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2014 West Virginia Recruiting Class Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 7, 2014


West Virginia Mountaineers 2014 ... Head Coach: Dana Holgorsen


West Virginia Mountaineers

2013 Record: 4-8
8/31 William & Mary W 24-17
9/7 at Oklahoma L 16-7
9/14 Georgia State W 41-7
9/21 at Maryland L 37-0
9/28 Oklahoma St W 30-21
10/5 at Baylor L 73-42
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/19 Texas Tech L 37-27
10/26 at Kansas State L 35-12
11/2 at TCU W 30-27 OT
11/9 Texas L 47-40 OT
11/16 at Kansas L 31-19
11/23 OPEN DATE
11/30 Iowa State L 52-44 3OT


West Virginia | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: The passing game has to get back to its high-octane level. It fizzled when it came to pushing the ball down the field. The yards were there, but the offense didn’t go anywhere, sputtering and coughing on third downs. Defense has been a big problem under Dana Holgorsen, getting bombed on time and again while allowing close to 200 rushing yards per game. The kick return game was abysmal, finishing 119th in the nation in punt returns and 112th in kickoff returns.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Quarterback. Enough is enough – it’s time to get that passing game flying again. William Crest is a promising passer out of Baltimore who could be groomed into a star in the next few years, while JUCO transfer Skyler Howard is a baller out of California who might not be a top prospect, but could add an interesting option to the mix. With three starters gone off the offensive line, JUCO transfer Justin Scott and Sylvester Townes could be factors at tackle. The defense was hardly ignored, with CB Dravon Henry a terrific get and JUCO transfer corners Keishawn Richardson and Jaylon Myers helping the depth.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 30. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebackers. Of course Dana Holgorsen is going to bring in the offensive prospects, and he cranked it up on receivers with Shelton Gibson a find out of Ohio and JUCO transfer Ronald Carswell a possible instant answer for the loss of Stedman Bailey. Running backs Wendell Smallwood and Deshawn Coleman are going to eventually handle the ground game, while JUCO transfer Dreamius Smith will get a chance in the rotation right away. However, the Mountaineers need defensive help, and they got it at linebacker with Darrien Howard along with Al-Rasheed Benton and Marvin Gross all athletic and talented.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 24. That Class Was Heavy On ... More receivers. Head coach Dana Holgorsen got a few nice prospects last year for the offense, but this year he’s loading up on receivers and pass catchers to make his high-octane attack shine. The offense had more than its share of star prospect from recent classes, but the talent is flowing to assure that the passing game remains among the nation’s most dangerous. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 46. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. While all the talk about the coaching changes helped bring in offensive stars who want to be a part of the Dana Holgorsen attack, led by running backs Andrew Buie and Vernard Roberts and receivers Dante Caldwell and K.J. Myers, but the defense got the best all-around talents with JUCO transfer Shaq Rowell ready to roll right away at defensive tackle and linebacker Joshua Francis a strong JUCO transfer who’ll be used in a variety of ways. Safeties Terrell Chestnut, Shaquille Petteway, and Nick Kwiatkoski are all going to be factors in the next three years.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 35. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. West Virginia? Wide Receivers? Bill Stewart came up with several excellent, dangerous targets led by Ivan McCartney out of Florida. The 6-1, 175-pound playmaker spurned Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee to come to Morgantown, but Deon Long might end up playing earlier on. The Mountaineers also came up with several good defensive back prospects starting with safety Latwan Anderson, a flash of lightning who hits like a ton of bricks and chose WVU over Ohio State.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 24. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill position players. The Mountaineers have roped in a slew of speedy, dynamic backs and receivers, who can go a long with the ball. What else is new? This class, which is particularly heavy on outstanding wideouts, is tailored-made for an offense that hopes to throw the ball more than in the past. Logan Heastie was fielding interest from the likes of Florida and USC, so he might waste little time getting on the field. 

at Iowa State 52, West Virginia 44 3OT
Basically … After the two teams traded field goals in the first two overtimes, Iowa State got a 25-yard Justin Coleman touchdown catch, and E.J. Bibbs caught the two-point conversion. West Virginia was stopped on fourth-and-goal from the five on its possession, and the Cyclones came up with the win. Iowa State rallied back from down 31-7 in the second quarter with a wild scoring run, with Quenton Bundrage catching touchdown passes from ten and 62 yards away, and Justin Coleman tying it up with a 19-yard catch with a minute to play late in the fourth to close out the 31-7 scoring run before overtime. West Virginia came up with several big plays with a 76-yard Charles Sims touchdown run and a 76-yard Mario Alford scoring catch in the fourth.
- Iowa State outgained West Virginia 575 yards to 568
- Iowa State QB Grant Rohach completed 25-of-39 passes for 331 yards and four touchdowns with a pick, and he ran nine times for 66 yards and a touchdown.
- West Virginia RB Charles Sims ran 24 times for 149 yards and two scores, and Mario Alford caught eight passes for 215 yards and a touchdown.
- Iowa State WR Quenton Bundrage caught seven passes for 93yards and two scores, and Justin Coleman caught five passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns.

