Rise and sign!

G’morning. Surprised to see me this early? You should have seen the look on my wife’s face.

Anyhow, we’re live and sipping coffee in the Tier 4 studio this morning as we dig in to cover national signing day at WVU. I’ll update this throughout and try to get to as many questions as I can in the comments. The Mountaineers have their press conference at 3 p.m. and I’ll post that soon after it’s finished. Then it’s off to the Coliseum for WVU v. Oklahoma.

Here’s the situation entering the day — and it’s pretty simple.


WVU woke up with six players already enrolled and 14 more expected to sign and send there national letters of intent today. If you’re visually inclined, or if you need a tracker, think of it this way. Those 14 are all likely to stay on the line. One never knows what may happen in the 11th hour, but the feeling is that their word is — or is it that their words are? — pretty firm.

I’m hearing it might grow to 15 or 16. In sum, that’s 22 and I believe WVU ought to be able to do 25.

Again, myriad things can happen, but the feeling is that WVU has done the job late in the game to earn a fax from Donte Thomas-Williams. Depends on who you ask, but he’d become one of the top five, and maybe top three, recruits.

There’s also a chance, though slimmer, that C.J. Worton might push away from alleged leader Florida and join his friend Jacob McCrary with the Mountaineers.

Don’t think WVU can speak to kids from Florida in a way that the Gators can’t? Then you might want to take a look at the story of perhaps the most intriguing prospect in the class, Miramar High’s Yodney Cajuste.

It almost didn’t happen this way, though. Cajuste visited the University of Florida before traveling to WVU and stated the Gators were his favorite a little more than two weeks from national signing day. He didn’t commit because he was scheduled to visit the Mountaineers in the final weekend of January.

“That was my first time seeing snow, so that got me,” he said. “The thing I liked about West Virginia was as a state, everywhere you go, no matter where you go, you see that W-V. There are no pro teams, so the fan base for college is crazy. And I loved the football facility compared to Florida.

“Florida’s campus is amazing, but if you’re talking about the football facility, the locker room, the stadium, I think West Virginia is way better. It’s more high-tech and state-of-the-art. No disrespect to Florida. Florida’s weight room and locker room and football facility are beautiful. West Virginia’s is much bigger and nicer.”

Away we go …

Mike Casazza February 5, 20145:45 pm

“…one of the better secondaries on the country.”

Mike Casazza February 5, 20144:51 pm

Dustin Garrison received a medical redshirt, in case you were wondering.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20144:40 pm

Made some calls: Jamie Herr is not expected to play for WVU.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20143:14 pm

Dante Campbell’s playing days are over. Holgorsen says hell stay on scholarship, but won’t count toward the scholarship total. That’s a medical hardship waiver for presistent injury.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20143:06 pm

Dana says to add Rushel Shell to the class. He’d been a walk-on last semester. That makes 23 in the class and puts WVU “right at 85.”

Mike Casazza February 5, 20143:00 pm

Justin Scott, OL, 6-6, 290, Detroit, Mich./Los Angeles Pierce (Cailf.) College

Played for coach Elfrain Martinez at Los Angeles Pierce College … helped team to a 9-2 record in 2013 … team averaged 404.9 total yards with him as an offensive line starter, including 128.6 yards rushing, 276.3 yards passing and an average of 31.3 points per game … three-star ranking from 247Sports, Rivals, and Scout … No. 114 rated Top JC Prospect by 247Sports … ranked as the No. 16 best JC offensive lineman by 247Sports … ranked by SB Nation as the No. 15 offensive tackle in junior college and the No. 18 junior college player in California .. played high school football at Southeastern High in Detroit for coach Tony Elliott … helped offense average more than 22 points per game and the team to a 5-4 record as a senior … also offered by Cincinnati, Kansas, Louisville and Washington State.

This came across at 2:52 p.m. Holgorsen’s press conference begins at 3 p.m. I’m told that’s all WVU is expecting today, and Jamie Herr’s letter is nowhere to be found. It might be that a parent is out of town and Herr can’t sign and send. Eastern Christian Academy, in Elkton, Md., is something of a satellite school that formed out of another school in Delaware. Some kids don’t live close to the school, so Herr’s signing may be delayed be that. Or he changed his mind. Or he isn’t a lock to qualify, which mean’s he might get to sign a commitment letter, like a few kids last year.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201412:02 pm

Important DTW POV:

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:52 am


Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:44 am

Donte Thomas-Williams, RB, 6-0, 221, Durham, N.C./Hillside

Played for coach Antonio King at Hillside High … finished with 2,400 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns as a senior … also had 20 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns … helped lead Hillside to a 9-3 record, the PAC 6 Conference championship and advance to the second round of the state playoffs … a two-time All-PAC 6 Conference selection … earned All-area, All-Herald Sun and All-High SchoolOT.com teams … selected to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl … rushed for 785 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior … had 20 receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns … returned three kickoffs for touchdowns … ran for 598 yards on 75 carries as a sophomore and 10 touchdowns, while having 21 catches for 225 yards and a touchdown … four-star ranking by ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals and Scout … No. 46 on ESPN’s Top 300 … RivalsTop300 … No. 12 running back nationally by 247Sports, No. 13 by ESPN, No. 21 by Rivals and No. 26 by Scout … No. 9 ranking in North Carolina by ESPN, No. 11 by 247Sports, No. 13 by Rivals … No. 74 ranking on ESPN Southeast rankings … also offered by Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Minnesota, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State, South Carolina, Syracuse, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech.

