Gibson, Howard highlight class of 25 signees in West Virginia’s 2013 recruiting class
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 07:02
Twenty-five recruits signed their National Letters of Intent to continue their football careers at West Virginia University for head coach Dana Holgorsen Wednesday.
The 2013 signing class consists of athletes from 15 different states, including a class-high four players out of Pennsylvania. Traditional pipeline states Florida and Ohio each provided Holgorsen with three players. Surprisingly, the non-traditional pipelines of Georgia and New Jersey provided Holgorsen with three athletes each.
The Mountaineer coaching staff was able to land one prospect from within the state of West Virginia, as well as from Arizona, California, Delaware, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
West Virginia’s class consists of 13 offensive players, 11 defensive players and a punter.
Of the 25 athletes signed, nine of them come to WVU from junior colleges. The 2013 class has the highest number of JUCO players signed since the 2008 class when WVU signed five junior college athletes. These former junior college stars are athletes Holgorsen expects to compete right away for playing time.
"It’s something that we’ve talked about for a while; identifying those guys is not easy. You have to spend a lot of time identifying those guys to see if they are your type of guys," Holgorsen said. "One thing that I’ve seen change in college football is the amount of junior college kids being recruited."
Two of the JUCO signees, running back Dreamius Smith (Butler County C.C.) and wide receiver Kevin White (Lackawanna C.C) are already on campus for the semester. High school teammates Daikiel Shorts and Wendell Smallwood, along with Hodari Christian, Malik Greaves and Chavas Rawlins will all participate in spring football.
The marquee signee of the class is wide receiver Shelton Gibson from Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Rated as the No. 129 best player and No. 15 best receiver nationally by Rivals.com, Gibson is expected to compete for a starting receiver spot. The U.S. Army all-American, was recruited heavily by Ohio State and offered by 14 other schools.
"Shelton Gibson on tape is extremely talented and extremely hard to tackle," Holgorsen said.
On the defensive side, the headliner also comes from the Buckeye State in linebacker Darrien Howard. The Dayton, Ohio, native is rated by Rivals as the No. 10 best inside linebacker nationally and the No. 16 best player in the state of Ohio, could come in and help a WVU defense that struggled at the linebacker spot this season.
Howard and Gibson boost a class that, according to Rivals, ranks No. 24 nationally. WVU also sits No. 3 in the Big 12, only behind conference powers Oklahoma and Texas.
"It’s good to put closure to it – really good to put closure to it. The hardest 48 hours as a coach is the Monday and Tuesday before Signing Day, because there is nothing you can do," Holgorsen said, "But, we did a heck of job; this staff did a heck of a job."