at Kansas 31, at West Virginia 19
Basically … Kansas broke a 27-game Big 12 losing streak helped by James Sims, who ran for touchdowns from three, 68, two and six yards with the first three coming as part of a 31-point scoring run following a 12-yard touchdown catch from Charles Sims for a 7-0 West Virginia lead. The Mountaineers made the score cosmetically better with a six-yard Sims run and a three-yard Kevin White touchdown catch, but it was way too little, too late.
- Kansas committed nine penalties for 90 yards. West Virginia committed six for 47.
- Kansas outgained West Virginia 315 rushing yards to 144.
- Kansas RB James Sims ran for 211 yards and three scores on 22 carries.
- West Virginia RB Charles Sims ran 16 times for 99 yards and a score, and caught two passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Texas 47, at West Virginia 40 OT
Basically … In a wild back-and-forth game, Texas forced overtime with a 24-yard Anthony Fera field goal in the final seconds, and scored first on a two-yard Alex De La Torre catch. Steve Edmond snuffed out the West Virginia OT chance with an interception. It was a firefight that got wild late after West Virginia took a 26-16 lead on Charles Sims’ third touchdown run of the game. Case McCoy found Mike Davis on a 49-yard touchdown pass in the third and Joe Bergeron gave the Longhorns the lead on an eight-yard run. The Mountaineers wouldn’t go away with Dreamius Smith running for an eight-yard score and Mario Alford giving them the lead on a 72-yard touchdown catch. Texas had some chances to win in regulation, but had to settle for the Fera field goal and overtime.
- Texas RB Jonathan Gray was injured after running for 56 yards on eight carries, and Malcolm Brown ran 28 times for 89 yards and a score.
- In for an injured Clint Trickett, Paul Millard completed 16-of-32 passes for 259 yards and a score with two picks for the Mountaineers.
- Texas LB Steve Edmond made 12 tackles with a game-sealing pick. Desmond Jackson and Cedric Reed each came up with two sacks.
- West Virginia LB Jared Barber led the way with 14 tackles with a forced fumble.

West Virginia 30 at TCU 27, Nov. 2
Basically … Josh Lambert’s third field goal of the day knocked off TCU in overtime at Amon G. Carter Stadium. West Virginia seemed to have the game sewn up, leading 27-17 late in the fourth quarter, but the Horned Frogs got a Casey Pachall touchdown pass and a Jaden Oberkrom field goal to send the game into an extra session. TCU got the ball first in overtime, but went in reverse, forcing Oberkrom to attempt a 62-yarder that fell short of the mark.
- RB Charles Sims paced the West Virginia attack with 24 carries for 154 yards and touchdown, adding three catches for 35 yards and a second touchdown.
- Converted QB Trevone Boykin moved outside for the Horned Frogs, catching a game-high 11 balls from Pachall for 100 yards.
- West Virginia S Darwin Cook and TCU LB Jonathan Anderson each registered 14 tackles.
- Pachall wound up throwing for 394 yards, three touchdowns and two picks on 40-of-58 passing.

at Kansas State 35, West Virginia 12
Basically … Kansas State’s defense forced three turnovers, but it was the passing game that pulled off a shocker as Jake Waters threw three touchdown passes and Daniel Sams threw another. The offense clicked late with Tyler Lockett catching scoring passes from nine and 24 yards out and Tramaine Thompson catching a 30-yard touchdown pass as part of a 28-0 run over the last 18 minutes. Lockett started out the scoring with a 35-yard touchdown catch, but West Virginia scored 12 straight points with two Josh Lambert field goals and a six-yard Clint Trickett touchdown run for the lead. It was all KSU the rest of the way.
- West Virginia can’t get anything to consistently work. Charles Sims ran for just 43 yards on eight carries, while the passing game was a disaster in the second half. Paul Millard completed 4-of-14 passes for 37 yards and a pick, and Clint Trickett failed to get the O moving hitting 15-of-28 passes for 227 yards. The offense was bad, the secondary worse, and now the season if falling into the abyss.
- There’s little margin for error the rest of the way, but there’s still time to go bowling. The Mountaineers have to split against TCU and Texas, and then take care of the layups against Kansas and Iowa State. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s possible.

Texas Tech 37 … at West Virginia 27
Basically … Texas Tech overcame a 27-16 deficit with 21 unanswered points on two one-yard runs from Kenny Williams and a ten-yard Jace Amaro’s second touchdown catch of the game. West Virginia got two Dreamius Smith touchdown runs and a four-yard Charles Smith touchdown catch, but the offense stalled in the final quarter and the Texas Tech offense took over.
- Davis Webb became the first Texas Tech quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards in his first two starts. He was more than fine with Baker Mayfield out hurting hitting 36-of-50 passes for 462 yards and two scores, relying on tight end Jace Amaro time and again connecting with him nine times for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
- The West Virginia offense worked against a good Texas Tech defense. It might have stalled late, but Clint Trickett came up with 254 yards, spreading the ball around well, and Dreamius Smith and Charles Sims combined for 166 yards on 31 carries. It wasn’t a bad performance, but the Red Raider offense was more productive when it had to be.
- Zero sacks. It’s hard to get to the Texas Tech quarterbacks because they get the ball out of their hands too quickly, but West Virginia failed to get into the backfield and didn’t generate enough pressure to throw Davis Webb off his game. The defense couldn’t come up with a big stop when it really needed one.
- 7-0, and who’s left on the schedule that Texas Tech can’t beat? Oklahoma has been rocky, Oklahoma State appears beatable, and the offense should be able to keep up with Baylor and Texas. There might be a perfect storm happening of a confident team dealing with a light conference at just the right time.

at Baylor 73, West Virginia 42
Basically … Everything worked for the Baylor offense – again. The Bears rolled up 864 yards with 468 on the ground and almost 400 though the air with Lache Seastrunk scoring from 80 and 19 yards out and Bryce Petty throwing for two scores to go along with two Glasco Martin two-yard scoring runs on the way to a 56-14 halftime lead. West Virginia had a few good moments with Charles Sims scoring from 39 yards out and Kevin White coming up with a 39-yard touchdown catch, but it didn’t matter as Baylor got up to a 66-21 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Mountaineer defense scored on a fumble return and a pick six.
- Baylor committed ten penalties and turned the ball over four times and allowing two defensive scores, and it didn’t matter. The offense is operating at the highest of levels, with the receivers streaking wide open and the holes five miles wide for the backs. Lache Seastrunk ran for 172 yards and two score and Bryce Petty completed 17-of-25 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns – it all worked.
- As good as Clint Trickett was at times against Oklahoma State, that’s how mediocre he was against Baylor. He only completed 9-of-28 passes for 161 yards with a touchdown and a pick. He tried to press to keep up the pace, but the Mountaineers don’t have the weapons.
- Give the Baylor defense a little bit of credit. The offense gets all the headlines – and it’ll get a whole bunch more over the next few weeks – but the Bear D got off the field in a big hurry early on. West Virginia didn’t score its first offensive point until Baylor put up 42.
- After a wildly inconsistent season so far, the Mountaineers have to erase this one from the books in a hurry. With two weeks to prepare for a home date against Texas Tech, and with several winnable games left, a bowl appearance is still on the table. To get there, over the time off, Dana Holgorsen has to decide on his quarterback situation once and for all.

at West Virginia 30, Oklahoma State 21
Basically … Clint Trickett threw a touchdown pass to Kevin White and Ishmael Banks returned a J.W. Walsh pass for a score on the way to a 17-7 West Virginia lead, and the defense held tough in the second half while Josh Lambert added two of his three field goals in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma State started out the scoring with a 73-yard Josh Stewart touchdown catch, and Walsh threw two more scoring passes, but after a field goal attempt that would’ve tied the score at 24 bonked off the upright, it was all Mountaineers the rest of the way.
- Clint Trickett finally appears to be the one who can get the West Virginia offense moving. He might not be dynamic, and he might not have all the tools, but banged up, he gutted out a 24-of-50, 309-yard, one score day with two picks.
- Oklahoma State just couldn’t seem to get out of its own way with three turnovers, ten penalties and two very, very important missed field goals. It looked like the Cowboys were going to take control late, but they came away without any points after having the ball first and goal on the two.
- The Cowboys never let Charles Sims and the West Virginia running game get moving. Sims ran for 60 yards and a score on 18 carries, but he struggled to get free. The Mountaineers averaged 1.7 yards per try as OSU made Trickett and the short passing game get the job done.
- Give West Virginia’s defense credit for never letting the Oklahoma State running game get going. If QB J.W. Walsh is the leading rusher – with 52 yards on 16 carries – there’s a problem.