This is a four-star, top-50 player and also a pull from North Carolina, where WVU has reinvested itself with Lonnie Galloway and who and what he knows from his home state. Of note: 20-plus receptions each of the last three seasons. Looking at his rushing numbers, he was the guy this past season, a backup/time-share guy the year before and probably more of a backup/time-share guy the year before. But in those two years when he wasn’t asked to run as often, he still caught a lot of passes and returned kicks. that gives you an idea what type of a player he is.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:36 am

This happened today, too.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:31 am

Have you seen what Marshall is going?


Going to have the best class in CUSA and maybe a top-50 class overall. There are some wonderful video game names in there, too.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:26 am

I said earlier the thought was WVU had done enough to secure DTW. I meant this:

Ain’t nothing like family pic.twitter.com/JER14scByk— Donte Williams (@h_donte5) January 29, 2014

That’s three coaches in one living room right at the end of the contact period.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:25 am

Back to DTW, the player. WVU is loaded in the backfield for a few years. Shell and Smallwood are sophomores. I think DTW is more Dreamius Smith than the other two. They could have a very nice thing going, if not this year, than next.

One wonders what Andrew Buie thinks of all this.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:21 am

And you can exhale …

William Crest, QB, 6-2, 210, Baltimore, Md./Dunbar

Three-year starter for coach Lawrence Smith at Dunbar High … 2013 Maryland All-State First Team quarterback … completed 122-of-216 passes for 2,232 yards and 17 touchdowns … ran for 672 yards and eight touchdowns … helped lead the Poets to two state championships (2012, 2011) and three state playoff appearances (2013, 2012, 2011) … as a senior, he led Dunbar to a 9-4 record and a second-round appearance in the state playoffs … selected to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl … Elite 11 regional quarterback … 2012 Maryland All-State Third Team quarterback as a junior … helped lead the Poets to a 13-1 record, the state championship and a No. 12 ranking in the Maryland … four-star rating by ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals and three-star by Scout … No. 40 rated prospect in the East Region by ESPN … No. 231 on Rivals250 list … No. 7-rated dual-threat quarterback by Rivals, No. 11 by ESPN … No. 15 rated pro-style quarterback by 247Sports … No. 32 rated quarterback nationally by Scout … No. 4 rated Maryland prospect by ESPN and No. 5 by 247Sports, Rivals … also offered by Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio State, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

We don’t know what the immediate future holds, and we’re probably silly to say the future is Crest’s after the way the turnstile has spun in shotgun here, but Crest has everything the Mountaineers were looking for. His credentials are legitimate.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:18 am

More on DTW’s attire, because both accuracy and appearances matter:

Oh, for sure.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:14 am

JaJuan Seider responds to the DTW news:

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:13 am

(Never happened, by the way. But let’s not pour water on the young man’s verve)

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:11 am

Meantime, WVU is now at 17 with DTW and this guy …

Amanii Brown, OL, 6-5, 285, Morgantown, W.Va./Morgantown

Three-year letterwinner as an offensive and defensive lineman for coach John Bowers at Morgantown High … played center, tackle and guard, helping lead the Mohigans to an 8-3 record as a senior, No. 3 ranking in the conference and No. 11 in the state according to MaxPreps … 2013 West Virginia Class 3A All-State Second Team Offense … 2013 Morgantown Dominion Post All-Area Team … 2013 All-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Honorable Mention … part of an offensive line that helped pave the way for the Mohigans to average 37.2 points per game, 3,643 rushing yards and 43 touchdowns … finished with 24 tackles, including one sack, 14 tackles for loss and a pass breakup … earned a spot on the 2013 American Family Insurance All-USA West Virginia Football First Team … named the state’s No. 1 player on National Underclassmen Football Combine 2013 rankings … helped lead Morgantown to a 10-3 record as a junior, No. 2 ranking in the conference and No. 5 in the state, advancing to the third round of the state playoffs … three-star ranking by ESPN, 247Sports and Scout and two-star ranking by Rivals … No. 1 ranked player in West Virginia by 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals … No. 23 ranked center nationally by Scout … No. 37 rated offensive guard in the nation by 247Sports … No. 78 rated offensive tackle nationally by ESPN.

He’s not unlike Cajuste in that he’s raw with a lot of potential. He probably looked better as a junior than as a senior, but, as he bio says, he played all over the place as a senior, Hard to find your footing that way.

My favorite part of Brown’s story? He committed over the summer and was obviously content with that. But for fun, he wanted to get a Division I offer as a defensive lineman as a senior.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:04 am

Well, now I’m hearing it was a three-color combo of jacket, vest and slacks with the damn bow tie. The screen on my netbook is not the best. Either way, big ups to DTW.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201411:01 am

DTW FTW! Dude rocked a two-color three-piece suit with a leopard-print bow tie. His WVU hat was in a bag on the table in front of him so as to not give away any secrets.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201410:39 am
Mike Casazza February 5, 201410:38 am

That might be a business venture I undertake this season. What’s the overhead? Your school already has a web site. I’m sure there’s a web cam somewhere in the school. You probably need to pay for a service that links payments for the stream to your account, but that’s cheap.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201410:34 am

For real, we’re not far away from high schools doing this on a pay-per-view. Think people wouldn’t pay $0.99 to watch this? And of you’re a school with even one big-time recruit, you could nab hundreds or thousands of dollars without any effort. It’s easy money.

(I have no idea what the rules are for this.)

Mike Casazza February 5, 201410:32 am

Here’s the high school’s live streak for the Donte Thomas-Williams decision.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201410:31 am

And I just heard this about Crest, likely in response to my “might make you worry” comment. His school had a two-hour delay today.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201410:27 am

The wild card today is Donte Thomas-Williams. His ceremony is at 10:30 a.m.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201410:26 am

Marlon LeBlanc has a signing day today, too. So far, so good.


