The West Virginia Mountaineers struck one of the first big blows in the recruiting wars on the east coast with their latest commitments.
"Jason Gwaltney and Scooter Berry both committed to West Virginia this weekend," said Long Island (N.Y.) North Babylon head coach Terry Manning. "Both guys visited there this weekend and loved it. West Virginia has been recruiting them since their sophomore years so this isn't an early decision to either of them. They've liked West Virginia for awhile."
Gwaltney, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound tailback, is the more highly-rated of the duo.
"He had invited to every junior day you can imagine and had a ton of offers," said Manning. "He had Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Syracuse, Boston College, Tennessee, Maryland -- you name it they offered."
And with good reason. As a sophomore, Gwaltney carried 197 times for 1,621 yards and 30 touchdowns despite missing the final two games of the season with a broken leg. As a junior, Gwaltney rushed 297 times for 2,601 yards and 45 touchdowns. For his career, he has rushed for 5,112 yards and 90 touchdowns.
"He's just a great player, I don't even know who to compare him to," said Manning. "He's powerful, explosive and dominant. He could be the best player ever on Long Island."
Gwaltney has already broken several Long Island rushing records including the single game (467) and single season (2,601) marks. He is just 700 yards away from breaking the all-time Long Island rushing record.
"The records keep falling," said Manning. "He is really looking forward to running in West Virginia's spead offense too because they won't be able to stack the line as much as they do in high school. We have 10 in the box at times trying to stop him."
Berry, Gwaltney's half brother, is no slouch either. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder is a terrific blocker and a big hitter. He also plays linebacker.
"He's being recruited as a fullback because he just kills people," said Manning. "You go back and look at some of the highlights of Jason running and you see Scotter just paving the way. No one wants to mess with him."
West Virginia was Berry's first offer. Did it help that the 'Neers offered both?
"They weren't a package deal," said Manning. "If they went down there and one didn't like it and the other did, they would have gone separate ways. They both just loved it."