MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University football coach Bill Stewart’s selected quotes from signing day 2010.
Our older players are the ones that really draw these new guys to our campus. Our football team, led by our senior class did a tremendous job.
When we bring a youngster in here, we talk about four things. Number one is academics. Garrett Ford heads up a fantastic academic system along with Sandy Cole-DeMent and Donnie Tucker. 90 of the 2009 Mountaineer football team had a 2.5 grade point average or above, 68 will be the new faces on the academic wall for having a 2.75 GPA or above and 43 of our players have a cumulative 3.0 GPA or above. That is pretty special.
Number two is football. I don’t have to say too much about that, our players take care of it.
Third, we talk about the social life in Morgantown. Our young men do a great job on visits entertaining and taking care of these youngsters.
On the 19 WVU Recruits
Travis Bell, a free safety. He is a free safety because he had 10 interceptions as a senior and he roams sideline to sideline really well.
Barry Brunetti is a Parade All-American, tremendous football player and a state champ. You can read all you want about Barry Brunetti, but he has not lost a football game that he has started in since the seventh grade.
Dante Chambers is a quick, elusive little slot receiver. I didn’t want a bunch of little guys; I wanted fast, tall and athletic guys. Dante is about my height, but he is fast. He is a teammate of our quarterback here now, Geno Smith, and of Stedman Bailey. When his name came up I immediately went to Geno and Stedman.
Trevor Demko, a big defensive end, is a nice young man with a big frame. Coach (Bill) Kirelawich likes them long-armed and big framed. He is a nice youngster and a good student.
Michael Dorsey is really one fine football player. He is a great student and played in the wildcat (offense) at his size. He was 210-215 pounds as a senior and played quarterback in the wildcat. He is a tremendous athlete. I hope we can keep him at safety; he will be spur or bandit safety.
Qudral Forte is good enough to be a major college quarterback. I said that I wanted players that were fast, tall and rangy. I will show you his film as a quarterback and as a safety. Wow.
Troy Gloster is a great student, from a great school and he is a heck on an athlete. I recruited his older brother, Drew, who was a heck of a football player at Maryland. I didn’t do as good of a job recruiting him as coach (Jeff) Casteel did recruiting Troy, but when this kid was younger, every time we talked to Drew, we would talk to Troy. You always recruit the little brother. Never neglect the little brother. This is a great reward from about eight years ago.
Bruce Irvin is a big and explosive pass rusher, who will be a defensive end. We are absolutely thrilled to have him. He was tough and we had to fight them off. He is probably the number one pass-rusher in America.
When I went into Texas to visit Jeremy Johnson, I went to his school and it was just a great visit. He ran a 10.6 in the 100-meters and had a 24-foot long jump. When we went to dinner (I bought mine and they bought theirs, just to have that out there), the waiter comes up and says ‘West Virginia huh?’ I said ‘yes sir.’ He then said he watched the Gator Bowl and that it was a heck of a story. The waiter said ‘you know that coach played for Coach (Bobby) Bowden. I laughed and said ‘yes he did.’
Trey Johnson can fly and may be the fastest guy in Virginia. He is not tall, but he is tall enough. When he sticks a foot in the ground, Coach (Chris) Beatty could not have found a better guy. He is a great kid.
Quantavius Leslie played defensive back at 6-foot-4. He is a knee-bender and just a big long spider-armed kid. He has a chance to be an outstanding receiver.
Deon Long, who is already here, is a tremendous athlete. We are counting on him to play both inside and outside. We have him listed as a wide receiver, but he will probably be more of a slot receiver. He can go and he will give us immediate help.
Ivan McCartney is a heck of a player, a great youngster and is just a quality young man. He really brings a lot to the table. I am sure enough will be said about him. He is special. He can stretch a field and he can go get the ball.
Doug Rigg was listed as a linebacker/running back. This guy is fast, he can run and he can hit. He does a really nice job.
