State of Georgia being kind to Mountaineers
By TIM BRAGG
MORGANTOWN - The start to the early signing period for West Virginia University’s football program went as planned for the Mountaineers.
Another way to put it? West Virginia’s recruiting is going peachy.
A big part of that good feeling Wednesday came from WVU’s success recruiting the state of Georgia. The Peach State has been kind to the Mountaineers in the past and Wednesday was no exception to that trend.
The Mountaineers received 16 signatures Wednesday with four of those coming from players with Georgia ties. WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen, who recently attended the Georgia high school state championship games at Atlanta’s new Mercedes Benz Stadium, said recruiting Georgia has been a priority for his staff - especially assistant coach Doug Belk.
“That’s been a high priority of ours,” Holgorsen said. “We really focused on Georgia the last few years and I spent all three weeks, pretty much, down in Georgia in December. It’s outstanding football down there and we’re going to continue to work hard at getting guys from that area.”
Of the four newest WVU players from Georgia, three - linebacker Jared Bartlett, cornerback Nicktroy Fortune and receiver Winston Wright - are high schoolers. The other, cornerback Dreshun Miller, a coveted defender out of Kennesaw, Georgia, by way of Eastern Arizona College, appeared headed to Louisiana State before recently pledging and then signing with the Mountaineers.
″(Miller) is a big get for us,” Holgorsen said.
There was no drama with WVU’s early signing day efforts this year as everyone expected to sign with the Mountaineers did so.West Virginia class of 18 recruits includes 16 who signed Wednesday and two that were already with the program - linebacker VanDarius Cowan and receiver Isaiah Esdale.
That group is a near-even split with eight offensive players, nine defensive players and one special teams player joining the program.
On defense, the Mountaineers bring in two defensive linemen, two linebackers, two safeties and three cornerbacks - including Capital High standout Kerry Martin Jr.
The offensive group includes four receivers, three offensive lineman, running back Tony Mathis and noticeably, no quarterbacks.
Holgorsen said quarterback was still a position of need for WVU in the coming weeks and months as the staff continues to recruit to fill West Virginia’s seven remaining available scholarships. Currently Jack Allison and Trey Lowe are the only scholarship quarterbacks on the WVU roster.
“Obviously quarterback is still a need at this point,” Holgorsen said. “We haven’t signed one and I think you all can figure out what we have been successful with quarterbacks and what we will continue to try to look for in quarterbacks.
“We only have two on scholarship right now and I just got done coaching them hard out there a few minutes ago. We will obviously, probably, bring somebody in in the summer.”