Mike Casazza February 5, 201410:05 am

Yeah, I’m going to bet that a lot of the campus will disagree with that one, Mrs. Mazey.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201410:03 am

I’m only counting four players who have committed and haven’t sent NLIs: Bill Crest, Jamie Herr, Justin Scott and Amanii Brown.

I suppose Crest might make you worry. But WVU has a good relationship with Herr and his school (same place that gave WVU Wendell Smallwood and Daikiel Shorts). Scott is on Los Angeles, so he’s probably just getting started. Brown is from Morgantown High. That would put WVU at 21 and still waiting on Donte Thomas-Williams.

Mike Casazza February 5, 201410:00 am

Walter Rauterkus, OL, 6-6, 286, Avon, Ohio/Avon

Played offensive tackle and defensive line for coach Mike Elder at Avon High … helped lead Avon to a three-year record of 36-5 with one state championship appearance and two regional finals … 2013 Associated Press All-Ohio Division II Third Team offense … 2013 Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Academic All-Ohio … 2013 Northeast Lakes All-District First Team Offense … 2013 Lorain County co-Offensive Lineman of the Year … 2013 All-Lorain County Offensive Lineman … 2013 Morning Journal All-Star Honorable Mention … helped lead Avon to a 12-1 record, the West Shore Conference Championship and the regional semifinals … part of offensive line that paved the way for the offense to average 37.0 points per game, pass for more than 3,300 yards and run for more than 1,700 yards … had a running back rush for more than 1,100 yards and a 2,500-yard passer … selected to play in the Ohio North-South All-Star game … finished with 50 tackles, including six sacks and nine tackles for loss as a junior … helped lead Avon to an 11-2 record, the West Shore Conference Championship and advance to the third round of the state playoffs … No. 86 on Ohio’s Top 200 players by JJHuddle.com … three-star ranking by ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals and Scout … No. 70 player in Ohio by ESPN, No. 100 by 247Sports … No. 166 in Midwest Region by ESPN … No. 96 offensive tackle nationally by Scout, No. 104 by ESPN, No. 151 by 247Sports … National Honor Society … Carson Scholar … also offered by Ohio.

Another Ohio product and another big lineman. He didn’t have a ton of attention and things didn’t heat up late as some other schools in the area started to poach local prospects committed elsewhere, but WVU got a good look at him at a camp last summer and pulled the trigger. He looks like a solid guy who obviously has a good head on his shoulders. And a good appetite. This from his official visit last month and dinner at Dana’s house:

“They had steaks, chicken parm(esan), lobster mac and cheese and all sorts of stuff,” said Rauterkus. “It was a lot of food. We didn’t starve. That’s for sure.”


Mike Casazza February 5, 20149:51 am

A little more in Townes. This is from the WVU site covering signing day … and even that has no film. But this is a quite from Townes about why he chose WVU:

“I want to say from the depth chart almost every tackle is leaving and I think I have it coming in from the jump. It’s more exciting than anything.”


Mike Casazza February 5, 20149:42 am

I mean …

Tough break. Would have been a nice late pickup RT @mikecasazza: South Dade receiver C.J. Worton ends up picking Florida over WVU.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) February 5, 2014

@Jake_Trotter @mikecasazza SEC $$$$, look no further than UK’s recruiting class. I wish WVU would cheat, it does pay off I.E. Auburn— Don Daniels (@gingEER13) February 5, 2014

Mike Casazza February 5, 20149:39 am

Here’s the Cajuste bio…

Yodny Cajuste, OL, 6-6, 270, Hollywood, Fla./Miramar

Played offensive and defensive line for coach Damon Cogdell at Miramar High … named All-Broward County Third Team … helped lead the Patriots to a 12-1 record, the district championship, the third round of the state 8A playoffs and a No. 13 ranking in the state … helped Miramar average 370 yards a game in total offense and score 48 touchdowns … also played basketball for Miramar … No. 42 on Miami Herald’s Top 100 rankings … No. 16 on the Miami-Herald’s Dade-Broward recruiting rankings … No. 46 on Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel’s Top Broward County prospects … three-star ranking by ESPN, 247Sports and Scout … No. 62 ranking in Florida by 247Sports, No. 111 by Scout and No. 154 by ESPN … No. 40 offensive tackle nationally by 247Sports, No. 78 by ESPN … also offered by Florida, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, Temple and Western Kentucky.

I’m a little surprised they have film on him.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20149:33 am

…sheesh. This Twitter search thing is repulsive. People live and die with this stuff.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20149:32 am

Worton’s star grew in the past two or so months, and probably had something to do with the face he’d been committed to Florida State previously.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20149:29 am

He picked Florida, by the way.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20149:29 am

Oh, man. Friend of mine just emailed me a link to a idiots on Twitter begging C.J. Worton to pick Florida/WVU. That’s ridiculous.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20149:26 am

Daejuan Funderburk, S, 6-1, 180, Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy

Played for coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim at Washington, D.C.’s Friendship Collegiate Academy … team finished with a 6-5 record in 2013 and 8-3 in 2012 … registered 80 tackles, two sacks and had an interception … Rivals ranks him as the No. 38 best safety in the country and No. 4 in D.C. … three-star rating from ESPN, Rivals and Scout … led Friendship Academy to two straight DCSAA title games … team was ranked as the No. 5 team in the DC area … played in the Chesapeake Bowl … also played running back and wide receiver … collected eight tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in a 32-6 win over St. Frances … with him in the secondary, the defensive unit only gave up an average of 16.8 points in 2013 and 14.0 points in 2012 … 70 tackles, and six pass breakups as a junior … 76 tackles, three interceptions, eight TFL as a sophomore to go with 452 rushing yards and six touchdowns at Northwood High in Silver Spring, Md. … No. 74 safety by Scout … also offered by Arizona, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, Nebraska, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

