West Virginia head coach Neal Brown and his coaching staff did a really good job of identifying talent in the 2021 class and even signed a few players that were overlooked nationally. Below are the three signees I believe could be considered as hidden gems in the Mountaineers' 2021 class.
OL Tomas Rimac (Brunswick, OH)
He was already on my list before Neal Brown called him the sleeper of the class, but it did reassure my outlook on him. Rimac is a tough, hard-nosed, blue-collar offensive lineman that was severely underrecruited nationally. He held other Power Five offers from the likes of Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville, Minnesota, Pitt, Purdue, and Wisconsin but man, how did he not earn more? More importantly, how did Ohio State not garner interest with this kid who was in their own back yard? Most of it could have had to do with the lack of camps that recruits were able to attend due to the pandemic, but West Virginia lucked out and got an absolute steal from Ohio.
Rimac can play both tackle and guard, but I would be more interested to see what he can do on the interior of the offensive line. He's fairly quick for his size and can move well laterally. He dominates in the run blocking game but probably needs a little fine-tuning in terms of pass protection, which is why I say stick him inside and play to his strengths. Regardless of what spot he ends up at, I project him to be a multi-year starter.
TE Victor Wikström (Stocholm, Sweden)
I know everyone is a little leery when Neal Brown goes after European recruits because most of those guys aren't as prepared for the college level of football as kids are here in the United States. International recruiting is going to become a pretty big thing once coaches across the country realize there are some kids who can play football outside of North America. This is exactly why I'm pegging Wikström as a hidden gem - no one really knew about him.
There's no question that he still has a lot of things to clean up from a technique standpoint but that was expected. He runs extremely well and is just a natural athlete. His blocking and receiving skills will continue to develop over time, but I think the Mountaineers picked up a real solid find here. This guy puts in a ton of time in the weight room, takes care of his body, and has the drive to want to be successful. I don't think he's going to make an immediate impact, but when he gets his turn, he's going to impress some folks.
S Saint McLeod (Philadelphia, PA)
I see a lot of Tykee Smith in Saint McLeod and it's not because they attended the same high school. McLeod knows how to deliver the boom and can cover from sideline to sideline at a high level. He has the ability to play the SPEAR, CAT, free safety, and strong safety which provides the Mountaineers defense with a lot of versatility.
Once again, similar to Smith, McLeod will make an impact not only in coverage but in run support as well. He plays downhill with a lot of physicality and is a terrific tackler in open space. There aren't too many times where McLeod will get beat on a one-on-one situation in the open field, which gives me a reason to believe he will see the field sooner rather than later in Morgantown.
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