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New JMU Football Coaches Flex Recruiting Prowess

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Ben Hofer

It appears JMU football head coach Bob Chesney and staff have firmly settled into Harrisonburg and are hitting the recruiting trail hard across the Commonwealth. Earlier this week, defensive line coach Sam Daniels, wide receivers coach Justin Harper, and others were visiting schools across the 757 and 804.

They’re working hard to identify and offer Virginia’s top talent in the 2025 class and beyond. Several offers went out to WR/DB targets this week, including Trey Jones of Oscar Smith HS and Matthew Outten of Portsmouth HS.

JMU’s new coaching staff seems focused on successfully recruiting in Virginia, a key as the Dukes try to compete for College Football Playoff appearances in the short term.

2024 Texas prospect

Also of note, JMU offered Heath McRee of Westlake High School in Texas, who is in the class of 2024. McRee stands out as an important potential addition for the Dukes because of a few factors.

Texas is rarely a state mentioned in JMUs recruiting cycles, in the Dukes’ last 10 classes exactly zero players have been from the Lone Star State. Texas is arguably the best state for football talent in the country, and it would be extremely beneficial for JMU to get any sort of foothold in such a football hub. Westlake is a powerhouse in the top division in high school sports in the state.

Editor’s note: Thanks to Christopher William Jewelers for their advertising support.

Receivers coming out of Westlake in the last few years have been top-quality college football receivers, with a great feel and maturity for the game. One recent example is Jaden Greathouse, who was in the class of 2023 and started five games for Notre Dame as a true freshman this season, shattering expectations.

Fans can expect McRee to have been coached to the same standard and have the potential to be a productive receiver much earlier than other wide receiver targets. Not to mention the Dukes could use another receiver in the 2024 class, to strengthen a shallow wide receiver room. He’s also a dynamic punt and kick returner, which would especially endear him to Chesney and company.

McRee is visiting campus this weekend, and JMU appears firmly in the mix to land his commitment.

Other receivers offered this week are exciting prospects for the class of 2025. Outten is a highly sought-after pass catcher from Portsmouth, who already boasts offers from Penn State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and other P5s. He would be tough to get but could be a four-star recruit by the time February’s Signing Day rolls around.

Jones comes from Oscar Smith High School and has offers from VT, Penn State, App State, Duke and others. He could also become a medium to high three-star depending on his offseason.

Editor’s note: Follow Ben on Twitter for additional recruiting updates, including his 2025 Big Board.

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