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Holgorsen pleased with WVU signing class

MORGANTOWN - West Virginia's recruiting class rounded into pretty good shape pretty quickly Wednesday, just the way coaches like it to go.

There were no last-minute defections, and a couple on the fence fell the right way.

While there were some misses among those who waited until the end to extend the drama, all in all Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen termed the day a success.

"Overall we're pretty pleased,'' said Holgorsen of his first full recruiting class, which as of Wednesday evening numbered 26. "We signed 14 on offense and 12 on defense. There wasn't any area we had to stockpile, but if you look at the positions, we got a little bit of everything.''

Indeed, every position on the field was addressed save for punter and kicker. Among the 14 who project as offensive players, there are seven receivers (including one tight end), four offensive linemen, two running backs and a quarterback. The defensive players who signed binding letters of intent included four linemen, four safeties, two linebackers and two cornerbacks.

That breakdown includes the five freshmen who enrolled in January and count against last year's class. That means there are 21 in the 2012 class, four shy of the NCAA limit.

And it might not be over. While the vast majority of players sign on the first day, the signing period runs a full month. Holgorsen may or may not have any other specific targets in mind, but he said he is keeping his options open.

"[Recruiting] never stops,'' he said. "We've still got a couple of spots open, so we'll continue to look.''

Other targets could include junior college players, a few who might be waiting for test scores or, what seems most likely these days, a fifth-year transfer. The NCAA allows players who have graduated and still have eligibility remaining to move without sitting out a year. The Mountaineers got two of those last season in Wake Forest receiver Devon Brown and Notre Dame lineman Steve Paskorz.

There is also room under the cap of 85 scholarships on the full roster for more players. Holgorsen said he will go into spring practice with 61, a number that includes the five enrolled freshmen. Adding the 21 who signed Wednesday brings the number to 82. And there is always the chance of attrition between now and the summer.

As for those who signed Wednesday and will report in the summer, the vast majority were of the three-star variety according to the two primary Internet scouting sources, Rivals and Scout. The highest-rated is 6-foot-1, 209-pound receiver Deontay McManus from Tavon Austin's alma mater of Dunbar High School in Baltimore. He's rated a four-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout and seems to be the most heavily recruited of the signees, having been offered by Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee, among others.

"Physically, I can tell you right now he's ready to play,'' Holgorsen said of McManus. "We just need to get him in here and teach him.''

The other two four-star players were listed as such only by Scout but not by Rivals. There are 6-2, 215-pound linebacker Sam Lebbie from DeMatha, outside Washington, and 6-4, 290-pound offensive lineman Tyler Orlosky of Cleveland St. Edward.

Holgorsen said there was an emphasis on finding four quality offensive linemen, but the one who probably stands the best chance to play is Mark Glowinski, a 6-5, 290-pounder and the only junior college player among the recruits.

"He's probably gained 100 pounds in two years and he plays with an attitude,'' Holgorsen said of the Pennsylvanian. "He'll have a chance to compete for the starting left tackle position next year.''

Among the wide receivers is also yet another from West Virginia's recent Miramar connection, where former Mountaineer Damon Cogdell is the coach. Devonte Mathis is a 6-2, 205-pounder who joins quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Stedman Bailey and Ivan McCartney in the pass-and-catch corps.

The two running backs signed are both of similar size and stature - 5-10, 205-pound Roshard Burney and 5-9, 195-pound Torry Clayton, both from the South Florida area. They will join last year's freshmen, Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie.

"Buie and Garrison are guys who are more shifty in space,'' Holgorsen said. "These two are more slashers.''

The class includes a whopping 11 players from Florida, 12 if you count defensive lineman Christian Brown, who played as a senior in New Jersey but before that in Fort Myers. There are also four players each from Ohio and Texas, three from Maryland or the District of Columbia, two from New Jersey (including Brown) and one each from Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

That's six recruits from Texas recruited since Holgorsen arrived 13 months ago, but he maintains that the school's recruiting base will remain pretty much as it always has been, in the East and Florida. Indeed, 21 of the 26 recruits are from those areas.

The biggest player in the class is Cincinnati-area offensive lineman Adam Pankey, who was one of two late decisions to sign with WVU after he had committed to Pitt. Pankey is 6-5, 324 pounds. The smallest in the group is one of the early enrollees, 5-9, 163-pound receiver Jordan Thompson from Katy, Texas.

The closest of the recruits is safety Jarrod Harper of Frostburg, Md. He was WVU's first commit last year and Holgorsen said he is as close to a home-grown recruit as they come.

"There's nobody on our list that wants to be a Mountaineer more than him,'' Holgorsen said. "He'd walk here and start working out if he could get into school.''

There is also a legacy in the class. Cornerback Brandon Napoleon is the son of former WVU running back Eugene Napoleon.

Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickman1@aol.com.

 

 


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