"He was a guy we couldn't pass up. He was too good,'' Seider said. "He's a guy who's going to come here next year and push these guys, in my opinion. He's young and you don't need him to play next year, but you're still going to give him every opportunity to go out there and see what he can do.''
That West Virginia even recruited Thomas-Williams is a sign of progress. Given that the Mountaineers are a combined 11-14 over the past two seasons - 6-20 in the past 20 games - would lead one to believe that the best course of recruiting action would be to address the obvious needs they have, wherever they may be. Running back is not one of those.
But over the course of the past three full recruiting classes, Holgorsen apparently believes he has filled most of his needs, at least to the point it was possible to do so. And so when a player of Thomas-Williams' talent comes along, why not go for him?
"I learned a long time ago from some good guys who used to work here, you never turn down a great player when you've got the chance to get one,'' Seider said. "And I thought he was a great player.
"You're losing Dreamius in another year and you don't know, guys get hurt. We're in a conference where you've got to have four or five healthy bodies that can play. If you wait and try to hit those needs [just before they arise], you never know who you're going to get. If you've got a chance to fill it, you'd better fill it now.''
Indeed, as West Virginia proved a few years ago there is no such thing as too many running backs. The Mountaineers came out of spring 2011 and into the fall with six and it wasn't enough. Vernard Roberts, Trey Johnson, Daquan Hargrett, Shawn Alston, Buie and Garrison all were either hurt and/or left the team.
Some of that was because there were roo many backs, and some left for opportunities to play. And sure, that could happen again, but Seider likes what he's seen and pointed to Smith as an example. After watching how hard Sims worked during his brief time at WVU, perhaps the light bulb clicked on after seeing Sims not only work so hard, but reap the benefits of playing time.
"I'm proud of that kid,'' Seider said of Smith. "He went home over the Christmas holiday and man, he came back in the best shape he's ever been in. He gets it. I think they all understand what it takes to be the guy.''
Seider said the competition for playing time is wide open. Everyone who will line up in the spring has experience, even Shell in his season at Pitt. And then Thomas-Williams joins the group in the summer.
"There's no excuses, no more baby steps,'' Seider said. "It's time to go to work. It'll be as NFL-type as it can be now.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.