgun formations and taking snaps from under center, which is a plus. Has had to work through progressions while on the move. Flashes good timing and plant-and-deliver on routes down the seam and outside of the numbers.

Has adequate ball skills, play fakes and overall mechanics, but he still is somewhat raw and unpolished. Strong-armed, athletic and ultracompetitive, Smith is an exciting prospect who can beat a defense in a number of ways.”

Bailey is the classic come-along in the package deal with the blue-chip recruit. He’s good -- he’s the 48th-rated wide receiver in the 2009 class -- but nowhere near as highly regarded as Smith.

Here's what ESPNU has to say about the 5-foot-11, 186-pound Bailey:

"Among others, Bailey has offers from South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Rutgers and Florida International.

Bailey caught 48 passes for 1,032 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.

This dude catches everything thrown his way.

Bailey is one of those receivers that you really begin to like because he shows versatility as a route runner, he can play inside or outside, he has good quickness and run after catch skills and he is tough. An athletically gifted slot receiver type.

Possesses good speed, but we would not call him a jet.

Tracks the ball well and flashes the ability to get behind the defense. Changes directions well, uses quick feet to set defenders up and is a solid route runner that could become an excellent one. Appears to understand spacing and is adept at finding passing windows. Is tough and will fight for the ball on underneath routes. Knows how to get open. He is a shifty and quick open-field runner.

Plucks on the move with ease, will extend away from his frame. Shows excellent body control for a smaller wide receiver and he can adjust to balls thrown poorly around him. Has excellent sideline awareness on deep routes and can track the over-the-shoulder ball well.

Bailey isn't very big or strong and could get bounced around in press if he doesn't win with quickness off the line. Is not going to be much of a red-zone threat due to his height. Overall, Bailey competes hard and is tough. He works at getting open and he is extremely reliable. Very good prospect."

Looks like Logan Heastie, teammate of that deserter, Boyd, is still the top-rated wide receiver still committed to WVU.

But that’s fine. Remember: Starting defensive end Scooter Berry was a come-along with blue-chipper half-brother Jason Gwaltney, who failed out of WVU and just failed out of C.W. Post. He’s looking like Maurice Clarett without the Kevlar vest and lint brush.