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Grantham, college football playoffs and underclassmen

Ye olde notebook:

  • Donte Grantham, one of the Mountain State's most highly sought basketball recruits of late, is apparently ready to make his college choice.
  • The former Martinsburg High Bulldog said on his Twitter account that today would be the day. Reports say he's choosing between his final choices of Michigan and Clemson.

    It's the next chapter in what's already been a winding road for the 6-foot-7, 200-pound small forward.

    After leading the 26-2 Bulldogs to the last Class AAA championship, Grantham won the Evans Award, symbolic of the state's player of the year. WVU's Bob Huggins went after the player - and seemingly had Grantham locked up.

    Grantham had expressed a love for the Mountaineers and a nice relationship with Huggins' assistant Ron Everhart. The forward visited WVU on April 2.

    Then the letter-of-intent signing day on April 16 came and went. Frustrated, Huggins waited. Then, on May 6, I asked the Mountaineer coach if he was still recruiting the Bulldog.

    "No," was his simple, terse answer.

    Grantham apparently wished to wait for offers other than those placed on the table by WVU, Marshall and Clemson. We learned Grantham would take his talents to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, where ex-MU player A.W. Hamilton coaches.

    And more offers did roll in. Cincinnati, Connecticut, Maryland, Miami, Penn State, Texas and Xavier, among others, offered. Then, last month, one from ex-WVU and current Michigan coach John Beilein rolled in as well.

    The early basketball signing period, by the way, begins Nov. 13.

  • Another note in regard to Mountain State hoops: Huggins has officially offered a scholarship to junior Esa Ahmad of Shaker Heights, Ohio, which is a suburb of Cleveland.
  • In addition to WVU, Miami and Xavier have offered and Michigan and Michigan State are in on him as well. Ahmad is a 6-7, 222-pound forward in the Da'Sean Butler mold.

  • I find it encouraging that WVU athletic director Oliver Luck is a target for the College Football Playoff committee, which will select the four teams to play for the national title after the 2014 season.
  • It's not encouraging to me because Luck is in the Mountain State. It's encouraging because he's very knowledgeable about football. He's been a college quarterback. He's been a professional quarterback. He's run professional franchises and even a league.

    It's my hope the committee will be filled with men that know the sport. Apparently, each of the power conferences - the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC - will have a representative on the committee.

    The other target publicly known is Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich. He's been known as more of a mover and shaker, but at least he was a tight end and punter for Indiana [Pa.] University back in the late 1970s.

    Let's hope the rest of the committee members have football backgrounds as well. Apparently, the committee will be made up of around 12 members. Five will be from the conferences. Let's hope the others are men like former WVU coach Don Nehlen and Marshall coach Bob Pruett.

  • On Thursday, by the way, I spoke to Luck and asked him about his playoff views. The thought from here is a four-team playoff is fine - better than what we currently have - but an eight-team playoff is the way to go.
  • There will always be griping, but it's a lot more palatable to argue over the eighth or ninth best teams than the fourth and fifth best teams. Besides, the market will eventually demand that anyway. (It's sort of like a best-of-three baseball wild card playoff over a one-and-done deal.)

    Anyway, Luck declined to comment in case he is indeed placed on the committee. He also reinforced his "no comment" in regard to the Texas athletic director opening. In some quarters it was initially reported he would not reciprocate interest from the Longhorns. That's not necessarily the case.

  • And finally . . .
  • An item for the sometimes-less-is-more department.

    Perhaps in an attempt to explain WVU's earlier football struggles, the university's sports information department has provided the media a list of the "schools with the most underclassmen on their current depth chart."

    WVU, according to the school, is No. 8 on that list with 30.

    Perhaps, though, a bunch of underclassmen doesn't deter teams from winning. Among the schools tied at No. 2 are LSU, which is 4-1; Maryland, which is 4-0; and South Carolina, which is 3-1. Tied for 10th is Arkansas, which is 3-2; Texas A&M, which is 4-1; and Virginia Tech, which is 4-1.

    The record of the top 13 on that list: 32-28.

    Just bringin' the facts, ma'am.

    Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.


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