Edge Protecton

Russell-Haughton-James

West Virginia's new targeting of bigger, taller offensive linemen continued with the addition of Russell Haughton-James on Wednesday, as first reported by BlueGoldNews.com.

Haughton-James, who originally committed to Minnesota, took an official visit to WVU last weekend, and liked everything he saw about the school.

"The school and the people were two of the biggest things," said Haughton-James, who is a man of few words. "I saw the facilities, and I liked the way everything was all together. The football, the study facilities, it's all right there. Everyone supports the team." J

While Haughton-James didn't pop up on the recruiting radar until recently, West Virginia has been in contact with him since last fall.

"Coach Galloway contacted me four months ago, and West Virginia has been staying in contact with me," he explained. "Coach Galloway is a real good guy. He's straight up about everything, and I don't think he'd push me to come to West Virginia if he didn't think it wasn't the best thing for me. I trust him."

Haughton-James trusted Galloway enough to make a WVU visit at the expense of his Minnesota offer. When the Gophers found out he was making a trip to check out the Mountaineer program, they pulled his offer.

"That didn't bother me," he said matter-of-factly. "I wanted to see West Virginia, and I'm going to be way happier there than I would have been at Minnesota."

Haughton-James also missed an all-star game to make his visit – another indication of the strong interest that led to his commitment. He was picked for the Dade-Broward County all-star game, but that contest was played the weekend of his WVU visit. He also had offers from USF, Western Kentucky, Memphis, Florida Atlantic and Florida International.

A strong run-blocker who has played both tackle positions, Haughton-James projects to the same level at West Virginia. He moves very well for his size (6-6, 290 lbs., 5.0) and has good quickness that should allow him to play on the edge of the line. He is not worried about the pass protection aspect of the game, citing quick feet and his ability to move as supporting strengths.

While he had FBS offers, Haughton-James also got a bit lost in the recruiting process as he moved from high school to high school. Owing to a variety of factors, ranging from redistricting to coaching changes, he attended four different high schools for the past for seasons, winding up his career at American Heritage in Plantation, Fla.

"I think that may have caused some people to lose track of me," he admitted.

NOTE

Haughton-James has one more sport to play in high school before his college career commences, but it's not, as one might suspect, either basketball or track and field.

"I'm a pitcher," he shared. "I will play baseball this spring."

The sight of a six-foot, six-inch hurler is likely an intimidating sight for opposing batters.

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