Western Kentucky was the first to promise Cajuste a scholarship. A line of Football Championship Subdivision schools and smaller Football Bowl Subdivision programs followed. It was difficult for Cajuste to understand. He started with two weeks of practice in no pads. Then he played three games in the spring, the first against Carroll City, the second an intrasquad scrimmage, the third against Lake Wales. In that last game, he started to figure things out as a defensive end and had a sack and he was so excited he'd overlooked his greatest strides.
"My offensive line coach told me I did the best out of all our offensive linemen," he said. "I decided I wanted to stick around. I thought, 'You know what? This summer, I'm going to get bigger and faster and stronger. I'm going to be really good at this.'"
Cogdell sent out a highlight video to college coaches and more scholarship offers followed. Cajuste actually went from having no offers to having to thin the list and eliminate FCS schools. Meanwhile, he started adding muscle in the weight room and Miramar, which thought at first to have found a promising defensive end, realized Cajuste was a very good right tackle. He played both ways for the Patriots, but his time will be spent on the defensive line at WVU.
"He picked up everything so quickly because he understands the game of football and is willing to sit down and watch film and listen to his coaches," said Matt Strout, Miramar's new head coach who had been the offensive line coach. "Anytime you have a young man who's 6-5 and 275 pounds and runs as well as he does and just has the natural athletic gifts Yodny does, you can pretty much put him at any spot on the football field.
"He'll be fantastic and I have the full faith and confidence Coach Cogdell will transform him into one heck of a defensive end."
It almost didn't happen this way, though. Cajuste visited the University of Florida before traveling to WVU and stated the Gators were his favorite a little more than two weeks from national signing day. He didn't commit because he was scheduled to visit the Mountaineers in the final weekend of January.
"That was my first time seeing snow, so that got me," he said. "The thing I liked about West Virginia was as a state, everywhere you go, no matter where you go, you see that W-V. There are no pro teams, so the fan base for college is crazy. And I loved the football facility compared to Florida.
"Florida's campus is amazing, but if you're talking about the football facility, the locker room, the stadium, I think West Virginia is way better. It's more high-tech and state-of-the-art. No disrespect to Florida. Florida's weight room and locker room and football facility are beautiful. West Virginia's is much bigger and nicer."
The University of Miami was involved late and Cajuste said he also considered Syracuse. He's instead the next Miramar star to play for WVU and one of five of the outside linebacker/defensive end players the Mountaineers plan to sign in the recruiting class.
"Yodny and I actually had a long discussion and one thing we talked about was what could have possibly been," Strout said. "He's developed far ahead of the curve and that goes back to just how athletic he is. But had he played all those years, I have a feeling he would have added 25 or 30 Division I offers to his plate. But thanks goodness he ended up in Morgantown with Coach Cogdell.
"West Virginia is getting a fantastic, hard-nosed, disciplined, dedicated young man. He wants to grow. He wants to learn the game. He wants to get better and he realizes he has the potential to do great things."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu.