When Neal Brown left Troy to take the head coaching job at West Virginia University, many UK football fans feared the Kentucky-native would raid the Commonwealth for recruits. He’s setup shop in Kentucky, while internationally expanding his recruiting efforts.
Brown’s first commitment as the Mountaineers head coach came from his hometown. Boyle County wide receiver Reese Smith pledged his allegiance to West Virginia two months after Brown was introduced as the head coach.
Brown has pursued a few other highly-touted recruits from the Commonwealth, but he’s looking farther away to bring in talent. Last month Jairo Faverus committed to the Mountaineers. The cornerback from Great Britain announced his decision shortly after his group from Premier Players International worked out for coaches in Morgantown. Sports Illustrated profiled this interesting development on the recruiting trail.
The staff is serious enough about international recruiting that Brown plans to send an assistant coach on a recruiting trip to Amsterdam and Germany this winter. The only issue is selecting which of the 10 assistants gets a free trip overseas. “They’re all clamoring for it,” (director of player personnel Brian) Bennett laughs. West Virginia isn’t the only program dabbling in the overseas market for players. Michigan, Temple, Penn State, Ohio State, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Boise State, Colorado and Arizona have all shown interest in or signed international players.
The latest college football recruiting trend is not passing by Mark Stoops. UK found its last two punters in Australia. This spring Kentucky received a verbal commitment from Canadian defensive tackle Lamar Goods, but unfortunately, they were a little late to the party. Following an official visit to Gainesville, Goods committed to the Gators, the first school that offered him.
As college football’s growth reaches new heights, the recruiting game will extend to new territories. It won’t be long before there are British blokes filling sidelines across the country.