MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - It remains to be seen, of course, whether any of the 22 players West Virginia signed to NCAA national letters of intent Wednesday can actually play football at the Division I level.
But, as always, signing day was by far the most optimistic day on the football calendar.
Whether it be the addition of yet another potential stud running back (a surprise) and a talented quarterback (no surprise), bolstering the offensive line with five additions or adding four defensive backs that Dana Holgorsen said can help shape WVU's secondary into one of the best in the country, there were no down sides to any of the recruits.
Then again, Holgorsen did inject at least one logical bit of sanity into the process.
"I hate saying too many good things about guys until they're here making plays,'' he said.
By all indications, though, several of the 22 players the Mountaineers signed at least have the potential to make plays.
The signing class - which includes 15 who have yet to arrive on campus, six mid-year enrollees and Pitt transfer running back Rushel Shell (who was put on scholarship for the spring semester and thus counts in this class) - included 13 of the 14 prospects who were committed but not signed, plus two additions.
The most notable of those additions was running back Donte Thomas-Williams, a four-star recruit from Durham, N.C., who rejected offers from a long list of schools that included national champion Florida State, Clemson, Florida and Ohio State, among others. The 6-foot, 220-pounder ran for 2,400 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior, caught 20 passes and had running backs coach JaJuan Seider almost giddy with possibilities.
"He's an every-down back because he can catch as well as he can run,'' said Seider, who along with receivers coach Lonnie Galloway recruited Thomas-Williams. "The most impressive thing I saw when I went to see him play was he was the first guys down on kickoffs. He just loves to play.''
If there are others in the signing class who received as much hype as Thomas-Williams, they were probably quarterback William Crest and cornerback Dravon Henry, both considered four-star recruits.
Crest is a 6-2, 210-pounder from Baltimore's Dunbar High School, which sent both Tavon Austin and Marvin Gross to West Virginia. Galloway recruited Crest - as he had Austin five years earlier before leaving for a job at Wake Forest - and getting Crest was apparently his No. 1 objective.
"When Lonnie got hired a year ago,'' Holgorsen said, "his first duty was to head to Baltimore and make sure we got William here.'' He also said, in regard to Crest, that, "Clearly we have a need at quarterback.''
Where Crest fits into West Virginia's rather tenuous quarterback situation immediately, though, remains to be seen. He won't arrive until summer, at which time he will be behind Clint Trickett, Paul Millard and Skyler Howard, the latter a junior college quarterback who is a part of the signing class and is one of the six early enrollees.