Jewone Snow. Jeff Mullen went in and had a really nice visit with him and his family. I am so impressed with Jewone Snow, and to get that type of youngster out of Canton McKinley is a real fine recruiting effort.
Quinton Spain. I saw him, along with coach Beatty, play a basketball game in Richmond, Va., where he made 30 of the team’s 70 points. He had the softest left-hand hook shot I have seen in years. This guy is a great athlete and has a chance to be one fine football player.
Wes Tonkery is a local young man from just down the road. I talked to the local officials about him all summer. Steve Dunlap went in and did a great evaluation of this young man’s character and what we are looking for in a football player. He is a remarkable youngster who likes to play and who plays very well.
Marquis Wallace has grown and grown and may be the best student that we have recruited. He is very sharp, very articulate and is a big time student of the game. He gets it and is going to be a great player.
Getting Avery Williams to come here is a great job by coach Beatty. We thought we were going to lose him because he wanted to go to school in January. He is done and ready to go and will be here May 18.
That is 19 new Mountaineer football players. The class breaks down as follows: two quarterbacks, four wide receivers, two offensive lineman, one running back, two defensive ends, three linebackers, two safeties, one free safety and two defensive backs. That is 19 great additions to this football team.
If you’re a friend a mine and I sent you something today that goes like this, “I am a member of a team. I rely on the team. I defer to it, and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” If these nine adhere to this plan, they will be great additions to Mountaineer football. Faith, hope and love, the creed of the mountains. If they buy in, they’ll be OK. Right now, we’ll know in about three years, maybe two, what kind of players they are. Until then, their heads will be spinning because they’ll be in college, they’ll be in class and they need to finish their senior year before we start writing a bunch of accolades about them.
With that I’m very proud of the effort again of our players and very proud of the effort of our staff. These guys did a great job recruiting and getting this great group of youngsters here to West Virginia.
On any additions
We might be expecting some more additions, but I’m going to talk about the ones that are here, not the ones that are maybe en route or might come, but there is a possibility of a couple more.
About the ratings and rankings
The rating and rankings is just that, it’s by opinionated people that make money off recruiting; it’s a good gig I guess. I’ve seen two stars and one star’s come in here and do pretty well. I think I had a two star come in here and win four bowls and three MVP’s. I know this, the 19 we signed we want and we’re glad we have. If they buy into the plan I just said, wear the Old Gold and Blue as a privilege and not a right, they’ll be a good football team someday, not yet, but someday.
About specific needs
I thought we did very well. Tall, fast and athletic. I like the speed first. Speed, height, athleticsm. We graduated one offensive lineman this year and played five, that’s remarkable what our medical staff and Mike Joseph did. Five guys played almost 800 plays. We graduated one senior and next year we have one senior, so that’s a void. I don’t know of any other college in America who loses one senior back-to-back. In 35 years I’ve never heard of it. We had to sign five offensive linemen last year, so we had to catch up. This year we signed two because we needed two, that’s our needs.
We’ve got to get to where we are next year with 16 scholarships, 16-18 scholarships each year and two to three scholarships at each position max. Once we get to that and it’ll take four years to get this all worked out, it just doesn’t work itself out overnight. We needed linebackers, we lose three next year, so we signed three. We needed linebackers, receivers, we signed four, we needed a safety, we signed three, so there you have it. We did what we set out to do.
Overall theme of the class
I would say they’re fast, somewhat tall and very athletic. If you go watch tape of Qudral Forte, we kept him under wraps, we’re very excited. He’s 6-2 and can run a 10.7, that’s smoking.
On how Noel and Jock changed recruiting
They were just here and I embarrassed them and I said want to introduce my two best recruits. They don’t like the limelight and they went boot scootin’ out of here. The best two recruits we had this year were No. 7 and No. 9. They’re back and that’s great and they’re back because we have a great open arms relationship and I they respect what we’re doing and we respect them. They bought into the plan and they think it’s an honor and privilege to play for the Old Gold and Blue and both men want to graduate in the Old Gold and Blue. How could you not feel good about that as a West Virginia alum or fan.
