That right there is the list of players committed to West Virginia’s 2015 recruiting class following a major weekend with a lot of visitors on campus. (h/t Rivals.com for having the only list I could fit into the blog). That list grew by one when offensive lineman Rob Dowdy, only one of the top prospects in all of Ohio, pledged following his weekend visit. It figures to grow and shrink some more. Khalil Lewis, for example, is looking around. He might sign gold and blue. He might not. Other kids there might get flipped at the last second. WVU might win in the 11th hour and flip some other kids. A few players, running backs and receivers probably most notable among them, will wait until signing day, or darn close, to pick between a final list of schools. And then there’s always a surprise, and Ryan Dorchester wants so badly to fly a B-52 in under the radar.
Let’s not forget, either, that quarterbacks Chris Chugunov and Davis Sills are already enrolled and will sign on signing day, and junior college defensive end Larry Jefferson and junior college cornerback Rasul Douglas have signed letters of intent (Jefferson is already enrolled). They’re not included on that list of 17 players. So WVU is at 21 (ish?) as I type.
Twenty-one is a really healthy number for WVU. And 21 is a potentially problematic number for WVU. Remember, last season was the first time Dana Holgorsen’s program hit its head on the scholarship ceiling. It handed out all 85. True, some were, for lack of a better word, solids to a kid who had put in the work and earned some relief during his senior season, but WVU was close and WVU remains close.
As near as I can tell, because WVU likes to keep this close to the vest of obvious reasons this time of the year, this is the roster-on-scholarship situation.
Senior: Paul Millard
Junior: Skyler Howard
Redshirt freshman (assuming the medical hardship waiver is approved): W.V. Crest
Freshman: Chugunov, Sills
Running backs (5)
Seniors: Andrew Buie, Dustin Garrison,
Junior: Rushel Shell, Wendell Smallwood
Redshirt freshman: Donte Thomas-Williams
Fullback or tight end or H-back (3)
Senior: Cody Clay, Garrett Hope
Sophomore: Elijah Wellman
Offensive line (13)
Senior: Russell Haughton-James, Marquis Lucas, Stone Underwood
Junior: Kyle Bosch (just transferred in from Michigan, must sit out the 2015 season), Tony Matteo, Tyler Orlosky, Adam Pankey, Sylvester Townes
Sophomore: Marcel Lazard, Grant Lingafelter, Tyler Tezeno
Redshirt freshman: Amanii Brown, Yodny Cajuste
Senior: K.J. Myers, Jordan Thompson
Junior: Vernon Davis, Devonte Mathis, Daikiel Shorts
Sophomore: Shelton Gibson, Jacky Marcellus
Redshirt freshman: Lamar Parker, Ricky Rogers
Defensive line (9)
Senior: Eric Kinsey, Kyle Rose
Junior: Christian Brown, Darrien Howard, Noble Nwachukwu, Jefferson
Redshirt freshman: Dontae Angus, Jaleel Fields, Tyree Owens
Senior: Jared Barber, Isaiah Bruce, Nick Kwiatkoski, Edward Muldrow III, Shaq Petteway
Junior: Sean Walters
Sophomore: Al-Rasheed Benton, Hodari Christian, Michael Ferns (just transferred in from Michigan, must sit out the 2015 season), Marvin Gross, Xavier Preston
Senior: Terrell Chestnut, Jaylon Myers, Keishawn Richardson, Ricky Rumph
Junior: Douglas, Nana Kyeremeh, Daryl Worley
Senior: K.J. Dillon, Karl Joseph, Dayron Wilson
Junior: Jarrod Harper, Jeremy Tyler
Sophomore: Malik Greaves, Dravon Henry
Redshirt freshman: DaeJuan Funderburk
Senior: John DePalma (long snapper), Nick O’Toole
Junior: Josh Lambert
I did the math. That’s 73 players on scholarship already for the 2015 season (Aside: Look how many seniors are lined up for the next two classes … and then how many aren’t lined up for two classes after those.) If just the players committed today came to campus, WVU has 90 promised scholarships — or five more than the NCAA permits.
This is, on the surface, a bad spot to be in, but it’s also a position of strength. WVU doesn’t need 25 kids to hit 85 scholarships. It’s also not rare across the country. It’s just sort of new here because of inherited circumstances that took time to cure. There are some creative things schools and players can do to make it work, and some of those ideas may come to life because for as long as Holgorsen has been at WVU, he’s never told a kid on scholarship, “Sorry, you’re not good enough. We’re going to need that free ride for someone else.” Granted, he’s never been in this particular situation, but they really like saying they’ve never done that, and it’s genuine because you don’t want to do that. It’s hard to foresee a situation where he breaks stride five times. Or more. You might see some kids transfer out — they know the score and they want to play — and you might see some of the commits change their minds — they also know the score and want to play — and you might see a situation where a kid is made aware of the situation awaiting him at WVU and is kindly encouraged to look somewhere else and you might see some commits not qualify academically. Either way, something is bound to happen. Expect the 73 and/or the 17 to change because 85 does not.