Lazear Signs With West Virginia

By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 18, 2007

Standout linebacker Pat Lazear, who was sentenced to 10 days in jail and received a 10-year suspended sentence for his part in the robbery of a Smoothie King store, has signed a letter of intent to play football for West Virginia, the university announced Friday.

Lazear, who was an All-Met as a junior at Whitman High, played for Wheaton High this past season after a Montgomery County hearing examiner overturned the expulsion of the five students involved in the robbery and instead sent them to different schools.

Lazear later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery. His sentence included three years' probation, 30 days of house arrest, 150 hours of community service and restitution of $463 to Smoothie King.

Lazear had been considered one of the Washington area's top prospects before the incident. Several schools backed off their recruiting efforts after his arrest, but West Virginia continued its pursuit. In November, Mountaineers assistant coach Herb Hand said in a phone interview that the school considered such situations "on a case-by-case basis."

Assistant coach "Bill Stewart and I have researched Pat's entire situation over several months," West Virginia Coach Rich Rodriguez said in a statement released by the school's athletic department. "We have talked to a number of people, and after a thorough review, I am reassured that Pat Lazear will be a successful student-athlete and a positive member of our university community. We are eager for him to join the Mountaineer family."

Lazear's father, Harry, yesterday declined to comment on his son's choice of schools. Attempts to reach West Virginia officials yesterday were not immediately successful.

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