West Virginia recruits beef up depleted QB corps

Share with others:

Print Email Read Later

National signing day is the Christmas morning of the college football season.

So, Wednesday, coaching staffs across the country will rise early, wish lists in hand, and await the beeps and whirs of the fax machine as signed letters of intent roll into the office.

After a 4-8 season, West Virginia badly needs a roster restock. The Mountaineers lost nine starters to graduation and have several significant holes to fill before they open an unrelenting 2014 schedule Aug. 30 against Alabama.

In late November, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said his staff hoped to meet a quota of 25 recruits for the 2014 recruiting class. 247Sports recruiting expert Chris Anderson said Monday the number likely will end up closer to 21 or 22.

As it stands now, the Mountaineers have received 20 verbal pledges. Six recruits, four of them junior-college transfers, are enrolled and on campus.

Eleven of those 20 recruits are offensive players. Six are junior-college transfers, as West Virginia's staff continues to bring in older, more experienced and physically mature players to get up so speed in the rough-and-tumble Big 12.

West Virginia used three quarterbacks last season, rotating from redshirt freshman Ford Childress to junior Paul Millard to junior Clint Trickett, who won the starting job in late September.

The quarterback corps has taken some hits this offseason. Childress left the team and withdrew from the university. Trickett had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Millard started practicing with the baseball team, though a team spokesperson confirmed he still is a member of the football team.

The good news is that some help is coming with dual-threat quarterbacks Skyler Howard, a junior-college transfer who enrolled in January, and William Crest, a highly touted prospect from Baltimore.

The most glaring holes, though, are in the lines.

With the departure of three senior offensive line starters -- center Pat Eger and tackles Nick Kindler and Curtis Feigt -- the Mountaineers have secured verbal commitments from six offensive linemen, including junior-college transfers Justin Scott and Sylvester Townes, who figure to factor into the mix more quickly than the freshmen.

West Virginia also lost starting interior defensive linemen Will Clarke and Shaq Rowell, but Aliquippa defensive tackle Jaleel Fields and defensive end Tyree Owens of Oviedo, Fla., were recruited to add depth on the defensive front line.

Fields is one of three Pittsburgh-area recruits who will head to West Virginia in the fall. Joining him are Aliquippa defensive back Dravon Henry, who spurned Pitt and selected the Mountaineers in December; and Gateway receiver Ricky Rogers.

Perhaps West Virginia's greatest addition, though, was bringing Damon Cogdell onto the coaching staff in early January. Cogdell, previously the head football coach and athletic director at powerhouse Miramar High School in Miramar, Fla., was a standout Mountaineers linebacker in the late 1990s.

"Coming back to West Virginia University is like a breath of fresh air," Cogdell said in January. "Being here on the coaching staff is a dream come true."

Cogdell sent eight Patriots players to West Virginia, including current NFL players Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey. And his addition already has paid dividends on the recruiting trail, as he has joined running backs coach JaJuan Seider to southern Florida. In the past month, West Virginia secured verbal commitments from Miramar offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste for this recruiting class and two more Miramar players for the 2015 recruiting class.


NOTE -- The Big 12 Conference made changes to its 2014 schedule. One includes a Mountaineers home game against Oklahoma, which was moved to Sept. 20 from Sept. 27.

Stephen J. Nesbitt: snesbitt@post-gazette.com, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.

Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Commenting policy | How to report abuse


Create a free PG account.
Already have an account?