He was one of the late additions to the class, but one that had the Mountaineers excited. He’s really athletic in the back end and just seems like the kind of player WVU could plug in at one of the two safety spots. Funderburk was an OK player early in his career — he was young, so, you know — but seemed to take off when he moved to D.C. and FCA. That’s a good program and Funderburk blossomed there.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20149:08 am

I’ll clear up one thing about the Richardson/Myers “WHO DID MORE FOR WVU’S AIM AND EFFORTS???” conversation. Myers had been committed since July and WVU kept him aboard, but also knew it had one very good cornerback on the hook (again, Gibby knew him from Georgia Military Academy before Myers ever played at Hutchinson). So, certainly, investing in a kid who turned out to he a first-team All-American does a lot.

But Richardson was a guy WVU wanted and, for a time, could not have. Getting him to drop Wisconsin and pick the Mountaineers in December was a pretty significant thing for the overall story WVU was trying to pen with this recruiting class.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20149:02 am

Jaylon Myers, CB, 6-2, 195, North Augusta, S.C./ Hutchinson (Kan.) CC

First Team NJCAA All-American … played for coach Rion Rhoades at Hutchinson Community College … recorded 16 tackles (10 solo), two TFL, six pass breakups, eight interceptions totaling 182 return yards with one touchdown and one forced fumble … his eight interceptions were the most in NJCAA … helped Hutchinson to an 8-4 record in 2013 … defensive unit allowed only 154 passing yards and 16.9 points per game last season … also had two kick returns for 54 yards (27.0 avg.) and nine punt returns for 115 yards and one touchdown… four-star prospect by 247Sports and three-star by ESPN and Rivals … No. 33 rated prospect on 247Sports Top 100 junior college players … No. 45 on Rivals junior college Postseason Top 100 … ranked as the No. 2 JC cornerback nationally by 247Sports and No. 5 by Rivals … No. 6 rated junior college prospect in Kansas by 247Sports and No. 7 by Rivals … spent the 2012 season at Georgia Military Academy … played high school football for coach Dan Pippen at North Augusta High in South Carolina … helped lead team to the Class AAAA Division II state semifinals and finished with seven interceptions as a senior … also played basketball at North Augusta … also offered by Arizona, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgia, LSU, NC State and Oklahoma State.

Arguably (!) the top recruit in the class, he does no less to the recruiting aim and effort than Richardson — and he’s probably a better player than Richardson, too. But WVU wanted to get corners and WVU got one of the best available in junior college. The only pity is he couldn’t get things done in time to enroll for spring football. He’s probably been matured by his experiences. Myers was at a prep school before junior college after he was a highly regarded high school senior in South Carolina. You’d think he wants to make this work ASAP.

Also, Gibby’d.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:55 am

And WVU is already after a few of them.


Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:53 am

All of that said, people have been talking about the 2015 class in Western Pa. for a while now. It’s supposed to be great and getting firm footing now certainly helps. As you can see, there are a lot of uncommitted prospects at the top of the state’s 2015 rankings.


Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:51 am

Back to the Pittsburgh/Pennsylvania thing. Gibby was brought back to get WVU back into Western Pa. You can get our intel wherever you choose, but I choose 247Sports because I have a complimentary account from the Football Writers’ Association of America … and I think they do a good job, too.

But WVU has the best, two of the top 10 and three of the top 16 players in the 2014 class. (Check out No. 25 on the list. The name should be familiar … and his dad will join me on Scoop & Score tomorrow).


Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:49 am

By the way, Worton is supposed to announce at 9 a.m.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:46 am

Jaleel Fields, DE, 6-3, 286, Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa

Four-year starter on the offensive and defensive line for coach Mike Zmijanac at Aliquippa High … two-time Pennsylvania Class 2A All-State First Team Offense … helped lead the Quips to four straight WPIAL championship games … as a senior, helped lead Aliquippa to a 12-1 record and the Class 2A WPIAL championship game … helped pave the way for the offense to rush for 4,167 yards and average 45.8 points per game … part of defense that surrendered only 12.1 points per game and recorded four shutouts … helped lead Aliquippa to a 15-1 record, the WPIAL and PIAA Class 2A title games as a junior … three-time WPIAL Class 2A All-Midwestern Conference … two-time Pittsburgh Post-Gazette West “Fabulous 22” selection … two-time Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s “Terrific 25” … named to Pennsylvania’s Top 45 by National Underclassman Football Combine … WesternPAFootball.net Top Defensive Lineman … helped lead Aliquippa to a 14-1 record, win the WPIAL Championship and advance to the state “Final Four” in 2011 … three-star ranking by ESPN, 247Sports and Scout and two-star ranking by Rivals … No. 25 ranking in Pennsylvania by ESPN, No. 35 by 247Sports … earned a spot on Pennsylvania’s “Finest 47” by 247Sports … No. 49 among defensive ends by 247Sports … No. 81 nationally among defensive tackles by ESPN and No. 84 by Scout … No. 127 in East Region by ESPN … lettered in basketball … also offered by Cincinnati, Connecticut, Pitt, Purdue, Temple and Toledo.

