Despite coaching changes, WVU puts together class with a Texas flare
Published: Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 23:02
West Virginia's latest recruiting class has a distinct Texas flare this year.
The addition of new offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen and three new offensive staff members brought in two Texas natives to WVU.
Quarterback Paul Millard and running back Dustin Garrison become the first two Texas natives on the Mountaineers' roster. It will be just the third time in school history that the Mountaineers have had two Texas natives on one team.
"Texas will continue to be an emphasis," Holgorsen said. "That's where I've been for 12 years, and I've made an awful lot of connections down there."
Three-star Texas running back Jermichael Selders signed with Baylor Wednesday despite being a long-time WVU verbal commit. It did get a surprise Wednesday when two-star Florida offensive lineman Marquis Lucas picked WVU over Rutgers.
The Mountaineers were able to sign 17 players Wednesday despite a month-long coaching controversy. They also had six early enrollees, which will count toward last year's class.
WVU's class was ranked No. 41 by Rivals.com and No. 52 by Scout.com; Rivals.com rates the Mountaineers' class as the third-best in the Big East Conference while Scout.com rates it as the fifth-best. In-state rival Marshall had the 50th-best class as rated by Scout.com.
"There's nothing stable about recruiting," Holgorsen said. "To get the guys we got was an everyday battle. That's just the way it is."
WVU head coach Bill Stewart said negative recruiting toward his program happens each year, and this year was no different. But, it wasn't necessarily worse this year than in past years, either.
"That never entered my thought process in any way, but it speaks volumes of our staff," Stewart said. "Will they be stars? I don't know. We won't know two or three years down the road … Some of these guys are going to play quicker than others because of needs."
The stars of the class could be on the defensive side of the ball, as the Mountaineers received letters of intent from two four-star defensive backs – Vance Roberts (D.C.) and Terrell Chestnut (Pottstown, Pa.). Jacksonville, Fla., running back Andrew Buie is WVU's other four-star commit. He chose the Mountaineers over Louisville.
"I'm really excited about this class. It's a really solid class," Stewart said. "You never hit a home run every time you swing, but I feel really good about this class."
WVU was forced to target quarterback recruits this year after the departure of two highly rated freshmen signal callers Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson and offseason surgery to starter Geno Smith which could leave him out of spring practice for the second-straight year.
Three-star Minnesota quarterback Brian Athey and three-star signal caller Millard will battle for the backup spot this season and have already enrolled and begun taking classes in January.
Athey, at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, has the size, while Millard, at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, has an advantage in statistics. Millard threw for nearly 4,500 yards and had 47 touchdown passes as a senior. Both are more typical drop-back passers, which fit Holgorsen's system.
"Without these two quarterbacks, we would probably call off spring ball," Holgorsen said sarcastically. "Those guys are going to be important to us to progress from an offensive standpoint, because we don't want to get Geno out there too quick."
2011 WVU Commits
QB Brian Athey – 6-foot-4, 215 pounds
The three-star commit enrolled in school early from Eden Prairie High School (Minn.). His size allowed him to a first-team all-Lake Conference performance in 2010. He is Minnesota's sixth-best player and was also a star baseball player.
LB Jared Barber – 6-foot-1, 215 pounds
The three-star Mocksville, N.C., native verbally committed last July and didn't hinder when coaching changes occurred. He chose WVU over North Carolina schools like N.C. State and Wake Forest. He finished his career with 529 total tackles.
DT Ben Bradley – 6-foot-3, 275 pounds
The three-star prospect is the lone recruit from Georgia (Norcross High School) this year. He was named to the Gwinnett Daily Posts's second-team and was named to the all-county first team. He had 91 tackles and 26 tackles for loss as a senior.
LB Isaiah Bruce – 6-foot-2, 215 pounds
The Jacksonville, Fla., native is a three-star recruit who verbally committed back in October. He chose WVU over a few Big Ten offers. He was a four-year starter and was named to the Jacksonville Times-Union Super 24 team. He had 101 tackles as a senior.
RB Andrew Buie – 5-foot-9, 188 pounds
The four-star prospect from Jacksonville, Fla., may be the best offensive pickup for the Mountaineers. He is the sixth-ranked running back and rushed for 1,901 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior.
WR Dante Campbell – 6-foot-5, 205 pounds
The three-star receiver from Florida committed in December after offers from many non-BCS teams. He finished his senior season with 43 catches for 639 yards and seven touchdowns and was named to the first-team Orlando Sentinel all-Central Florida offense.
DB Terrell Chestnut – 6-foot, 177 pounds
The Pottstown, Pa., native is one of the few four-star commits for WVU. He was the ninth-best prospect from Pennsylvania after recording 71 tackles, three tackles for loss and four interceptions in his senior year. He was a former Pittsburgh verbal commit.
TE Cody Clay – 6-foot-4, 250 pounds
Despite Dana Holgorsen not using a typical tight end, the two-star prospect from Charleston, W.Va., committed anyway. He had 27 catches for 389 yards and four touchdowns as a senior at George Washington High School.
LB Josh Francis – 6-foot-2, 215 pounds
The three-star linebacker from Lackawanna Community College chose WVU over offers from Arkansas and North Carolina. He was named a 2010 NJCAA first-team All-American and has enrolled at WVU early.
RB Dustin Garrison – 5-foot-8, 165 pounds
The undersized two-star back from Pearland, Texas, committed to WVU after the coaching changes. He chose the Mountaineers over Pittsburgh and Washington State. In his senior year, he finished with 2,564 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns.
OL Russell Haughton-James – 6-foot-6, 280 pounds
The big offensive tackle from Weston, Fla., chose the Mountaineers over offers from the likes of multiple Florida schools, Memphis and Minnesota. He was the Florida Sun Sentinel's No. 42 top senior in Broward County.
OL Brandon Jackson – 6-foot-4, 320 pounds
A two-star prospect from Lakewood, Ohio, committed to the Mountaineers in January after multiple offers from MAC schools. He was a two-year starter for a team that won the Ohio Division I championship and was ranked No. 13 in the nation by USA Today.
OL Justin Johnson – 6-foot-4, 288 pounds
The offensive guard was the second-best player in West Virginia. He chose the Mountaineers over Marshall. He was named to the West Virginia 3A honorable mention all-state team twice and is the brother of current WVU starter Josh Jenkins.
DB Nick Kwiatkoski – 6-foot-2, 215 pounds
The three-star defensive back is the lone Western Pennsylvania recruit for the Mountaineers this year. He chose WVU over Boston College and Bowling Green. He was the No. 32 player in Pennsylvania and was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fabulous 22 list.
OL Marquis Lucas – 6-foot-4, 310 pounds
The Miami Central (Fla.) High School product was a two-year starter who helped his team win the 2010 Florida Class 6A state championship. He was named to the Miami Herald's all-Dade County first team offense. He was the No. 44-rated guard prospect.
QB Paul Millard – 6-foot-2, 200 pounds
The three-star signal caller from Texas has already enrolled in classes. He did not receive another Division I-A offer, but passed for nearly 4,500 yards and had 47 touchdowns as a senior. He was the No. 1-rated quarterback in passing by MaxPreps.
WR K.J. Myers – 6-foot-2, 185 pounds
The Jacksonville, Fla., native is a three-star prospect that chose the Mountaineers over multiple Florida schools. He was named to the 2010 Florida Times-Union Super 24 team after finishing his senior season with 600 yards and nine touchdowns receiving.
LB Shaquille Petteway – 6-foot, 200 pounds
The three-star linebacker from Steubenville, Ohio, chose WVU over offers from Akron, Syracuse and Toledo. He was a two-time first-team all-Ohio selection and was named to the Wheeling Intelligencer's all-Valley first team twice. He had 87 tackles as a senior.
DB Vance Roberts – 5-foot-10, 166 pounds
The four-star defender from D.C. was the top-player in his area and the 19th best cornerback. He had multiple major offers. He was named to the 2010 Washington Post's Honorable Mention all-Met team.
WR Vernard Roberts – 5-foot-11, 174 pounds
The three-star offender is the brother of Vance and the lesser rated of the two. The two did have similar offers, though. He finished his career at Dunbar High School with 238 carries , 1,728 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.
DE Kyle Rose – 6-foot-4, 240 pounds
The Centerville, Ohio, native is a three-star recruit who chose the Mountaineers over many non-BCS offers. He was offered by Kansas, though. He finished his senior season with 86.5 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He was one of the top 60 prospects in Ohio.
DL Shaq Rowell – 6-foot-4, 308 pounds
The three-star player comes from Iowa Western Community College. He chose WVU over offers from Baylor and other non-BCS schools. He finished 2010 with 32 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two sacks.
DB Avery Williams – 5-foot-10, 173 pounds
The defensive back from the D.C. area originally signed a letter of intent with WVU last year. He is already enrolled in school for this semester and chose the Mountaineers over Kansas, Michigan State and Utah.