- Tom Luginbill, RecruitingNation
West Virginia has two major college football programs in the state -- the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown and the Marshall Thundering Herd in Huntington. Yet year in and year out, the state of West Virginia has very few top Division I prospects to recruit within the state. Charleston included, there really isn't any major city to speak of within the state, and most of the high school football is being played in rural areas with low enrollment.
As a result, both Marshall and West Virginia battle each other for the top two or three players in the state and are then forced to fill their scholarship needs with kids out of Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Maryland, just to name a few. Chad Pennington, former Marshall quarterback and current New York Jets starter, is from Tennessee. Jacksonville Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich, also a former Herd player, is out of Washington, D.C.
A few years back, one of the best quarterbacks on the East Coast was J.R. House out of Charleston. He chose to play baseball instead, but is now enrolled at West Virginia and is a 25-year-old freshman trying to revive his career in football.
West Virginia University and Marshall often fight over the state of West Virginia's best recruits.