I’m not sure if he’ll play inside or outside, but it seems likely Fields can be a fixture on WVU’s defensive line. His size and strength are probably ahead of the game where WVU defensive line recruits are concerned. Is he tall enough to play outside? And that presumes he actually is 6-3.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:28 am

Also, feel free to toss out some questions, if not for me, then for the press conference with Dana and his assistants later today. Quite likely you know and want to know more about this than I do.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:24 am

This is kind of interesting, I guess. The six players already enrolled are from five states (California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Mississippi). DaeJuan Funderburk’s letter is in. He’s from Washington, D.C., which means WVU’s seven signees already are from D.C., Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Miami and Orlando.

Not bad. And not exactly concentrated, either.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:16 am

Jacob McCrary, WR, 6-0, 182, Miami, Fla./Coral Reef

Starting wide receiver for coach Chevas Clements at Coral Reef High … helped lead the Barracudas to a 6-4 record in 2013 … finished with 28 catches for 505 yards, an 18.0 yards per catch average and four touchdowns … registered three or more catches in six games … had four catches for a season-high 141 yards against Killian … named 2013 Miami Herald All-Dade County Third Team and Honorable Mention in 2012 … earned a spot in the Miami-Dade vs. Team Florida All-Star Game … selected to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl … finished with a team-leading 13 catches for 311 yards, an average of 25.9 yards per catch and five touchdowns in 2012 … as a sophomore, he had 19 catches for 445 yards and four touchdowns to help lead Coral Reef to a 9-3 record and second round of the state playoffs … four-star rating by ESPN, 247Sports and three-star by Rivals and Scout … No. 19 on Miami Herald’s Miami-Dade Top 25 prospects … No. 66 on Miami Herald’s Top 100 Florida Prospects … rated No. 276 overall on ESPN 300 … No. 45 rated prospect in Florida by 247Sports, No. 46 by ESPN, No. 82 by Rivals … No. 39 rated wide receiver nationally by ESPN, No. 52 by 247Sports, No. 79 by Rivals and No. 133 by Scout … No. 134 rated in the Southeast Region by ESPN … also competed in track … also offered by Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, NC State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UCF, UCLA and Washington.

Rather than re-type the things I said about Parker, just go back and re-read what I said about how the qualifications and the competition for his services. He’s also a track guy who can do 11.1 in the 100.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:13 am

Xavier Preston, LB, 6-3, 220, Jensen Beach, Fla./ Jensen Beach

Played for coaches John Fey and Tim Caffey at Jensen Beach High …. accounted for 55 tackles, five TFL, three sacks and three forced fumbles as a senior … had double-figure tackle games of 14, 12 and 11 during his senior season … also recorded six catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns … three-star rating by 247Sports and two-star by Scout… rated as the No. 69 best player at his position and the No. 133 best Florida prospect by 247Sports … helped team to a 5-5 mark in his final season … also played defensive end, receiver and running back during high school career … played in the Miami-Dade vs. Team Florida all-star game … No. 120 on the Orlando Sentinel’s Top Florida player’s list … All-Area Honorable Mention as a junior with 50 tackles, 14 TFL, four sacks, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery … 129 rushing yards and three touchdowns as a junior … participated in basketball while in high school … also offered by Louisville, Rutgers, UCF, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.

One more from the Orlando area and one more guy who played all over the place in high school. I’m curious to see if he’s a safety or a linebacker or a hybrid for WVU.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:11 am

Dontae Angus, OL, 6-6, 330, Philadelphia, Pa./Martin Luther King

Starter on offensive and defensive lines for coach Ed Dunn at Martin Luther King High … helped lead the Cougars to a 12-2 record in 2013, won the Philadelphia Public School 3A championship and made an appearance in the first round of the state playoffs … earned 2013 Pennsylvania Class 3A All-State Second Team offensive line honors … 2013 Philadelphia High School Coaches’ 3A All-Public School Team (OL/DL) … selected Philadelphia Inquirer All-Southeastern Pennsylvania Second Team offensive line … 2013 Philadelphia Daily News All-Public School Second Team defensive line … helped pave the way for the offense to average 39.0 points per game and rushed for more than 2,000 yards … was part of a defensive line that helped hold its opponents to 16.5 points per game … played for the North team in the 2013 Chesapeake Bowl … No. 8 on Pennsylvania’s Top 45 by National Underclassman Football Combine … No. 8 on Pennsylvania’s Top 50 by College Football Blog … three-star ranking by ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals and Scout … No. 10 in Pennsylvania by ESPN, No. 11 by 247Sports … No. 25 on Pennsylvania’s Top 40 by Rivals … No. 29 top offensive tackle by ESPN, No. 34 by 247Sports and No. 36 by Scout … also offered by Florida, Purdue, Rutgers and Temple.

And, bam, there’s your first stunner of the day. Angus was committed to Florida. He’s enormous, if you didn’t notice, but also a rare Philadelphia player. But with Angus this year and Daryl Worley last year, WVU is trying to turn a corner there. And Cajuste tried to warn you about the Mountaineers flipping Gators…

Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:07 am

Lamar Parker, WR, 5-9, 170, Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington

Starting wide receiver for coach Tim Harris at Booker T. Washington High … helped lead the Tornadoes to a 14-0 record in 2013, the Florida 4A state championship and the national championship … finished his career with 2,198 receiving yards on 132 catches and 23 touchdowns … registered 2,789 all-purpose yards … had 43 receptions for 761 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior, as well as two kick returns for touchdowns … 2013 Florida Class 4A All-State Honorable Mention … two-time Miami Herald All-Dade Football 5A First Team Offense … played in the 2013 Nike South Florida All-Star game … No. 17 on Miami Herald’s Top 25 football prospects in Miami-Dade area … No. 85 on Florida’s Top 100 players by Miami Herald … had 41 catches for 618 yards and five touchdowns as a junior … four-star ranking by ESPN and three-star by Rivals, 247Sports and Scout … ranked No. 222 on ESPN’s Top 300 national player rankings … rated the No. 38 top player in Florida by ESPN, No. 74 by 247Sports, No. 92 on Rivals Florida Top 100 … named No. 30 on ESPN’s top wide receivers nationally, No. 77 by Rivals … No. 113 in the Southeast Region by ESPN … also offered by Boston College, Cincinnati, Florida State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Utah and Western Kentucky.

