MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: (L-R) Will Clarke #98, J.D. Woods #81 and Shawne Alston #20 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates with teamates after Alston scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
A BCS bowl win is paying off for Dana Holgorsen's Mountaineers on the recruiting trail.
This West Virginia football recruiting National Signing Day preview is provided by SB Nation's excellent West Virginia site, The Smoking Musket. Looking for National Signing Day coverage of other teams or recruits? Head to SB Nation College Football Recruiting.
Call it the calm before the storm that is Wednesday's National Signing Day extravaganza, but there really hasn't been much to report on the recruiting front since last week's update. I really thought we would start to hear some news with this being the last weekend for official visits, even despite the lack of a home basketball game to entertain recruits. Sure, there are rumblings here and there (which we'll get to in a minute), but nothing confirmed in terms of official visitors, verbal commitments or de-commitments, or anything of the like.
So what, exactly, is going on as we count down to Wednesday?
JT Washington evidently made an official visit to Arizona over the weekend. I find that to be strange, because he's been with WVU for a while and I thought he was done with his recruitment. I don't think his visit has anything to do with WVU backing off, but frankly, he's the one RB recruit I'm least concerned about losing.
Trae Clark took an official to Ohio University and is now listed as a verbal there. While I've long expected him to end up in blue and gold, there may be some grade issues holding him back. If you're going to a MAC school, though, Ohio U isn't a bad choice. They've been decent since Frank "The Tank" Solich took over as head ball coach, and the party scene is right up there with Morgantown.
Nate Smith supposedly visited Temple this weekend. I'm officially perplexed. It's not like Philly is a nice place to visit in January ... or ever. If you're going to take a last minute official visit, San Diego State, Houston, and Florida Atlantic would all offer better vacation destinations. I'm not too worried, but stranger things have happened.
Several people asked about WVU's chances of poaching a recruit from Rutgers after Greg Schiano took the Tampa Bay Bucs job. From what I gather, that's not likely. The Mountaineers really weren't recruiting many of the same players to begin with, and at this late stage, WVU has its attention on other targets.
Oh, yes, the big board. Let's jump to it:
Here's the key: (number of players counting toward the 2012 class in parentheses, players who have already enrolled are in plain text, commits are in bold, de-commits are in strikethru, and new additions are in italics):
QB (1) - Ford Childress, Brandon Napoleon
RB (3) -
Albert Reid, JT Washington, Roshard Burney, Torry Clayton
WR (4) - Deontay McManus, Devonte Robinson, Darreall Joyner, Devonte Mathis,
Danny McKinney (JC),Jordan Thompson
OL (4) - Tyler Orlosky, Tony Matteo, Will Johnson, Mark Glowinski
DL (3) - Korey Harris, Noble Nwachukwu,
Bret Niederreither, Imarjaye Albury, Christian Brown
LB (2) - Sam Lebbie, Garrett Hope
S (3) - Jarrod Harper,
Trevor Williams, Chaz Whittaker, Nate Smith, Kimlon Dillon, Sean Walters, Karl Joseph
CB (1) -
Da'Quan Davis, Nana Kyeremeh
So what are we looking at for the next couple days in terms of possible additions?
LB Daysean Rippy tweeted that he will choose between WVU and Pitt. He previously mentioned something about WVU fans gloating too much about the Orance Bowl win. Rippy is a talent and would be a great addition to the class, but if he doesn't like it when fans gloat about BCS wins, then he would fit right in at Pitt where they not only lack fans to gloat about BCS wins, they don't have any BCS wins to gloat about.
WR Joel Caleb is still high on WVU's list. I mentioned WVU and VT, but apparently Ohio State is making a late push as well. He will announce on Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed, as WVU's WR corps would be bursting with talent if they reeled him in.
OL Adam Pankey is still on the fence between WVU and Pitt. Maybe he enjoys gloating about BCS bowl wins?
LB Schyler Miles has reportedly made a decision, but will not announce it until signing day. The good guys are in the mix here.
There are a couple players who have previously verballed to SEC programs who could end up in Morgantown. I don't want to throw their names out there at this point for fear of jeopardizing anything, but if they do end up here, it would be a good sign. It's always fun to pluck guys from SEC country.
Finally, there may be a few surprises that even I don't know anything about. That's just the nature of the game. And when I say surprises, they could be good or bad. I will say this, though: after the Orange Bowl, high school kids have noticed what Holgy has going on in Morgantown. WVU is a hot name again, and that can only mean good things on the recruiting trail. Even if the Mountaineers don't land everyone we're after, the Mountaineers will be in good shape. You can count on that.
Be sure to check back often on Wednesday for full National Signing Day coverage and updates on letters of inent as they roll in.