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WVU assistant hikes '13 recruiting class

Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen coaches during their 59-10 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV on December 01, 2012.

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Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 11:58 p.m.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A year ago, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez signed running back J.T. Washington after he verbally committed to West Virginia.

The beat goes on.

Tony Gibson, an assistant under Rodriguez last season and at WVU from 2001-07, was responsible for convincing junior college standouts Mario Alford and Brandon Golson to sign with the Mountaineers on Wednesday.

Alford and Golson, who both attended Georgia Military College, had verbally committed to Arizona in October.

Gibson recruited them to the Pac-12 school.

However, when Gibson returned to WVU as safeties coach last month, he said both players contacted him about playing for the Mountaineers.

“They called me when I got here,” Gibson said. “It makes it easier for the recruiting process that those kids are interested in West Virginia. That's what I needed to hear.”

Georgia Military College coach Bert Williams didn't like how Alford and Golson changed schools.

“I was surprised,” Williams said. “I like things to be upfront and straightforward. I don't like how it turned out with the commitment process.

“When you make that commitment to somebody, you keep that commitment.”

Williams said he was unhappy because the only reason Alford and Golson changed their minds was because Gibson changed schools.

“Nothing against West Virginia. They're doing what everybody else is trying to do,” Williams said. “When (Gibson) left, I knew there would be a pretty strong chance to try to get them to the Mountaineers.”

According to Gibson, Alford and Golson weren't comfortable with Arizona after he left for West Virginia.

“Like I told them, the situation's changed,” Gibson said. “It's not the same as it was. The head coach (Rodriguez) is still there, the coordinators are in place. But the relationship you build with a kid when you're recruiting him is hard to replace.”

Alford and Golson, who play wide receiver and linebacker, respectively, are expected to make immediate contributions in 2013.

“They are both athletic kids and good players who have the potential to be very good players in college,” Williams said.

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JHarris_Trib.

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