Alex Hammond, West Virginia University's director of football operations, hit a Sonic Drive-In window on Friday before heading to Cincinnati for the Mountaineers' game at Cincinnati.
Perhaps it was appropriate, because he's hoping the team's recruiting efforts experience a boom with the school's announced move to the Big 12.
True, WVU is having a somewhat disappointing season. The Mountaineers are .500 in Big East games after being named the league's preseason favorite. But Hammond, who steers the recruiting effort for coach Dana Holgorsen, is encouraged.
"There remains a lot of excitement around the team, head coach and [Big 12] conference," Hammond said.
With the latest commitment from Nate Smith, a 5-foot-11, 176-pound three-star defensive back from Archbishop Wood Catholic in Pennsylvania, the number of those giving an early nod stands at 18. Smith, by the way, will play in the Dec. 30 Chesapeake Bowl, which pits all-stars from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware against those from Maryland, Washington and Virginia. Archbishop Wood, on a nine-game winning streak at 9-1, has won the past three Philadelphia Catholic League titles and will go for another today against Monsignor Bonner. Smith turned down offers from Michigan State, South Carolina, Temple and Toledo to give Holgorsen his word.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see how WVU fares in the area of recruiting considering the announced move to the Big 12, the team's current season and, perhaps, fallout from the Penn State scandal. On Thursday evening, the Nittany Lions' top recruit, Joey O'Connor of Windsor, Colo., backed off his commitment. O'Connor is a four-star offensive tackle.
Hammond wouldn't comment on PSU's situation, but he did discuss WVU's standing in the area of recruiting.
"It's too soon to tell the actual number of players we'll be taking," Hammond said. "But whenever you move to a national conference, players will be excited to have an opportunity to play in that conference.
"NCAA rules allow a school to take 25 recruits in a class, but we can also sign back. If we take 23 in a class and get two to enroll in the spring, we can apply those to 2011."