WVU building pipeline in Texas
Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 23:04
Texas is known as one of the best hotbeds for high school football.
It's one state the West Virginia football program has never found a way to tap into.
That is until now.
Since the newest additions to the coaching staff earlier this year, WVU looks like it finally might be able to open a pipeline in the Lone Star State.
Prior to the 2011 season, there have been just nine Mountaineers from Texas. The most recent was tight end Sam Morrone, who played his final season for WVU in 2008 and finished his career with no catches and two carries for 12 yards.
And, honestly, it's a struggle to find a player from Texas who went to WVU and has more significant statistics in his time in Morgantown.
The only other players who made much of an impact at all during their careers were long snapper Scott Fleming and defensive back Shane Graham, who made 28 and 27 tackles, respectively, with the Mountaineers.
Now that new offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen and his staff have arrived in Morgantown, it appears their familiarity with that area has already started to show.
In January, the Mountaineers got Texas quarterback Paul Millard, who was ranked near the top nationally in nearly every passing category, to commit. Now, he looks like he will be quarterback Geno Smith's backup this season.
Earlier this year, WVU also picked up the services of running back Dustin Garrison, who will join the program this summer.
The offensive staff hasn't stopped there, either. On Saturday, West Virginia got another commitment from the state of Texas in Ford Childress.
Right now, nobody knows for sure how well any of these guys will actually play once they hit the field in a WVU uniform, or in the case of Childress, that he will ever even wear the Old Gold and Blue.
But, it's great to see West Virginia is finally able to crack into a new pipeline.
Perhaps the main reason this new coaching staff has helped make West Virginia such an appealing location for recruits from this previously untapped area is the style of offense that it's brought with it.
In addition to it being an offense that is fun to play in and exciting to watch, it's what a lot of the schools run in high school.
Texas high school football has been notorious for being able to take whatever seems to be popular at the college level and adapt that into its style of play.
Right now, since this "Air Raid" style is beginning to gain more and more popularity across the country, high schools are starting to scheme around that style to help prepare their players for what they'll run in college ball.
There aren't a lot of players who wouldn't want to be in an offense they are familiar with, especially if they had success with it in high school.
That factor is something that won't just help out in the Texas area, but also with another pipeline from which WVU has gotten many of its best players: Florida.
If the Mountaineers can continue getting players from Florida to come in the way they have in the past and add more from the Southwest, West Virginia could have a great stake in two of the richest high school football talent pools in the country.
That's the kind of stuff that helps build a great team.
It's what many programs dream of having, and this new staff and offensive style in Morgantown seem to be the X factors in making it a reality at West Virginia.