West Virginia finished with only 16 sacks during the 2013 season, tying the Mountaineers for 107th out of 123 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in sacks per game.
It would make sense, then, that West Virginia would be searching for immediate help from a pass rusher in the 2014 class. That's exactly why the coaching staff has returned to Georgia Military College, the same junior college that produced wide receiver Mario Alford and linebacker Brandon Golson in the 2013 class.
The prize recruit this season is defensive end Kenderius Whitehead. A former four-star recruit out of high school, the redshirt freshman pass-rusher registered 19.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 2013, garnering first-team All-America status from the National Junior College Athletic Association.
With that kind of resume, schools from up and down the East Coast have been calling - Clemson, Georgia Tech, Auburn and more - but West Virginia assistant Tony Gibson has made it clear that he's most needed in Morgantown.
"He stated that I was the number-one guy on their board," said Whitehead. "He liked my pass rush most. He said West Virginia needed a specialist in getting after the passer."
That pitch from Gibson has led to Whitehead scheduling an official visit to West Virginia on Jan. 24. Having already gone through the song and dance that is recruiting out of high school, Whitehead says he's a little more focused this time around on what he's looking for when he gets to Morgantown that weekend.
"I'm really hoping to meet great people, coaches and teammates," he said. "Also I want to see what their academic program has to offer so I can be successful in class, too."
Of course, Gibson is not the only one recruiting the 6-foot-5, 220-pound recruit on behalf of the Mountaineers, although it is not Alford and Golson in his ear.
"I never got a chance to play with them personally," said Whitehead, who redshirted in 2012. "But I heard a lot of great things about West Virginia from the [Georgia Military College] coach.
"And [freshman safety] Jeremy Tyler is the person I know personally. Me and him played on the same high school team [at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Lithonia, Ga.]. He keeps telling me that West Virginia is the place to be."
For now, Whitehead wishes not to divulge his leader, although he admits he is leaning a certain way. He says his decision could come at any time, and he may not wait until national signing day on Feb. 5.
Whitehead is a May graduate and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
For more coverage of West Virginia recruiting, visit www.eersports.com.