The West Virginia Mountaineers made up for the early departure of star receiver Stedman Bailey for the NFL on the recruiting trail Wednesday with the news that 2013 Cleveland (OH) Cleveland Heights wide receiver Shelton Gibson has committed to the Mountaineers.
The 5-11, 175-pound Gibson, who was a 2013 US Army All-American, is a consensus four-star prospects ranked as a top-10 player in the state of Ohio and the no. 16 receiver nationally by the 247Sports composite rankings.
Offers poured in from all over the country for Gibson, who visited Ohio State three times in the last three and a half months. However, it appears that the Buckeyes had backed off of the speedy playmaker in recent days after he visited Ohio St. last weekend. It's not clear exactly why Ohio State might have done so, though remaining space is getting tight in the class.
So, how did the Mountaineers land the big-time prospect? Through a lot of hard work:
With Bailey gone, as well as Tavon Austin, there should be plenty of playing time available next season in Morgantown for Gibson, who could fit well in the slot role former occupied by Austin, as Gibson is also capable in the perimeter run game that was part of why Austin was so dangerous. The opportunity to get the ball early and often likely weighed heavily in Gibson's decision as well.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers now have 23 pledges in the 2013 class, which is ranked 36th in the country after landing Gibson. Among those commits (and signees), there are two wide receiver commits, two all-purpose backs who could see time at receiver, and one athlete who could end up at the position.