Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Four-star knows five schools for next cut
By Jared Shanker
The next line of cuts are coming for four-star athlete Juwann Winfree (Englewood, N.J./Dwight Morrow), and he has a good idea of who will be moving on.
Winfree said he could cut his list in the next few days and knows five of the schools that are going to make it through. Weekend visits to NC State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia have those three schools safely in, and future Big Ten programs Maryland and Rutgers have impressed the 6-foot-2, 180-pound receiver/cornerback.
NC State is a team Winfree has not talked about previously, but the Wolfpack are now a legitimate threat.
“The school stuck out to me the most. Their dorm was great, and they said even the seniors stay at the dorm because it’s like a hotel,” Winfree said. “All the coaches are cool. I’m trying to build a relationship with [assistant Eddie] Faulkner.”
Receivers coach Frisman Jackson, who spent a few seasons in the NFL, sat down with Winfree for a long discussion about what he can do for his career. Winfree was all ears as Jackson showed him how the Wolfpack would use him as a receiver but also put the ball in his hands on reverses and sweeps.
A return visit to Pitt came next for Winfree, who was equally impressed with the Panthers’ receivers coach. Bobby Engram, who helped reel in Tyler Boyd in February, is Pitt’s top recruiter and had a long NFL career. He also was the inaugural Biletnikoff Award winner in 1994 while at Penn State.
“He’s great, young too, and he connects with me,” Winfree said. “I sat down with [Engram] and the head coach [Paul Chryst] and they showed how they plan on using me.”
Backyard Brawl rival West Virginia was the last to host Winfree on his two-day trip, and while he did not see the campus, he got a tour of the facilities. He was blown away with what the Mountaineers have to offer their football players.
“It was amazing and getting to see how they live up there and how everything is one facility, it’s pretty nice,” Winfree said. “They’re building a new weight room, too.”
While Winfree is not ranking teams in any specific order just yet, one team that has to be considered at least among the early favorites is Rutgers. Winfree has made several trips to the Piscataway campus, the last for the Scarlet Knights’ spring game.
During all of those visits to Rutgers, Winfree has built a strong relationship with the staff and recruiter Dave Cohen.
“How comfortable I am with all of the players and the staff,” Winfree said is what stands out most about Rutgers. “I speak with them a lot.”
Maryland is a team Winfree often finds himself rooting for, and one of his favorite players is Stefon Diggs, who was one of the top players in the country as a freshman in 2012. The staff is selling Winfree on being the complement to Diggs in 2014 and then the star receiver once Diggs departs, which could be after his junior season.
Winfree said he is pretty settled on playing receiver in college, but he will play both ways as a senior and then will make a final decision on a position at the end of the season.