at Maryland 37, West Virginia 0
Basically … The Maryland defense forced six turnovers with A.J. Hendy taking one of the team’s two picks for a score, and Brad Craddock hit three second quarter field goals in an easy win. Dave Stinebaugh started out the scoring with a six-yard catch, and C.J. Brown and Brandon Ross added two short scoring runs.
- West Virginia was miserable, but Maryland helped make the O that way. The Mountaineers came up with just six first downs and 175 yards, and even when there were chances to make something happen, they screwed up.
- The Terp offense gave it up twice on fumbles, and it settled for field goals on deep drives in the second quarter, but this was a terrific blowout over a good-name team. Even so, it would’ve been nice if the running game could’ve worked a little better. West Virginia managed to stiffen against the run from time to time.
- Where’s the deep ball, West Virginia? The longest pass play was just 12 yards as Ford Childress completed 11-of-22 passes for just 62 yards with two picks.
- How’s this for a stat line for Maryland defensive back D.J. Hendy? No tackles, two recovered fumbles, one interception for a touchdown.

at West Virginia 41, Georgia State 7, Sept. 14
Basically … West Virginia coasted after taking a 17-0 first half lead on two Ford Childress touchdown passes. Daikiel Shorts caught a 21-yard scoring pass in the first quarter and scored from 23 yards out in the fourth, while Charles Sims added a 32-yard scoring dash as part of 24 unanswered points following a 65-yard Travis Evans touchdown run.
- It was Georgia State, arguably the worst team in the FBS, but Ford Childress looked the part. He might have misfired a bit, and his accuracy was an issue, but he threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns with a pick.
- What helps out a young quarterback in his first start? A good running game, and Charles Sims came up big with 116 yards and a score on 18 carries. The Mountaineer offense did whatever it wanted.
- Georgia State couldn’t complete a bit pass downfield. There were a few decent moments, but for the most part, quarterbacks Ben McLane and Ronnie Bell sputtered with Bell completing just 5-of-13 passes for 63 yards.
- It’s a learning process for Georgia State, but it needs to soon find one thing it can do well. Outside of one big run from Travis Evans, the offense generated just 155 yards. The team needs an identity to give someone something to worry about.

at Oklahoma 16, West Virginia 7, Sept. 7
Basically … West Virginia scored first on a weaving 75-yard touchdown run from Dreamius Smith, and then it was all Oklahoma the rest of the way with 16 unanswered points – but it wasn’t pretty. Mike Hunnicutt hit three field goals and Trevor Knight connected with Trey Millard for a one-yard score, but Blake Bell stepped in late after Knight threw two picks.
- Oklahoma’s defense stiffened in a real hurry. Much will be made about the sluggish win, but after giving up one big run, the Sooners didn’t give up anything else the rest of the way. The defensive back seven kept plays to a minimum.
- Paul Millard got time to work, but the 218 passing yards didn’t account for much of anything. He completed passes, 21-of-41, but the offense didn’t do anything meaningful. When the Sooner defense needed to get off the field, it did.
- Trevor Knight added a little flash with his legs, but the two interceptions showed just how far he has to go with the passing attack. Blake Bell didn’t exactly fire things up missing on his lone pass attempt, but he ran for 21 yards on two carries. Brennan Clay tore off 170 yards and Damien Williams added 95.
- It’s not a good thing when West Virginia’s biggest positive was the punter. Nick O’Toole did a nice job averaging over 45 yards per blast with three put inside the 20. He helped keep the game alive.

at West Virginia 24, William & Mary 17, Aug. 31
Basically … Down 17-7 at halftime, the West Virginia defense stuffed William & Mary in the second half and the offense came through with 17 unanswered points. Paul Millard found Ronald Carswell for a 69-yard score and Wendell Smallwood ran for a two-yard touchdown to put the game away.
- The quarterback situation should be settled. Millard might not be Geno Smith, but he was effective completing 19-of-25 passes for 237 yards and a score. He seemed a bit tentative, but he didn’t give away any picks and was fine in the second half.
- Charles Sims is going to have a huge season. He ripped off 23 carries for 120 yards and a score, and he steadied the offense.
- The defensive front has to start generating more pressure. It didn’t get to the passer enough, and while the line wasn’t gouged against the run, it wasn’t disruptive.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited The defense was bad, and head coach Dana Holgorsen is aware of the problem. There might be some massive personnel losses on offense, but it’ll all work itself out with Paul Millard and Ford Childress each good enough to step up for quarterback Geno Smith and produce, but the defense is still a major question mark after being ripped to shreds time and again, finishing up with an embarrassing performance in the loss to Syracuse in the Pinstripe. It all has to start with more toughness up front, and while run defense wasn’t too big of a statistical problem, the front line wasn’t effective enough. Tackle Shaq Rowell and end Will Clarke are back at their respective jobs, linebacker Isaiah Brue and Jared Barber return, and leading tackler Karl Joseph is back in the secondary.

