Signing day will be busy
MORGANTOWN - Back during the middle of his first season as West Virginia's football coach, Dana Holgorsen was asked how many newcomers he would like to bring in during his first full recruiting class. He said 30.
It looks like he might just get there.
With just over a week until the NCAA's national signing period begins, the Mountaineers appear to have 26 players committed. That's actually down a couple after two high school teammates switched their commitments over the weekend, but by the time the Feb. 1 signing date arrives there could be more.
If West Virginia does manage to get 30 newcomers, that's five over the NCAA limit. But five of the 26 enrolled in school at the start of the spring semester, so they are by rule permitted to count against last year's signing class.
And West Virginia had plenty of room because there were just 15 players in last year's class.
Holgorsen is trying to sign as many quality players as possible for a couple of reasons. First, the Mountaineers were down in numbers last season because of transfers and natural attrition. And second, this is the first opportunity Holgorsen has had to recruit a class full of the type of players he wants. He didn't arrive at WVU until last year's recruiting class was almost completed and he didn't take over as the head coach until June.
So where has he gone to get them? Well, surprisingly the same place West Virginia has traditionally gone to find players. While there are four commitments from Holgorsen's usual recruiting areas in Texas - three of them from the Houston area - there are also 11 from Florida and 10 from the Northeast - Maryland (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (2) and New Jersey (2). There are no commitments from West Virginia, but there is a tight end from Minnesota.
Of the 11 Florida recruits, seven are from the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.
The class also seems heavily tilted toward skill-position players, including as many as seven defensive backs and five wide receivers. There are also four defensive linemen, three offensive linemen, three running backs, two linebackers, a quarterback and the tight end.
According to the recruiting rankings, the vast majority of the committed players carry three stars. The most notable exception is wide receiver Deontay McManus of Baltimore's Dunbar High School, the same school that produced current WVU receiver Tavon Austin. McManus rates four stars from both Rivals and Scout.
Two others rate four stars from Scout, but not Rivals - linebacker Sam Lebbie of DeMatha High School in suburban Washington and 6-foot-4, 290-pound offensive lineman Tyler Orlosky of St. Edward near Cleveland.
The lone quarterback in the class is one of the five early enrollees who will be eligible to practice in the spring - Ford Childress of Houston. Childress, the son of five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Ray Childress, completed 184-of-292 passes for 3,171 yards, 41 touchdowns and only seven interceptions as a senior at Kinkaid High School.
The other four early enrollees are defensive tackle Imarjaye Albury, a 6-1, 280-pounder from Miami's Northwestern High; safety Karl Joseph, a 5-11, 190-pounder from Orlando's Edgewater High; Jordan Thompson, a 5-9, 163-pound wide receiver from Katy, Texas; and safety Sean Walters, a 6-2, 195-pounder from Hallandale Beach, Fla.
The rest of WVU's verbal commitments to date include defensive backs Kimlon Dillon (Apopka, Fla.), Jarrod Harper (Frostburg, Md.), Nana Kyeremeh (Worthington, Ohio), Brandon Napoleon (Jersey City, N.J.) and Nate Smith (Warminster, Pa.); receivers Darreal Joyner (Miami), Devonte Mathis (Miramar, Fla.) and Devonte Robinson (Delray Beach, Fla.); running backs Roshard Burney (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), Torry Clayton (Homestead, Fla.) and J.T. Washington (Satellite Beach, Fla.); defensive linemen Christian Brown (Bridgeton, N.J.), Korey Harris (Fruit Cove, Fla.) and Noble Nwachukwa (Wylie, Tex.); offensive linemen Mark Glowinski (Scranton, Pa.) and Tony Matteo (Akron, Ohio); linebacker Garrett Hop (The Woodlands, Tex.) and tight end Will Johnson (Osseo, Minn.).
The Mountaineers also had commitments from a pair of Calvert Hall (Md.) skill players, but both Da'Quan Davis and Trevor Williams switched their commitments to Penn State.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org.