Holgorsen Likes 2012 Recruiting Class
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It looks like West Virginia is still getting plenty of mileage out of its impressive 70-33 victory over Clemson in the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Mountaineers announced that 26 prospects have signed national letters-of-intent, including 11 from Florida where the Orange Bowl is played. It is the most Florida natives West Virginia has ever signed in a single recruiting class.
“(Assistant coach) Robert Gillespie did a great job of recruiting down in South Florida and (assistant) Shannon Dawson took over some of the Central Florida kids and did a good job prior to the bowl game and after the bowl game,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “West Virginia has always done well in Florida.”
Karl Joseph, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound safety from Edgewater High in Orlando, was the highest rated prospect from the Sunshine State coming in at No. 25 on the Rivals.com Florida Top 100 list.
Miramar High wide receiver Devonte Mathis (47), Treasure Coast wide receiver Travares Copeland (49) and hard-hitting Apopka safety KJ Dillon (58) also made the Florida Top 100.
Roshard Burney, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back from Lake Park, Fla., ran for more than 2,000 yards during his senior year and was named to the Class 8A first team all-state team. Burney was rated the state’s sixth-best prospect by the Palm Beach Post.
Torry Clayton, a 5-foot-9, 195-pound running back from South Dade High in Florida City, made the Class 8A all-state second team after rushing for 1,108 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior. Clayton was No. 9 on the Miami Herald Dade County Top 25 list.
Defensive linemen Imarjaye Albury of Miami and Korey Harris of St. Augustine, wide receivers Darreall “Dee” Joyner of Miami and Devonte Robinson of Delray Beach, and safety Sean Walters of Hallandale Beach, also gave their signatures to the Mountaineers.
“By us being able to make it a priority and get some guys down there who were working it pretty hard and being able to be down there for a good bit of time, the exposure we got down there certainly didn’t hurt,” said Holgorsen.
West Virginia also did well in Ohio, plucking the state’s 42nd-ranked prospect Tyler Orlosky out of Cleveland St. Edwards High and 56th-rated prospect Adam Pankey out of Hamilton. Both offensive linemen sorted through several scholarship offers.
Tony Matteo, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive lineman from Clinton, Ohio, and 5-foot-11, 170-pound speedster Nana Kyeremeh from Worthington, Ohio also hail from the Buckeye State. Kyeremeh is potentially the fastest player in West Virginia’s signing class this year, says Holgorsen.
From Texas, the Mountaineers landed four solid prospects, including ESPN Top 150 quarterback Ford Childress out of Houston. Childress led Kincaid High to a 20-1 record during his two seasons as a starter and he threw for 3,171 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior in 2011. Childress, an early enrollee, was rated the Lone Star State’s 38th-best prospect by Rivals.com.
Linebacker Garrett Hope played for one of the top programs in the state at The Woodlands and is listed as a Houston Chronicle Top 100 recruit. Early enrollee Jordan Thompson is from Katy, Texas, while Noble Nwachukwu, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound defensive end, played at Wylie High in Wylie, Texas.
“We got four this year and it’s a priority,” said Holgorsen of recruiting Texas. “We’re going to go there. But it’s got to be a good fit and there’s got to be a good reason for us to do that. We try to do the best that we can, find the right guy for the position and the scholarship, and then make sure they want to come up here as well.”
Randallstown, Md., wide receiver Deontay McManus is the highest rated prospect in this year’s signing class, earning a four-star rating by Rivals and Scout. McManus led Dunbar High to back-to-back state titles after catching 40 passes for 590 yards and six touchdowns as a senior. McManus, a physical, 6-foot-1, 209-pounder, was a two-time consensus all-state selection.
Four-star linebacker Sam Lebbie of famed DeMatha High was named “most physical player” in the 2011 Chesapeake Bowl and was a first team Washington Post All-Met performer after producing eight sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 79 tackles as a senior.
Safety Jarrod Harper from nearby Frostburg, Md., was the first player to commit to the class of 2012 and has held firm in his commitment throughout. Harper earned small school all-state honors on defense, and rushed for more than 1,300 yards as a running back on offense at Mountain Ridge High.
“We have made a conscious effort to take care of what’s made West Virginia good for quite a while, which is recruit West Virginia first and then recruit the surrounding states, go to Florida, and then use the contacts we have to move west slightly,” said Holgorsen.
Will Johnson, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end-wide receiver from Maple Grove, Minn., turned down offers from Auburn, Boston College, Illinois and Iowa, among others, to sign with West Virginia. Johnson was Minnesota’s fifth-rated player by Rivals.
Defensive lineman Christian Brown, from Bridgeton, N.J., and Rahway, N.J., all-purpose athlete Brandon Napoleon, the son of former Mountaineer standout running back Eugene Napoleon, both turned down a host of schools to sign with West Virginia.
Brown, originally from Ft. Myers, Fla., opted to play his senior season in New Jersey and ended 2011 as the 17th-best prospect in the state, collecting offers from NC State, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Purdue and Louisville, among others.
Napoleon, the state’s 26th-rated prospect, quarterbacked St. Peter’s Prep to a semifinal appearance in the Group 4 playoffs and was also invited to play in the U.S. Marines Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. Napoleon will play cornerback at West Virginia.
And finally, Lackawanna College offensive lineman Mark Glowinski rounds out the group of recruits announced on Wednesday afternoon. Glowinski is a physical, 6-foot-5, 290-pounder who earned second team JUCO All-America honors as a sophomore and will have three years to play two at West Virginia.
As of early Wednesday evening, the Mountaineers’ recruiting class was rated 26th-best in the nation by Scout with West Virginia signing three four-star prospects and 17 three-star players, while Rivals has WVU ranked 46th with one four-star player and 23 three-star prospects.
“You need everything,” said Holgorsen of what his staff tried to focus on for this year. “If you ask each one of these position coaches ‘how many more guys do you need to add to your room?’ Each guy is going to tell me two to three more per position than we can actually sign, but we felt like we needed a little bit of everything and was able to get a little bit of everything.”
The breakdown of prospects shows 14 offensive players and 12 defensive players. There were seven wide receivers, six defensive backs, four defensive linemen, four offensive linemen, two running backs, two linebackers and one quarterback.
“We wanted some more edge-rush guys,” Holgorsen explained. “We’re going to go more to a 3-4 scheme than the stack. In the stack you’re playing with a lot of middle linebacker-type bodies and we needed to get some outside linebacker-type guys who are able to gain weight and be able to come down and be defensive-end guys.”
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