High School Sports

Prep football | Manatee's Johnnie Lang verbally commits to West Virginia

When the University of West Virginia called, Manatee football star Johnnie Lang didn't waste a lot of time mulling his other options.

The Herald All-Area Player of the Year, a junior running back, committed to the Mountaineers on Wednesday, two days after the school made him a scholarship offer.

"That's one of my dream schools," Lang said Saturday. "I love their offense and the way they slot their running backs, kind of like (former Mountaineer and current NFL player) Tavon Austin."

Lang, a junior, turned in the second-best season in Manatee High history, rushing for 2,116 yards and 32 touchdowns in his first season as a full-time starter. He led the Hurricanes to a 9-1 regular season, a district championship and a trip to the Class 8A state semifinal.

Lang said he has not yet visited the West Virginia campus. He knows former Mountaineer and CFL player Noel Devine from Devine's high school days in Florida.

Lang plans to take a visit to West Virginia and other schools. Arizona, Kentucky, Florida State, Tulane and Temple have shown interest as well.

"My mind is open to other schools," Lang said. "I just wanted to commit because I always wanted to go there."