December 1, 2011; Tampa, FL, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers helmet on the bench during the second half against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. West Virginia Mountaineers defeated the South Florida Bulls 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

West Virignia Football Recruiting: Recapping the Mountaineers Recruiting Class

Yesterday was a big day for the West Virginia Mountaineers. WVU signed 25 players to letters of intent (LOIs), a class that shaped up to be the best recruiting class the Mountaineers have had in recent memory.

Using a composite star rating (average of ESPN and Scout), this is how the Mountaineers class breaks down:

  • QB(1): 3-star (C. Rawlins)
  • RB(2): 3.5-star (D. Smith), 3-star (W. Smallwood)
  • RB/WR(1): 3.5-star (M. Alford)
  • WR(4): 4-star (S. Gibson), 3-star (R. Carswell), 3-star (D. Shorts), 2.5-star (K. White)
  • OL(4): 3.5-star (M. Lazard), 3-star (T. Tezeno), 2.5-star (G. Lingafelter), 2-star (S. Underwood)
  • DL(2): 3-star (M. Gross), 2.5-star (D. Hyman)
  • LB(6): 4-star (D. Howard), 3.5-star (A. Benton), 3-star (H. Christian), 3-star (E. Wellman), 3-star (D. Henry), 3-star (B. Golson)
  • LB/S(1): 3-star (I. McDonald)
  • S(3): 3.5-star (M. Greaves), 3-star (J. Tyler), 3-star (D.Worley)
  • K(1): 2-star (N. O’Toole)

When you take a look at this recruiting class, one thing that immediately jumps out at you is the incredible haul on defense, especially at linebacker. Obviously Keith Patterson was looking to add a lot of talent to that side of the football and to get the correct types of athletes to properly execute his 3-4 defensive scheme.

It is no secret that the WVU defense was just awful last season and routinely gave up big plays on third down. The Mountaineers really struggled to get pressure in the pass rush, which is typically a hallmark of 3-4 defenses. WVU had some talent at linebacker, most notably Isaiah Bruce, but really lacked edge rushers. The lack of pass rush exacerbated the issues in the secondary, where the Mountaineers struggled the most.

The emphasis on linebackers and safeties in this class shows the Mountaineers commitment to correcting their pass rush and pass coverage issues from a year ago. Expect players like Greaves and Howard to make immediate impacts, if not start, in the Fall.

On offense, Dana Holgorsen was in desperate need of help at wide receiver with all three of his top receivers leaving the program (Austin, Bailey, and Woods). Holgorsen is hoping to shore up those departures with a crop of talented wide outs. The signing of JUCO receivers White and Carswell will serve to add some veteran leadership for the young receiving corps.

Overall, the Mountaineers had a very successful recruiting campaign. The Mountaineers recruiting class ranks 33rd overall according to ESPN and 26th overall according to Scout.

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