MORGANTOWN - Freshman quarterback Barry Brunetti announced on his Twitter page Thursday he is leaving West Virginia after the Champs Sports Bowl -- and apparently did so before telling his team.
A WVU source said Brunetti's series of tweets was the first the team had heard of his decision. Director of Football Communications Mike Montoro did not comment on Brunetti's status because the football office had not been informed of the player's plans.
Nevertheless, Brunetti, a Parade Magazine All-American at Tennessee's Memphis University School last year, tweeted "Due to a list of things andpersonal (sic) reasons. Will not be returning to WVU next year." Soon thereafter, Brunetti wrote, "Still focusing on Helping wvu win the Champs Sports Bowl. After that continue my new journey."
Brunetti is WVU's only quarterback behind starter Geno Smith for the Dec. 28 game against North Carolina State.
His exit would be another blow to WVU's 2010 recruiting class. Of the players who signed in February, seven either didn't arrive or didn't last at WVU.
Receiver Deon Long left the team and enrolled at New Mexico. Offensive lineman Marquis Wallace had eligibility issues and transferred to Marshall. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson battled two bouts of homesickness and returned home to Texas. Defensive back Avery Williams and receivers Dante Chambers and Quantavious Leslie never qualified.
Brunetti has played in four games this season and completed 4 of 9 passes for six yards. Smith, of course, is a sophomore, meaning Brunetti was looking at one or two more years competing with Smith.
Brunetti, who played in the 2010 U.S. Army All-America Bowl, completed 240 of 432 for 3,882 yards and 43 touchdowns in his high school career and rushed for 1,660 yards and 39 touchdowns. He led MUS to back-to-back 13-0 seasons and state championships.
If Brunetti does leave and moves to a Football Bowl Subdivision School, he'd have to sit out one year. A move down to the Football Championship Subdivision would allow immediate eligibility.
However, Brunetti wrote he was praying for his mother and said her "neck situation" was the reason he was leaving. It could be what permits him to pursue a hardship waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to transfer closer to home and play next season.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.