The NCAA dead period has been extended to May 31, but West Virginia’s coaching staff is starting to work on official visits starting in June, and it could be a hopeful sign that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
And a whole lot of visits coming, too.
Four-star athlete Jaden Mangham and three-star safety Christion Stokes said they talked with West Virginia safeties coach Dontae Wright about penciling in visits with options starting for the first weekend of June and both jumped at the chance.
These trips could be canceled if the NCAA continues to push back the dead period, but the move by West Virginia could compel other teams to start planning official visit dates for kids and that could, in turn, force the NCAA’s hand to finally open up.
Stokes and Mangham are believed to be the first two recruits to be contacted about specific dates for an official visit date, and West Virginia could be the first school to take that all-important next step of actually working on specific dates for trips with prospects.
Either way, both Stokes and Mangham are thrilled that getting back on the road in June is becoming more of a reality.
“West Virginia has been one of the early schools that offered me and I’ve definitely been reaching out and talking to coach Wright, coach (Neal) Brown, building up my relationship with both of them and the whole staff. … Once they found out they got some dates they reached out to me and also Christion – they reached out to both of us – and they gave us the set dates and right then and there we set our time and it all fell together really,” Mangham said.
“(The Mountaineers) definitely look like the first one. I haven’t seen anybody else. There could be some other kids but they haven’t posted it yet. (West Virginia’s coaches) called (Monday) and they gave us some set dates. It was the first, second and last weekend of June for that, so we couldn’t wait to get back out and travel. We set up that first weekend of June so we could get right back to it.”
Stokes is also excited that there is some positive news when it comes to getting back out to schools – and possibly getting back to a sense of normalcy when it comes to trips.
“I had asked when campuses would open back up and they said they would get back to me with dates and everything and (Monday) coach Wright called me and gave me the first few weeks of June since I heard they moved the dead period back,” Stokes said. “At this point in time it’s a huge blessing to even step on a college campus because of how backed up everything is with COVID.”
There is, of course, a possibility that these visits won’t happen, that the NCAA could continue to keep official visits closed down in June. If more schools follow West Virginia’s lead and at least tentatively start booking trips, it could become an interesting hot-button issue at the end of May.
But this is a smidgen of positive news, and Mangham is counting down the days. And West Virginia, either advertently or inadvertently, is possibly getting things back to normal.
“It’s definitely good because the dead period kept getting pushed and pushed back,” Mangham said. “You just get this and it’s showing a little hope that hopefully all of this is going to stop and they won’t push it back anymore.”