WVU fortifies areas of need on football field
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After the loss of recruiting coordinator Doc Holliday to Marshall, West Virginia coach Bill Stewart and his staff were still able to put together a top 25 recruiting class.
The Mountaineers received 19 letters of intent Wednesday, heavy on the quarterback, receiver and linebacker positions.
"We needed linebackers, we signed three. We needed receivers, we signed four. We needed a safety, we signed three. So there you have it," Stewart said. "We did what we set out to do."
WVU also went to 11 states to recruit its players this year, including California, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.
Stewart described this class as "fast, somewhat tall and athletic." It is ranked as one of the best classes in school history and the best in Stewart's tenure as coach.
"We don't get those kinds of guys. Supposedly, we're not supposed to get them here according to the experts," Stewart said of four- and five-star prospects. "They're supposed to go to all the glitter schools, but we got them."
West Virginia signed four receivers including four-star Ivan McCartney, who picked WVU yesterday morning over Florida, Florida State and Miami. McCartney is considered the fifth-best receiver by Rivals.com.
McCartney is also a teammate of West Virginia's sophomore quarterback Geno Smith.
Another former teammate of Smith's, receiver Dante Chambers, joins the Mountaineers. Receivers Quantavius Leslie and Deon Long also signed with WVU.
Offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen took a trip to nearly 15 high schools early in the recruiting process, specifically looking at quarterback prospects to help give the team depth at the position.
The detail paid off, as the Mountaineers were able to grab two quarterbacks.
The highest rated of the two is Memphis product Barry Brunetti, the third-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country according to Rivals.com. He has not lost a game in which he has started since he was in seventh grade, according to Stewart.
The other quarterback, Jeremy Johnson, comes from Texas — a state WVU normally doesn't recruit. Johnson is considered more of a running threat than Brunetti.
"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," Stewart said. "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."
Both quarterbacks will be vying for a spot behind Smith, as backup Coley White moved to receiver in the offseason, Mullen said.
"When you look at our situation, I think (Brunetti and Johnson) felt they were already on the depth chart right now," Mullen said. "I think that's all a kid wants is a chance to play, and when he's buried five-deep it's tough. Heck, those two guys will be playing if Geno goes down."
West Virginia also signed four-star offensive lineman Quinton Spain from Virginia and four-star defensive end from Bruce Irvin.
The Mountaineers' only five-star verbal commit, cornerback Latwan Anderson — who verbally committed at the U.S. Army All-American Game — didn't send in a letter of intent yesterday.
Stewart said he is expecting to sign a few more players if possible.
West Virginia signings list
Football players who signed binding letters-of-intent Wednesday at West Virginia, with player's position, height, weight, and school-town:
» Travis Bell, db, 6-2, 187, Glades Central HS, Belle Glade, Fla.
» Barry Brunetti, qb, 6-0, 207, Memphis (Tenn.) University School
» Dante Chambers, wr, 6-0, 175, Miramar (Fla.) HS
» Trevor Demko, de, 6-6, 245, Mount Carmel HS, Kulpmont, Pa.
» Michael Dorsey, db, 6-3, 210, Harding HS, Warren, Ohio
» Qudral Forte, db, 6-1, 190, Booker T. Washington HS, Atlanta
» Troy Gloster, lb, 6-0, 225, Good Counsel HS, Germantown, Md.
» Bruce Irvin, de, 6-3, 235, Mount San Antonio CC, Walnut, Calif.
» Jeremy Johnson, qb, 6-2, 175, Silsbee HS, Kountze, Texas
» Trey Johnson, rb, 5-10, 172, Varina HS, Richmond, Va.
» Quantavious Leslie, wr, 6-4, 180, Callaway HS, Hogansville, Ga.
» Deon Long, wr, 6-0, 175, Hargrave Military, Chatham, Va.
» Ivan McCartney, wr, 6-3, 183, Miramar (Fla.) HS
» Doug Rigg, lb, 6-1, 215, Bergen Catholic HS, Oradell, N.J.
» Jewone Snow, lb, 6-3, 230, McKinley HS, Canton, Ohio
» Quinton Spain, ol, 6-6, 330, Petersburg (Va.) HS
» Wes Tonkery, db, 6-1, 190, Bridgeport (W.Va.) HS
» Marquis Wallace, ol, 6-5, 290, Varina HS, Richmond, Va.
» Avery Williams, db, 5-10, 173, Coolidge HS, Washington, D.C.
Rank and file
A look at how the Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia recruiting classes stacked up against the nation's top teams:
School: Rivals.com — Scout.com — Scouts, Inc.
Florida: 1st — 1st — 1st
USC: 2nd — 7th — 8th
Texas: 3rd — 3rd — 2nd
Auburn: 4th — 5th — 4th
Alabama: 5th — 4th — 3rd
Penn State: 12th — 9th — 8th
West Virginia: 19th — 26th — NR*
Pitt: 33rd — 16th — NR*
*—Scouts, Inc., only ranks the top 25 teams