The future of West Virginia athletics is starting to become the present.
The NCAA’s early signing period began on Wednesday, meaning that high school recruits from the class of 2020 can officially sign letters of intent to play at a specific college or university.
Football is the only sport that is not a part of the early signing period starting on the second Wednesday of November. The first day of the early period for football recruits is on Dec. 18, 2019.
On the first day of the current early period, an abundance of athletes from a handful of sports officially put pen to paper and made Morgantown their future homes.
In men’s basketball, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins confirmed that Taj Thweatt, a six-foot-seven-inch forward from Wildwood, New Jersey, signed his letter of intent for the 2020-21 school year.
“We are really excited to have Taj join the West Virginia family,” Huggins said through a press release. “He brings much-needed athleticism and has the ability to play multiple positions on the front line. Taj is capable of being a 3-man who can play both offensively and defensively on the perimeter while equally playing and guarding in the post position.”
While not confirmed by the athletic department by press time, guard Kedrian Johnson from Temple College announced via Twitter that he had also signed a letter of intent to join the Mountaineers. (Update: Huggins announced the signing of Johnson on Thursday through a press release.)
In women’s basketball, WVU head coach Mike Carey announced that three players would be joining the Mountaineers in 2020-21: JeAnna Cunningham, Giana “Gigi” Hernandez-Boulden and Taziah Jenks.
Cunningham, a forward from Brentwood, New York, averaged 12.6 points and 14.2 rebounds per game during her junior season.
“JeAnna is an athletic, long forward that will be really successful in our fast break,” Carey said in a press release. “She runs the floor well and is an elite rebounder, great shot blocker and can shoot the jump shot. JeAnna will impact the game on both ends of the floor.”
Hernandez-Boulden, a guard from Hamilton, New Jersey, was a member of the Puerto Rican national team for the 2017 FIBA U16 Americas Women’s Basketball Championships.
“She plays the game with great IQ that will be a perfect fit for our style of play,” Carey said. “We are ecstatic about her future with West Virginia.”
Jenks, a guard from Louisville, Kentucky, is ranked as one of the top 100 players in her class by Prospects Nation.
“Taziah is an explosive, athletic guard that can create for herself and her teammates,” Carey said. “She can really score and rebound the basketball and has incredible length.”
In women’s soccer, West Virginia head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown announced that seven players were heading to Morgantown.
At midfielder, WVU signed Chloe Adler (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), Maya Ladhani (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) and Abby Rodriguez (Austin, Texas).
At forward, joining the Mountaineers are Jadyn Chee (Tulsa, Oklahoma), Faith Mealy (Wheeling, West Virginia) and Leonie Portelance (Brossard, Quebec, Canada).
The lone goalkeeper in the class is Katie Nester from Charleston.
“We’re really excited about this class and what they are going to bring to our program,” Izzo-Brown said through a press release. “Collectively, they have had tremendous success on the playing field and in the classroom and are committing to continue our tradition of excellence.”
In gymnastics, head coach Jason Butts signed three players: Chloe Asper (Hanover, Pennsylvania), Agatha Handono (Gaithersburg, Maryland) and Kiana Lewis (Hampton, Virginia).
“All-in-all, we are so thrilled about this class because they complement one another,” Butts said in a press release. “We set out on a goal to find athletes who have the ability to walk in the door and make an immediate impact. We believe this class will do just that and more.”
On Thursday, coach Sean Covich announced that three newcomers would be joining the WVU golf program: Jackson Davenport (Austin, Texas), Olivier Ménard (Salaberry de Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada) and Will Stakel (Peachtree Corners, Georgia).
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.