Mountaineers’ Early-Season Recruiting Efforts

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Mountaineers' early-season recruiting efforts
The West Virginia Mountaineers prepare to take the field prior to the college football game between the Youngstown State Penguins and the West Virginia Mountaineers on September 8, 2018, at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV. West Virginia defeated Youngstown State 52-17. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The West Virginia Mountaineers’ early-season recruiting efforts continue paying dividends. In fact, West Virginia needs only a few commitments to close in on a top 25 recruiting class. And, several important pieces on the Mountaineers’ recruiting board may commit in the near future.

As discussed here, West Virginia has steadily improved its baseline level of talent under Head Coach Dana Holgorsen. And the Mountaineers look to continue that trend. Currently, Holgorsen’s staff is bringing in only one blue-chip recruit less than they will lose to expired eligibility this season. Meanwhile, the staff is actively pursuing a few more blue-chip recruits over the coming months.

Building off of Early Success

After returning home from the season-opener in Charlotte, in fact, Coach Holgorsen told the media: “I’ve had a few kids call me [after the game].” He continued, “the game was great for recruiting,” but he admits the team should have been selling its Power Five matchup in North Carolina several years ago. Nonetheless, West Virginia still added an offensive lineman from Charlotte to its class the day after its season opener.

West Virginia opens its 2020 season against Florida State in Atlanta. Learning from the “mistake,” Holgorsen and cornerbacks coach Doug Belk, has focused heavily on recruiting the state of Georgia over the past couple of seasons. As a result, the Mountaineers currently have five commitments from Georgia for its 2019 class, more than any other state. West Virginia pulled in four recruits from Georgia just a season ago, including former four-star Ohio State enrollee Joshua Norwood.

In just the past several weeks, the Mountaineers have added five important pieces to its class in Tykee Smith, Osita Smith, Parker MoorerTony Mathis, and Brandon Yates. Two of those pieces are currently blue-chip recruits, by at least one major recruiting service. Tykee Smith is a strong, hard-hitting, safety out of Philadelphia. Smith offers the prototypical frame and skill set to play the spur position in Tony Gibson’s defense. Osita Smith is a bigger-bodied athlete out of Maryland who will likely compete at safety as well. The staff also added Moorer out of Charlotte as its second offensive line prospect in the class. Georgia running back Mathis committed to the program in late August. Finally, the Mountaineers added offensive lineman Yates to the class just last night.

The Names

Seventeen recruits have thus far committed to attend West Virginia University next season. The names, positions, states, and respective ranking from each major service appears in the chart below. The chart includes the specific 247Sports rank, not the composite rank, for that service.

Name Position State 247 Rank ESPN Rank Rivals Rank
Isaiah Hazel WR MD 4* 4* 4*
Lee Kpogba LB NC 3* 3* 4*
Tykee Smith S PA 3* 3* 4*
Osita Smith S MD 4* 4* 3*
Winston Wright ATH GA 3* 3* 3*
Parker Moorer OL NC 3* 3* 3*
Donavan Beaver OL VA 3* 3* 3*
Amir Richardson S WV 3* 3* 3*
La’Darius Henry CB FL 3* 3* 3*
Tony Mathis RB GA 3* 3* 3*
Nicktroy Fortune CB GA 3* 3* 3*
Jalen Thornton DE OH 3* 3* 3*
Kerry Martin S WV 3* 3* 2*
Deshon Stoudemire WR GA 3* 3* 3*
Jared Bartlett LB GA 3* 3* 3*
Kolton McGhee K PA 3* 3* 2*
Dewayne Grantham OLB WV 3* 3* 2*
Brandon Yates OL NV 3* N/A 2*

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