There has been talks for months now about Miramar, Florida (and, more specifically, Miramar HS) being a pipeline to West Virginia University. With the likes of Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey, Ivan McCartney and more on board, it’s easy to see why.
Geno Smith and Miramar come in at No. 8 on the list.
Over the last few years – and possibly decade or two – it’s true that Miramar has been one of the best towns in America for the Mountaineers to find talent. How about through history, though? Can they stack up with some of the in-state towns of the old days? What about towns in Ohio and Pennsylvania?
Well, EerSports decided to do just that. We went back and looked at the available records and found the “hometowns” that have produced the highest quantity and quality of Mountaineers over the years. Before we delve into it, please keep in mind that these are the hometowns as listed by the official West Virginia stats site, WVUStats.com. If there are any issues with how a player is listed, take it up with them!
First up, are towns No. 10 through No. 6.
No. 10, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: Located about a half hour north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale is home to the original J.T. Thomas (222 tackles and six sacks in 1994, 1995) and J.T. Thomas Version 2.0 (235 tackles, 28 for loss and seven sacks from ’06-’10). They weren’t alone on the defensive side of the ball, as defensive linemen Steve Perkins (’92-94) and Jason Davis (’99-02) combined for 189 tackles, 24 for loss and 15 sacks. On offense, running back Undra Johnson (’85-88) led the way, finishing his career with 2,277 total yards and 23 touchdowns. Other letter winners include Tarris Alexander (LB, ’90-93), Grantis Bell (WR, ’85-88), Andrew Jones (DB, ’84-’87) and more.
No. 9, Wheeling, West Virginia: With an amazing 37 different players lettering for West Virginia at some point and led by Hall of Famer Chuck Howley (OL, ’55-57), Wheeling seemed like a sure bet to make the top five. The reason they were relegated to ninth is two-fold: first, the drop off from HOFer Chuck Howley to the next best player is considerable; and second, only two Wheeling natives have lettered (each for one year, neither a starter) in the last 40 years. Receiver Bob Dunlevy (’63-65) had 861 receiving yards and seven touchdowns; and running back Carl Norman (’51-54) totaled 1,322 yards and eight touchdowns. Other notable lettermen include Gerald Schultze (OL, ’70-72), Harry Sweeney (HB, ’51-54), Bernie Carney (DE, ’61-63) and more.
No. 8, Miramar, Florida: Some may be surprised to see “the Pipeline” this far down the list, but, this encompasses the entire history of Mountaineer football. Stuck in between these home state towns with 35+ lettermen is the Miami suburb with only two high schools. It has produced only five letter winners – all coming in the last few years – but it could include the greatest quarterback in Mountaineer history. First, Eain Smith (DB, ’08-11) and Josh Taylor (DL, ’09-11) got things started. Smith totaled 141 tackles, 10 pass breakups and two interceptions. Taylor added on 46 tackles, three sacks and an interception. Ivan McCartney (WR, ’10-current) may have disappointed some with how he faded down the stretch, but he did haul in 49 catches for 585 yards and three scores last year. Then there’s Stedman Bailey (WR, ’10-current) who hauled in 1,279 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns last year, both single-season records. He is on pace to shatter every career record for receivers, including anything Tavon Austin sets this year. Last, but not least, is Geno Smith (QB, ’09-current). In 2011, he set every single passing record in Mountaineer history. He’s already passed Marc Bulger for career completions and career passing touchdowns, and will pass him in every other conceivable career mark within the next couple games. Simply put, Miramar will have the best quarterback and best wide receiver in West Virginia history, along with several solid contributors.
No. 7, Parkersburg, West Virginia: Much like Wheeling, Parkersburg boasts an astounding 35 lettermen in Mountaineer history, led by a Hall of Famer – Ross McHenry. The city boasts a long history of linemen from HOFer McHenry (’24-26) to All-American Rick Phillips (’85-88) to current starting guard Josh Jenkins. That’s not all their known for, though. Early quarterback Robert “Pete” Barnum (’22-25) scored 13 touchdowns and kicked his own extra points (25 in three years) and tight end Clarence “Bud” Cox (’46-49) hauled in 567 yards and nine touchdowns in only two seasons. On the other side of the ball, defensive back Mike Scott was a ballhawk in the early 80’s, registering 121 tackles and seven interceptions from 1982 to 1984.
No. 6, Charleston, West Virginia: The state’s capital takes what Parkersburg and Wheeling did and went one step further, producing an astonishing fifty lettermen at West Virginia through the years, including two Hall of Famers in Tom Allman (RB, ’51-53) and Homer Martin (RB, ’19-21). Martin scored 19 TDs in his career, presumably all on the ground, although there’s no documented proof. For comparison’s sake, though, the first player to rush for 20 TD’s was Undra Johnson in 1988, almost 70 years later. Allman was no slouch, totaling 1,135 yards and 9 TDs on offense while also picking off five passes on defense. Much like Allman, Walter Easley (’76-80) was dominant on offense (1,931 total yards and 20 TDs) and just as good on defense (84 tackles in one year). Former four-year starter John Ray (OT, ’88-91) hailed from Charleston, as well as defensive back Rick Sherrod (’98-’01), who totaled 285 tackles, 17 pass breakups and four interceptions. Running back Jon Jones (’90-93) and his 1,486 total yards and 13 touchdowns are almost a footnote with this group.