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McKeesport's Christian picks WVU

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Friday, May 11, 2012, 7:06 p.m.

When West Virginia told Hodari Christian it saw him as a Star, the McKeesport linebacker couldn't help but like what he was hearing.

The Mountaineers recruited the 6-foot, 215-pounder to play the Star position, a hybrid strong safety/outside linebacker.

“Once I get bigger,” Christian said, “they're going to move me inside.”

Christian gave West Virginia a verbal commitment Friday, choosing the Mountaineers over Pitt. He had a dozen scholarship offers, including Akron, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Northwestern, Rutgers, Syracuse and Temple.

“I was very comfortable down there,” said Christian, who plans to major in business and kinesiology. “I thought, ‘This is the right school for me. Why wait?' ”

Christian is West Virginia's third recruit from the Class of 2013, joining Hickory running back DeShawn Coleman and Bloomfield (N.J.) offensive lineman Marcell Lazard.

Christian also is excited about the Mountaineers leaving the Big East to play in the Big 12.

“I know it's a harder schedule,” he said, “but that's going to be fun.”

A two-year starter, Christian is McKeesport's third Football Bowl Subdivision linebacker in as many years. Branden Jackson signed with Texas Tech two years ago and T.J. Neal with Illinois in February.

Those two had size on their side, but Christian was recruited for his ability to rush the passer off the edge and drop into coverage to play against the pass.

“It's a great fit,” McKeesport coach Jim Ward said. “There's a need for him down there. They need guys who can play in space and run for his size.

“With his work ethic, speed and explosiveness, he'll have an opportunity to play early.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7812.

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