CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Back in late January, an editor for one of the preseason college football magazines emailed me and asked for a few candidates for the cover of the 2014 WVU edition.
I was stumped. I asked if he'd ever featured a punter with the nickname of "Boomstache."
Kidding aside, I then told him he might take a flier on transfer running back Rushel Shell, although it probably wouldn't, well, fly if the only picture available is one of him in a Pitt uniform.
After that? The Mountaineers have an offensive guard in Quinton Spain. That would certainly take care of the entire cover.
Otherwise, there's Mario Alford, Karl Joseph, Kevin White and ... and ...
The point is, WVU desperately needs stars. Now. As spring practice begins this Sunday, the search is on.
When the entire freshman class hits Morgantown, there will be obvious prospects of interest. Cornerback Dravon Henry of Aliquippa, Pa., was a four-star recruit who helped buoy the Mountaineer rankings through much of the last year. Running back Donte Thomas-Williams of Durham, N.C., was a four-star recruit who was a pleasant surprise for coach Dana Holgorsen on signing day. Both, along with quarterback and fellow four-star player William Crest, will certainly get looks in fall camp.
But, during the recent media day, the names of a few other potential standouts surfaced when talking to Mountaineer coaches.
One thumbnail report, that of junior college quarterback transfer Skyler Howard, was reported in this space on Saturday. Holgorsen said Howard is inquisitive, works out diligently and players "gravitate toward him."
"He's a breath of fresh air," said the head coach.
Howard is one of six signees already in Morgantown and set for spring drills.
Another is linebacker Edward Muldrow. (He was listed as Edward Muldrow III, but word came down he'd like to simply be called Edward Muldrow. Knowing football camps as I do, it'll be no time before he's "Eddie" or just "E.")
New defensive coordinator Tony Gibson (aka Gibby - see?) spoke highly of Muldrow.
"I haven't seen him in football mode, but I have seen him in workout mode," Gibson said. "He has a big motor. And he's a long kid. Him and [Brandon] Golson look like twins. He's an athletic, competitive kid who can run."