Early Signing Period Recap: No Surprises For Mountaineers

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The first day of the Early Signing Period passed with no surprises for the Mountaineers. West Virginia’s board saw only one change before the period commenced. And one new (albeit anticipated) commitment came during the period.

The Signees

Throughout the day, players signed mostly without ceremony. Based on the Mountaineers’ recent history, lack of surprises should be considered a good thing. We provided recaps of some of the notable signings. Four-star safety Osita Smith pledged early in the morning. Three-star wideout Ali Jennings signed his letter of intent a little later. And four-star cornerback Dreshun Miller finalized his commitment around lunchtime.

In total, the Mountaineers welcomed the following sixteen new players to the program.

Player Position State Rivals 247Sports ESPN
Osita Smith S MD 3 4 4
Dreshun Miller CB GA 4 4 4
Tykee Smith S PA 4 3 3
Winston Wright WR GA 3 3 3
Terence Doston WR FL 3 3 3
Parker Moorer OL NC 3 3 3
Donavan Beaver OL VA 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 CB 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
Ali Jennings WR VA 3 3 3


A Couple Disappointments

The Early Signing Period, however, did not pass without some disappointment. Long-time Mountaineer commitment Isaiah Hazel flipped to Maryland within the past week. Additionally, the Mountaineers hoped to land a surprise transfer after receiving a low-key visit from Nate Craig-Myers over the weekend. Given a familial connection between Craig-Myers and signee Jennings, many (including us) thought a transfer announcement was imminent. Unfortunately, Craig-Myers committed to Colorado State.

To Include or Not to Include

As discussed, the transfer market continues to grow. Observers question how and whether recruiting class scores should include them. After all, those transfers count against the team’s annual scholarship hard count. Indeed, a recruiting class score is hurt when it includes fewer signees than another school. At least unofficially, the Mountaineers’ 2019 class should include a top 50 recruit in Alabama transfer Vandarius Cowan. It should also include junior college wide receiver Isaiah Esdale. And adding those names would increase the Mountaineers’ class rank by at least ten spots.

Where the Mountaineers Rank

This is important because fans have expressed general disappointment over the arbitrary “ranking” of the Mountaineers’ 2019 class to date. Fans overlook, however, that the class only includes 16 signees at this juncture. Moreover, fans also overlook that West Virginia has the 26th highest average score per recruit. Thus, while small, the class is densely packed with talent. Finally, fans overlook that the Mountaineers still have seven scholarships left to assign for this class. As a result, the Mountaineers’ rank will no doubt increase between now and National Signing Day in February.

What’s Next

While the Early Signing Period does not officially end until December 21, the Mountaineers do not expect any additional signees at this point. Instead, the Mountaineers will look at several key targets between now and February.

As of now, West Virginia needs one or two quarterbacks. And they will likely fill this need using the transfer market. No names are standing out at this point, however.

The Mountaineers will also look for another wide receiver, preferably a junior college or graduate transfer that would be immediately eligible next season. Additionally, West Virginia also needs a couple of defensive linemen. And the staff will probably look for a prep signee and an immediately-eligible transfer. The Mountaineers will also look to add at least one more offensive lineman. Again, the team will likely look to the transfer market here.

Finally, West Virginia will look to add one or two more members to its secondary. In fact, several recruits are available here. The most likely addition is Isheem Young, a former four-star safety who ran into and overcame legal trouble. Young is definitely a candidate for a great second-chance story.

The Mountaineers are sure to add talent to their ranks by the conclusion of this recruiting cycle. Still, West Virginia has already added solid talent that will contribute early and often on all three sides of the ball.

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