Early Signing Period: Preview of the Mountaineers’ 2019 Recruiting Class

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five worst losses of the holgorsen era
File photo. West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As bowl season gets underway, coaching staffs are pounding the pavement getting in the last few visits before the first round of college football recruiting. The Mountaineers are no exception. Indeed, Head Coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff look to fill some critical needs in this class. Here, we give you a preview of what the Mountaineers’ 2019 recruiting class may look like after next week’s Early Signing Period. This year, the early period begins on December 19 and ends on December 21. The majority of high school recruits are expected to sign during this period.

<h3>Recent Changes To The Mountaineers’ Board</h3>

Since our early-season recruiting update, the Mountaineers have lost five commitments:  Lee Kpogba, Amir Richardson, La’Darius Henry, Deshon Stoudemire, and Dewayne Grantham. These things happen, of course.  West Virginia, however, also picked up commitments from some big targets since our last update.  In fact, in just the past few days, the Mountaineers picked pledges from Dreshun Miller, who flipped to West Virginia from LSU, and Terrence Dotson, a speedy wide receiver out of Florida. Earlier this season, West Virginia also picked up a commitment from speedy Junior College edge rusher Taijh Alston.

<h3>The Current List</h3>

As it stands now, the Mountaineers’ 2019 recruiting class is as follows.

Player Position State Rivals 247Sports ESPN
Isaiah Hazel WR MD 4 4 4
Osita Smith S MD 3 4 4
Dreshun Miller CB GA 4 4 4
Tykee Smith S PA 4 3 3
Winston Wright WR/ATH GA 3 3 3
Terrence Dotson WR FL 3 3 3
Parker Moorer DE/OL NC 3 3 3
Donavan Beaver OL VA 3 3 3
Tony Mathis RB GA 3 3 3
Nicktroy Fortune CB/ATH GA 3 3 3
Jalen Thornton DE OH 3 3 3
Kerry Martin S WV 3 3 3
Jared Bartlett LB GA 3 3 3
Kolton McGhee K PA 3 3 3
Taijh Alston DE NC 3 N/A N/A
Brandon Yates OL NV 2 3 3

 

Assuming that rising senior linebacker David Long returns to Morgantown next season, the Mountaineers have 63 returning scholarship players. Based on the number of scholarship players they signed last year, the Mountaineers have a cap of 23 scholarship players they can sign this season. Recall, though, that any transfers into the program count towards that cap of 23. So far, the Mountaineers have 16 commitments.

For a positional analysis, the following chart breaks down the players eligible to return to Morgantown next season by position and also shows the totals if the current commitments hold.

Position Total Returning Total with Commits
QB 2 2
RB 4 5
WR 9 12
TE 3 3
FB 1 1
OL 12 14
DT 2 2
DE 6 9
LB 11 12
CB 5 7
S 7 10
K 1 2

 

What’s Next?

Over the next ten days, it is possible that the Mountaineers lose one of their wide receiver commitments. But it is also likely that West Virginia lands at least a few more highly-ranked recruits. Names to watch for (in no particular order) are Brian Merritt, DT; RaJae Johnson, WR; Ali Jennings, WR; Tavian Mayo, CB; Jamel Starks, ATH; Marlin Devonshire, CB; and Johnny Dixon, CB.

Based on needs, fans can expect the West Virginia to either make a late push for a high school quarterback or look to add one or two transfers at the position. If they go the transfer route, the Mountaineers would likely prefer to add a graduate transfer and an undergraduate transfer who would have to sit for a year. There are indeed some names floating around here, but it is indeed too early to speculate on this front.

West Virginia will also look to add 2 to 3 defensive tackles, and a couple more offensive linemen. There are also some skill position players available on the transfer market, particularly a few marquee receivers, that may give West Virginia’s high-flying offense a second look. Fans will know more by the end of the day on December 21, when the early signing period leaves them with a better look at what needs remain.

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