Wednesday, February, 1 marked National Signing Day at high schools all around the country, highlighting the day that student-athletes signed and turned in their official Letters of Intent to commit to their respective colleges and universities. With that, head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff took to a media conference to give their remarks on the footbal team’s signing class and newest members of Mountaineer nation.
“It just feels so much different than it has in the past. Somehow we put together our roster now. If you look back when I first got here in 2011 and how some of these classes earlier in my tenure were put together as opposed to how we’re doing things now, it’s completely different.” Coach Holgorsen and staff welcomed approximately 21 signees officially during yesterday’s signing day. The team had several transfers and mid-term enrollees to the university, showing testament to the recruiting skills of the team’s coaching staff.
Coach Holgorsen sang the praises of Ryan “Cleveland” Dorchester, Director of Player Personnel, during the conference and highlighted what is still to come for the team. “I do want to mention and again this is kind of a pat on the back to Ryan (Dorchester) but we have like 15 pledges for walk-ons who have committed to coming into the program this summer as well, 16 actually and 12 of them are from the state of West Virginia, which makes 15 guys from the state of West Virginia, who have either signed or currently enrolled or will be joining us this summer. We made an initiative to focus on getting some of the players here from the state of West Virginia.” Holgorsen pointed out that this focus on in-state players has come as a result of his son, Logan, playing football at Morgantown High School, allowing the head coach to watch more and more high school ball around the state.
Coach Holgorsen, in typical Dana fashion, explained on Wednesday how the conversation with David Sills went about his return to West Virginia, “When was signing day, December 21? December 14. So I called him December 12 and I said ‘Yo, whats up?’ and he said ‘nothing’ and I said ‘Are you ready to come back?’ and he said ‘Yeah” and I said ‘Ok, I will send you the papers tomorrow.’ I did and he signed them, and he was here in January. That was a fun recruiting process. He has been great since he came back. He is just a solid kid and a hard worker. He is becoming (redshirt junior quarterback) Will Grier’s best friend, smart kid.”
Holgorsen also gave the media a little insight on the return of his friend and offensive coach Jake Spavital, “He wasn’t coming back here to just be a position coach. He has proven that he can be a coordinator. It’s his room, and he will call the plays and he will do a great job of that. Now, you know where I am going to be. I am going to be lurking, but I am not going to be questioning. He knows what I want. We will sit in the room, and we will come up with a pretty good idea of where we want this thing to go. We have worked with (Assistant Coach) (Joe) Wickline a long time.”
Coach Holgorsen stated that the Mountaineers were in need of safeties and players on the defensive line coming into yesterday’s signing day. “We lost all of those good senior (defensive) d-linemen, so that’s why we went out and targeted. We a got a couple of good high school guys, brought in a couple of junior college guys who I think will help us immediately as well. Safety wise, I think our starters are going to be as good as anywhere in the country, next year at safety. With (redshirt junior safety) Dravon (Askew-Henry) coming back, (junior safety) (White) and (redshirt junior safety) Toyous (Avery) finishing the season as good as they did.”
When asked if he would comment on this signing class, Coach Holgorsen did not wish to evaluate the players on literally day one, saying “I hate talking about guys. These guys are good fits, we have filled our needs. We got a lot of good fits. I like getting them here and working with them and then figuring out what they can do and what they can be.”
As the topic of quarterback for the team was broached, Coach Holgorsen did not rule out bringing in a new addition to the team. “We aren’t done yet. We have three that can play. We have three that are eligible that are going to take a lot of reps in the spring. Three that are going to compete. We are good there, but you have to keep adding to that room. We have some flexibility with some numbers to continue to add what we need. When that happens, you have a whole semester to figure that out.We aren’t done yet. We have three that can play. We have three that are eligible that are going to take a lot of reps in the spring. Three that are going to compete. We are good there, but you have to keep adding to that room. We have some flexibility with some numbers to continue to add what we need. When that happens, you have a whole semester to figure that out.”
Overall, it appears that Coach Holgorsen and his staff are happy with where the team is going into spring practice in a few short months. While there is still plenty of time, unfortunately, to go before the fall is here; it seems as though the team and coaches are ready to expound on the momentum of last season.