On how many could play as a true freshman
We need to upgrade our special teams. The quarterbacks are going to play. The receivers are going to play. I would imagine the linebackers are going to play. They all have a chance, they really do. Every one of these 19 men has a chance. Now, do some have more of a chance? Yes, they do. They want to finish strong academically and they’re all in pretty good shape and we’ve met with them and they’re excited about that.
Bruce Irvin for instance will get an early look just because of his age. He played very well in the JUCO league, he’s going to have a chance.
On getting guys they didn’t think they could get
They’re all pretty good and some are labeled with the star system and I guess if I were doing the star system, I would probably label some a little higher than others. Look at that all-star game (U.S. Army All-American game). You’ve got a quarterback (Brunetti) that was in it, there was a receiver (McCartney) in it and there was a tackle (Spain) that was in it. Those are three, on paper and high school film, that are pretty well ahead of the curve right now and we got one out there that is maybe still in the fold, maybe not. We don’t get those kinds of guys supposedly, we’re not supposed to get them here according to the experts. They’re supposed to go to all the glitter schools, but we got them.
On whether it’s getting easier to recruit
We went 100+ years and last year had a top 25 class and this class is pretty good. I don’t know where the experts rank us and I really don’t care, because I know what I feel, what the staff feels and what the other coaches that we’ve beaten feel.
I was driving down the road with Bill Kirelawich and Bill has been here since 1978-79 and he looks over at me and says, “Do you know who we’re going head-to-head with on this guy?” I said yes I do and he said, “It’s awesome Stew.” This goes to show you, you don’t have to be what we say you are, you can be what you want to be if you go out and work and pay diligence and treat people right.
On the process
I don’t pay much attention to it and neither do the coaches. We needed safeties this year to come downhill and blow somebody up and we need a guy in the middle that can help Robert Sands range side-to-side. We got that on paper. Now once they get up here and acclimated to school and college life, it’ll take them a couple of years. We don’t have to have them for a couple of years and that’s the good thing, we just have to get to where we can offer 16 to 18 and never sign more than four at a position. You can’t sign five offensive linemen like we did last year, you just can’t do that. It’s balance. You play juniors and seniors and an occasional sophomore, a third-year guy, that’s what is hard. These guys get recruited and think they should come in here and start. Well, we’ve got some guys here who have something to say about that.
On which guys can switch from defense to offense or vice versa
You could always move big Quinton Spain. I watched Quinton Spain with coach Beatty that night and I said do we have a tackle that can do that? Can our guards do that? Can our defensive linemen do that? And you say no, no, no. In the all-star game he was just rocking’ people. To me, he is a guy that could play on either side of the ball. He’s good enough to play defense, but this guy might be like The Blindside. He may be like that movie.
On the challenge of holding on to two quarterbacks
We took a plane and Jeff Mullen went on a whirlwind tour all over the country. We found 15 quarterbacks and went after them. We watched film on them, met them and checked their academics. We’ve got three sophomores and a freshman in fold, so with that being said there is a real chance on paper for a guy to come in here and play. That was the real challenge and Jeff Mullen did a real good job.
They both know they’re coming. They’re both Elite 11 types of players and they also know we have an Elite 11 quarterback waiting here. When you can find three guys that want to compete for one job, those are three pretty special guys. Hopefully they all stay, but we only have one football. That will be great competition.
On Quarterbacks switching positions
Brandon Hogan is a good example. I recruited him and he was a great quarterback. He’s special. Keith Tandy was a tremendous quarterback out of Kentucky. Thank God they’re here because they’re our corners. That’s pretty special. Bradley Starks was a Mr. Basketball and had Mid-American offers and to get him out of Virginia was awesome. You saw Patrick White and you saw Jarrett Brown and I told Huggy (Bob Huggins) that if he thought Brown was good at basketball he needs to get No. 14 over there. Bradley is pretty good.