Editor's note: As we move toward the February 5 national signing day, the Gazette will be presenting a weekly update or story on the hot topic of football recruiting via Chris Anderson of 247Sports Network. Today is the first installment.
As he spoke with national media on Monday afternoon, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen made one thing clear - recruiting is the life blood of any football program, and he and his staff are focused on improving in that area in order to boost the product on the field.
With 15 commitments, West Virginia has a long way to go before this 2014 class is done. Depending on postseason attrition, the final number of pledges could be anywhere from 20 to 25 on national signing day, set for Feb. 5.
To get Mountaineer fans ready for the "home stretch," here's a breakdown of where recruiting stands at each position.
West Virginia secured the commitment of quarterback William Crest in April, and the four-star prospect has never wavered. He hails from Baltimore's Dunbar High School, which sent Tavon Austin and linebacker Marvin Gross to Morgantown. Crest has led his team to a 9-2 record and accounted for over 25 touchdowns. He is expected to be the lone quarterback taken in this class.
With so much talent returning, the Mountaineers have kept a narrow focus at running back and do not have a commitment at the position. The main target is Hillside (N.C.) running back Donte Thomas-Williams. The four-star prospect has visited Morgantown multiple times and has the Mountaineers in his top two alongside Florida State. He intends to take his official visit to West Virginia in January.
Brandon Powell of Deerfield Beach, Fla., a Miami commitment, officially visited West Virginia and admitted that the rowdy atmosphere left him intrigued by WVU. He will make a "final decision" on signing day.
Demario Richard of Palmdale, Calif., and Dacorius Law of Haines City, Fla., are two other backs that say they will officially visit before making a decision, although no dates have been set.
Ricky Rogers of Gateway, Pa., was the first pledge of the class, committing during last year's season finale against Kansas. He camped for the coaches in the summer and dominated the competition, earning an offer directly after camp ended.
Jacob McCrary (Coral Reef, Fla.) and Lamar Parker (Booker T. Washington in Miami) committed on the same night back in June. McCrary held offers from Alabama, Florida State and more, and has been one of the most vocal commits since joining the class. Parker held offers from Florida State, Texas A&M and Ole Miss, among others. He is the leading receiver for the top-ranked team in the nation, per USAToday.
West Virginia will likely take one more receiver, although it may not come from a traditional "wideout." Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) tight end Darrion Hutcherson visited West Virginia for the Texas game and has WVU at the top of his list. Arkansas, TCU and Auburn are showing interest.
West Virginia has secured five commitments at tackle in this class - Josh Krok, Jamie Herr, Walter Rauterkus, Justin Scott and Sylvester Townes. Herr, Scott and Townes are all scheduled to enroll early, with the latter two coming from the junior college ranks. All hope to fight for a starting tackle spot in 2014.
Amanii Brown is the lone pickup for 2014 at guard. Hailing from Morgantown, Brown received an 87 rating as the nation's 36th-best offensive guard from 247Sports. With a dominant senior season and impressive camp performance at WVU, his stock continues to rise.