Well, a lot of people wanted Lamar Parker, including Texas A&M, which has a silly group of receivers in the 2014 class. This is just a top 300 player nationally and a top 75 player in Florida. Who played at Booker T. Washington. And won a national title. He’ll do things inside or outside for WVU.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:03 am

Tyree Owens, DL, 6-3, 260, Oviedo, Fla./Oviedo

Played for coach Wes Allen at Oviedo High … helped lead the Lions to a 6-4 record in 2013 … finished with 68 tackles, including three sacks and 10 tackles for loss as a senior … also had a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and blocked a kick … named two-time Orlando Sentinel All-Area Second Team defensive line … earned a spot on the 2013 All-Seminole Athletic Conference First Team defense … selected to play in the Central Florida All-Star Game … named player of the game against Seminole, finishing with 16 tackles, including 10 solo stops, four tackles for loss, a sack and two fumble recoveries … second-leading tackler for Oviedo as a junior, collecting 78 tackles, including six sacks … helped lead Oviedo to an 11-2 record and advance to the third-round of the state playoffs … No. 13 rated prospect by Orlando Sentinel on its Central Florida Super60 … No. 75 on Orlando Sentinel’s Top 100 Florida prospects … three-star rating by ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals and Scout … No. 46 rated defensive end by 247Sports, No. 82 by Scout and No. 121 by ESPN … No. 148 rated prospect in Florida by 247Sports, No. 200 by ESPN … also offered by Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Minnesota, NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest and Wisconsin.

WVU is getting some good players from the Orlando area lately (K.J. Dillon, Karl Joseph) and Owens is one more. He’s also another of those OLB/DE bodies WVU likes and, I’ve heard, a really bright kid.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20148:00 am

Dravon Henry, CB, 5-11, 185, Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa

Four-year star defensive back and running back for coach Mike Zmijanac at Aliquippa High … two-time Pennsylvania Class 2A All-State First Team, 2013 as athlete and 2012 at defensive back … earned a spot on the 2013 All-USA Today All-State Football First Team running back … selected as the 2014 Pittsburgh Athletic Association Mercury Award recipient, honoring the top high school football player in Western Pennsylvania … helped lead the Quips to four straight WPIAL championship games … as a senior, helped lead Aliquippa to a 12-1 record and advance to the Class 2A WPIAL championship game … finished his career with 5,454 rushing yards on 588 carries, an average of 9.3 yards per carry … two-time Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 selection … three-time Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Terrific 25 … three-time WPIAL Class 2A All-Midwestern Conference … as a senior, he had 1,242 yards on 99 carries, an average of 12.5 yards per carry, and scored a touchdown five different ways … helped lead Aliquippa to a 15-1 record, the WPIAL and PIAA Class 2A title games as a junior … as a junior, he rushed for 1,857 yards and 29 touchdowns … finished with nine interceptions … as a sophomore, he helped lead Aliquippa to a 14-1 record, win the WPIAL Championship and advance to the state “Final Four” in 2011 … WesternPAFootball.net Top defensive back … National Underclassman Football Combine Top 30 East and No. 2 on Pennsylvania’s Top 45 … four-star ranking by ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals and Scout … ranked No. 140 nationally on ESPN Top 300, No. 142 by 247Sports … No. 167 in Rivals Top 250 and No. 177 on Scout’s Top 300… No. 11-ranked athlete nationally by 247Sports and No. 17 by ESPN … No. 16 safety by Rivals and No. 17 cornerback by Scout … No. 1 in Pennsylvania by ESPN, 247Sports and No. 2 by Rivals … No. 11 in East Region by ESPN … also offered by Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Connecticut, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Fla., Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, NC State, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

The first of the not-enrolled commits to get their letters in today, I have to think this was one guy that could have maybe possibly surprised people and changed his mind. There were no real indications, mind you, but it seemed to be that Henry picking WVU was a little surprising before, and thus tenuous. Getting his NLI in early erases all of that. Again, depends who you talk to, but this is one of the three or five best players in the class and a guy who could be good enough to play cornerback this season. Back in the day, I bet he’d get moved to slot receiver.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20147:34 am

Sylvester Townes, OT, 6-6, 285, Memphis, Tenn./Coahoma Community College

Enrolled at WVU in January 2014 … played two seasons for coach Freeman Horton at Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, Miss. … leader of the offensive line … named to the All-Region 23 First Team Offense and the All-State North Division First Team offense in 2013 … previously a three-year starter for coach Charlie White at Germantown High … played in the 2011 AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game … named to the 2011 Commercial Appeal Best of the Preps Tennessee County Team … three-star prospect according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout … No. 97 on the Rivals junior college Postseason Top 100 … also offered by Kentucky, Texas Tech and USF.

This is one of the guys I really don’t know a lot about — I’d never heard of Coahoma before, to be honest. But 6-6, 285 is 6-6, 285 and the Mountaineers need tackles. Adam Pankey can play, but on what side? And who’s the other tackle?

