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North Stafford wide receiver commits to JMU
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
When the North Stafford High School football team visitedJames Madison University for team camp three years ago, Brandon Ravenel soakedin the experience.
“I fell in love with the place,” said Ravenel, who was afreshman at the time.
The Wolverines have visited JMU for camp ever since. Soperhaps it was fitting that on this year’s outing, Ravenel orally committed toplay for the Dukes.
The 6-foot, 170-pound rising senior wide receiver informedJMU’s coaching staff of his decision Wednesday. He chose the Dukes overscholarship offers from Boston College, Buffalo, Old Dominion, Purdue, Templeand West Virginia.
Each of those programs competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision (ODU is joining Conference USA in 2013), but thatdidn’t matter to Ravenel, who is rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com.
“They were pretty nice,” Ravenel said of the major collegeprograms. “But as I looked through each school, they all had flaws.”
Ravenel said West Virginia, which won the Orange Bowl lastseason, “wasn’t up to par” academically. He said Boston College was his No. 2choice. He said the Eagles had everything that he wanted, but he preferred JMU’scampus over theirs.
“JMU has everything,” Ravenel said. “The campus is amazing.They have everything outside of football, as well as football.”
Ravenel caught 59 passes for 1,010 yards and 15 touchdownsin 2011. He was a first-team All-Area selection.
Every team that sought Ravenel wanted him to play widereceiver with the exception of West Virginia. The Mountaineers recruited him asa defensive back.
North Stafford coach Joe Mangano said Ravenel is astrong-willed kid who wasn’t swayed by the glamour of playing for ahigh-profile school. He called Ravenel, who has a 3.7 grade-point average, “thehardest working kid in our program.”
“Brandon is the type of kid that does what’s best for himand he doesn’t care what else happens,” Mangano said. “He fell in love with JMUand that’s where he’s going.”
Mangano said JMU’s coaching staff is appreciative thatRavenel gave the Dukes an equal chance to recruit him.
But Ravenel said he’s more appreciative that the Dukeswanted him. He said their coaching staff always seemed to care more about himas a person than a football player. He said the major college schools treatrecruiting more like a business.
Mangano said it’s “the nature of the beast” for thoseschools to continue to recruit Ravenel despite his commitment to the Dukes, butRavenel said he’s prepared for it.
“There’s honestly nothing that anybody can say or do to makeme change my mind,” Ravenel said. “If they’re still trying to recruit me thatjust shows how selfish they are.”
Mangano and Ravenel said they’re glad the recruiting processhas concluded so they can focus on the upcoming season. Rising senior widereceiver/defensive back Anthony Shegog orally committed to Virginia Tech inMarch.
The Wolverines were 10-3 last season and reached the GroupAAA, Division 5 state semifinals. Shegog and Ravenel return as well as all fivestarters on the offensive line.
“I’m so excited I can’t put it into words,” Ravenel said. “Wehave a great opportunity at hand. We have as great a shot as anybodyStafford County has ever seen.”