PARKERSBURG -Two Parkersburg High School football players have received offers to play for West Virginia University.
On Monday, running back Allan Wasonga and lineman Justin Johnson -both of whom will be seniors for the Big Reds this fall -were offered by WVU head coach Bill Stewart to become part of the Mountaineer recruiting class for the 2011 season, said Mark McCullough, a long-time PHS assistant coach who guides Big Red players through the recruiting process.
Wasonga is a 5-foot-9, 196-pound running back who was named the West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year after rushing for 2,203 yards and scoring 28 rushing touchdowns for the Big Reds last fall.
Following the fall season, he was invited to attend the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Combine for junior players conducted in San Antonio, Texas. Of the 500 juniors who attended, Wasonga ran the sixth-fastest time in the 40-yard dash as he was clocked in 4.53 seconds.
Wasonga, a first team all-state selection and the runnerup for the Kennedy Award, West Virginia's high school version of the Heisman Trophy, previously had received official offers from Michigan and Ohio University.
When McCullough informed Wasonga he had been offered by WVU, "I've never seen Allan so excited,'' McCullough said. "He looked at me and said, 'Coach, when I go up?'''
McCullough is aware of the constant Internet chatter that Wasonga will end up at Ohio State, the alma mater of his father, Willis Wasonga. But Allan Wasonga has said in past interviews he will be looking at where he best fits in and which school will offer him the best opportunity to play.
WVU's offer, the third to come Wasonga's way, won't be his last. His performance at the San Antonio combine has him on the radar of virtually every major college program in America. McCullough said UCLA, for example, is highly interested in Wasonga and has been recruiting him since day one.
Johnson is a 6-3, 300-pound lineman who specializes in offense but also can play defense when he is needed. He previously had received offers from Ohio University and Marshall.
Should he sign with WVU, he would become the third member of his family to become a part of the Mountaineer program. Two of his brothers already are in Morgantown, where Paul Johnson serves as a graduate assistant coach and Josh Jenkins will be a junior member of the Mountaineer offensive line, where he is entrenched as a starter.
WVU beat out the likes of Ohio State and Michigan for the services of Josh Jenkins. Now, it may once again be butting heads with those schools and several others for the services of Wasonga and Johnson.
Whoever becomes the next football coach at Parkersburg High School likely will be seeing a lot of major college football coaches visit their locker room this fall.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org