Mike Casazza February 5, 20147:34 am

Ricky Rogers, WR, 6-1, 200, Monroeville, Pa./Gateway

Enrolled at WVU in January 2014 … played for coach Don Militzer at Gateway High … helped lead Gateway to an 8-3 record as a senior, tie for second in the WPIAL 4A standings and the second round of the state playoffs in 2013 … 2013 WPIAL Class 4A All-Foothills Conference First Team offense … WesternPAFootball.net top wide receiver … finished with 32 catches for 449 yards, an average of 14.0 yards per catch and four touchdowns … PennLive.com Pennsylvania 2014 Fab 25 …named to Pennsylvania’s Top 45 by National Underclassman Football Combine … as a junior, finished with nine catches for 193 yards, 21.4 yards per catch average and three touchdowns … played at Keystone Oaks as a sophomore and finished with 30 catches for 504 yards and four touchdowns … three-star ranking by ESPN, 247Sports Rivals and Scout … No. 7 in state by ESPN.com, No. 10 in state by 247Sports and No. 20 on state’s top 35 by Rivals … earned a spot on Pennsylvania’s “Finest 47” by 247Sports … No. 54 ranked in the East Region by ESPN … No. 68 wide receiver nationally by ESPN, No. 77 wide receiver by Scout and No. 94 wide receiver by Rivals … also offered by Pitt, Rutgers and Toledo.

Nobody has been committed to WVU longer and not many others have tried to add to the recruiting class like Rodgers. I’ve heard from a few people he would have had more offers had he not been so clearly bound for Morgantown and for so long. And again, because he’s here, he has a real chance to play right away. He’s probably pegged for the outside, but you do wonder if he’s a little like Daikiel Shorts and plays inside just because he can play.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20147:34 am

Keishawn Richardson, CB, 5-10, 170, Putnam City, Okla./Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College

Enrolled at WVU in January 2014 … played two seasons for coach Sherard Poteete at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Okla. … made 39 tackles with nine pass breakups and two interceptions in 2013 … averaged 23.2 yards per kick return … named All-Southwest Junior Football Conference Honorable Mention as a defensive back and specialist in 2013 … ranked second on the team with 85 tackles in 2012 … also had one sack, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions and six pass breakups … previously a quarterback and safety at Putnam City High … three-star prospect according to Scout and ESPN … No. 97 rated JC prospect on 247Sports Top 100 JC players … 247Sports No. 11 cornerback recruit … 247sports No. 1 Oklahoma junior college recruit … also offered by Arizona State, Indiana, Iowa State, Nebraska, TCU, Texas Tech and Wisconsin.

Maybe as much as any other player, Richardson individually helps WVU accomplish one recruiting goal. The Mountaineers wanted cornerbacks and ones who can play right away. Flipping Richardson from Wisconsin and getting him enrolled was a big deal. Another high school quarterback, Richardson might also help WVU in kickoff returns, which would be another needed bonus.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20147:34 am

Edward Muldrow, LB, 6-3, 215, Snellville, Ga./Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) CC

Enrolled at WVU in January 2014 … originally signed with South Carolina and redshirted as a true freshman … played for coach Glenn Davis at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Miss. … registered 56 tackles as a sophomore, including 38 unassisted, 4.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble … finished with five or more tackles in seven games … collected nine stops, including seven solo, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble against Northeast Mississippi … had 12 tackles, including nine unassisted stops, two pass breakups and a tackle for loss against Jones … as a freshman, he compiled 19 tackles, including 14 unassisted tackles, four sacks, six tackles for loss and a pass breakup … three-star linebacker prospect by ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals and Scout … No. 81 on 247Sports JC Postseason Top 100 and No. 86 on Rivals JC Postseason Top 100 … played linebacker for coach John Small at South Gwinnett High School in Snellville, Ga… helped lead South Gwinnett to a 10-3 record and a 7-1 mark in the league as a senior and advance to the second round of the state championships … coming out of high school, he was rated a three-star prospect, the 49th-best outside linebacker in the country and the 42nd-best player in Georgia by Rivals… regarded as a three-star prospect and the 30th-best outside linebacker by Scout… a three-star prospect, according to 247Sports … named to PrepStar’s All-Southeast Region class … also offered by Arkansas, Arizona State, Kansas and Oregon.

At one time, this was among the most sought-after players in the Class. He had a good list of offers, but previously, before junior college, picked South Carolina over Clemson, Arkansas, Florida State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, North Carolina and WVU. He redshirted with the Gamecocks and was actually going to play free safety there, so let’s see where he goes with Keith Patterson.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20147:33 am

Davonte James, LB, 6-1, 233, Springfield, Ohio/Springfield

Enrolled at WVU in January 2014 … played quarterback and linebacker for coach Eric Gillespie at Springfield High … finished with 32 tackles, including 19 solo, two forced fumbles and had one recovery … returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown … had a season-high seven tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery against Northmont … registered five or more tackles in four games … named all-area second team … 2013 Southwest All-District Honorable Mention … 2013 All-Greater Western Ohio Conference Second Team … as a junior, he registered 60 tackles, including 37 unassisted, forced one fumble, recovered two fumbles and returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown … had a season-high 21 tackles, including 16 assisted against Centerville … also had 12 solo stops at Wayne … finished with 52 tackles and one interception as a sophomore … four-star ranking by ESPN and 247Sports … three-star ranking by Scout and Rivals … No. 72 on Rivals Top 80 Ohio prospects … No. 123 by Scout … No. 279 on ESPN Top 300 … No. 9 in state of Ohio, No. 32 in Midwest region and No. 20 outside linebacker in nation by ESPN … No. 17 in state of Ohio and No. 18 inside linebacker nationally by 247Sports … also offered by Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue and Washington State.

I have to admit, his highlight reel is fun. He was the quarterback and middle linebacker, in Centerville, Ohio, no less, so you know he an go.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20147:33 am

Skyler Howard, QB, 5-11, 200, Fort Worth, Texas/Riverside City (Calif.) College

Enrolled at WVU in January 2014 … earned starting quarterback job as a freshman at Riverside City College in Riverside, Calif., for coach Tom Craft … helped lead Riverside to a 10-2 record, the National Division Central Conference Championship and advance to an appearance in the California State Championship game … completed 219-of-325 passes (67.4 percent) for 3,151 yards and 33 touchdowns … fourth-leading rusher on the team, finishing with 343 yards on 108 carries, an average of 3.2 yards per attempt, and five touchdowns … averaged 262.6 yards per game and 9.7 yards per attempt and only threw six interceptions … completed 17-of-19 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns against Golden West in the Southern California Bowl Game … threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 39 yards against Mt. San Antonio in the conference championship game … completed 27-of-35 passes for a season-high 448 yards and a season-high seven touchdowns against Los Angeles Harbor … completed a season-high 28-of-41 passes for 296 yards and four touchdowns against Desert College … threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more against El Camino in a 48-25 victory … ran for a season-high 75 yards on 12 attempts, a 6.2 yards per rush average at Palomar … played at Brewer High for coach Paul Sharr … named 2012 All-District 5-4A First Team offense … completed 126-of-238 passes for 1,377 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior … also ran for 597 yards on 120 carries, averaging 5.0 yards per rush and scored eight touchdowns … during his three-year career, threw for 4,171 yards and 32 touchdowns … also ran for 1,268 yards and 13 touchdowns … JCGridiron.com ranks Howard as its No. 4 dual-threat junior college quarterback in 2014 … three star dual-threat quarterback prospect according to rivals, 247Sports, Scout and ESPN … No. 56 on 247Sports JC Postseason Top 100, No. 93 on Rivals’ Postseason Top 100 … also offered by New Mexico State and San Diego State.

He’s probably going to be one of the most discussed and polarizing players in the class. His tape looks pretty good, but, again, Howard is going to be great if Shannon Dawson can find ways to get receivers open 10 yards beyond the defense.

At minimum, he’s more mobile than Millard and Trickett and WVU really does need that element in the offense — just someone who can move around and do something with the feet to do something with the arm. If you think about it, Trickett distinguished himself from Millard because he could do more outside of the pocket. It remains likely Trickett won’t do much of anything in the spring, so Howard will have a really good look at it for 15 practices.

Mike Casazza February 5, 20147:32 am

Let’s begin with the players already enrolled. Each fits a need, which helps because each is able to participate in spring football.

57 Responses to “Rise and sign!”

  1. smeer says:

    telling I think – and a lesson well learned . . .

    early on Dana had his sights set on trying to lure some/many Texas product east to the mountains – with little to show for it.

    as he’s become acclimated to the East Coast, I think he’s learned that he can do a lot better being near-sighted (MD, PA, DC, OH) and south-sighted (FL) and has hired the coaches to give him that edge.

    to add to this wonderful change in perspective is a line he shared with 93.7 the fan . . .

    “Head Coach Dana Holgorsen joined Starkey and Mueller to talk about his teams recruiting class including how he lured Dravon Henry away from Pitt.

    “There’s a couple of factors for it. Our philosophy really hasn’t changed here over the last several years. A lot of good players in the surrounding states and we just got something to sell that a lot of other teams on this part of the country don’t have to sell which is the Big 12.” ”

    these are the magic words I was hoping for – we have a monopoly on the East Coast with our only competition being some SEC teams that venture north and perhaps now PSU with their new coaching staff.

    that’s not to say, he won’t push again into the Lone Star State but it will probably be when we can offer more than our league mates (aka facilities and playing for an NC)

    now we just need to coach them up – we have a history of doing more with less, but this new conference puts extra pressure on our unproven coaching staff.

    hope springs eternal on signing day and a top 40 class.

  2. Mack says:

    Like someone said, you can sign 25 per class, but there is an overall limit of 85. Holgorsen mentioned that they’re going to spring ball (I.e., without the incoming freshmen and outgoing seniors) with 70+ players… so they have to be close to the overall limit of 85. Players drop out of the program all the time so it’s probably difficult to ever actually have 85 scholarship players.

    Also, regarding facilities, Holgorsen wasn’t requesting a large fountain to be placed in the foyer of the Puskar Center. He wants a bigger team meeting room, turf for the practice field, etc. Those seem to be more along the lines of “coaching” things than “recruiting” things. I think Angus mentioned the weight room was bigger/better here. Well, that was just renovated a year ago so it makes sense that it would stand out.

  3. smeer says:

    hey – where’s my other comment?

    just heard coach say in his interview with Caridi – in reference to having to throw kids onto the field before they were ready due to lack of depth . . .

    “probably won’t have to do that the rest of my coaching career” – DH

    shall we probe and analyze that?

    in this moment – sounds like DH plans to retire here.

    yeah things change (Fraud), but that – I thought – was a pretty amazing statement

  4. Josh24601 says:

    No game thread, huh?

  5. pknocker40 says:

    Paul Millard’s trying out for the baseball team? Bet he throws a mean ephus pitch

  6. Parks says:

    Smeer–I don’t want to probe ANYTHING.

  7. SheikYbuti says:

    pknocker wins the internet.