Why To Be Grouchy Where are all the playmakers? Forgetting that the triggerman is gone, the Mountaineers have to find skill guys to help out the new starting quarterback and running back Andrew Buie. Stedman Bailey left early for the NFL, running back/receiver Tavon Austin is gone and third-leading receiver J.D. Woods has to be replaced. Throw in Ivan McCartney, and 298 of the team’s 378 catches and 41 of the 44 touchdown grabs have taken off. Don’t dismiss the loss of three starters in the offensive interior with center Joe Madsen and guards Josh Jenkins and Jeff Braun gone.

What Needs Working On The team has to stop allowing so many big plays, getting burned time and again by anyone who attempted to throw the ball a few yards down the field. Navy went to a bowl game, and so did Baylor. Those were the only two bowl teams worse at stopping offenses on third downs than West Virginia, whose defense couldn’t seem to get off the field. The offense was so potent and so efficient that time of possession didn’t seem to matter, but it actually did holding on to the ball for a mere 28:38 per game – the D sometimes didn’t get enough time to catch its breath. On the season, the defense allowed fewer than 300 yards just once – the blowout win over Kansas.

Non-Conference Games: William & Mary, Georgia State, at Maryland
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 7-5

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: William & Mary, Georgia State, at Maryland, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, at Kansas, Iowa State

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Baylor, at Kansas State, at TCU, Texas,

Schedule Analysis: Unlike most Big 12 teams, the Mountaineers need to deal with a nasty conference game early on, warming up against William & Mary before having to make a trip to Oklahoma. With Georgia State to follow, the offense will have a little bit more time to get some easy work in before dealing with a sneaky-tough non-conference date against Maryland in Baltimore. And then come the firefights with Oklahoma State, at Baylor and a week off before going against Texas Tech.

The team needs the week off before facing the Red Raiders considering it’s followed up by three road games in four weeks going to Kansas State, TCU and Kansas wrapped around a home game against Texas. In a strange and unfortunate twist, the second week off comes at the end between Kansas and Iowa State. In all, WVU has to play five conference road games and only get six games total in Morgantown.

Team Concerns For 2013: The team needs to get its fight back. The Mountaineer defense was miserable in a conference full of miserable defenses finishing last in the league in scoring and pass efficiency defense. The front line got shoved around time and again, bottoming out in the bowl loss to Syracuse to end the season on a sour note. Of course, the offense needs to come up with some new stars after losing Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey - but Dana Holgorsen will get everything ramped up. The punting game has to replace Corey Smith after finishing last in the Big 12 in net yards.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebackers. Of course Dana Holgorsen is going to bring in the offensive prospects, and he cranked it up on receivers with Shelton Gibson a find out of Ohio and JUCO transfer Ronald Carswell a possible instant answer for the loss of Stedman Bailey. Running backs Wendell Smallwood and Deshawn Coleman are going to eventually handle the ground game, while JUCO transfer Dreamius Smith will get a chance in the rotation right away. However, the Mountaineers need defensive help, and they got it at linebacker with Darrien Howard along with Al-Rasheed Benton and Marvin Gross all athletic and talented.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 24. That Class Was Heavy On ... More receivers. Head coach Dana Holgorsen got a few nice prospects last year for the offense, but this year he’s loading up on receivers and pass catchers to make his high-octane attack shine. The offense had more than its share of star prospect from recent classes, but the talent is flowing to assure that the passing game remains among the nation’s most dangerous. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 46. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. While all the talk about the coaching changes helped bring in offensive stars who want to be a part of the Dana Holgorsen attack, led by running backs Andrew Buie and Vernard Roberts and receivers Dante Caldwell and K.J. Myers, but the defense got the best all-around talents with JUCO transfer Shaq Rowell ready to roll right away at defensive tackle and linebacker Joshua Francis a strong JUCO transfer who’ll be used in a variety of ways. Safeties Terrell Chestnut, Shaquille Petteway, and Nick Kwiatkoski are all going to be factors in the next three years.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 35. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. West Virginia? Wide Receivers? Bill Stewart came up with several excellent, dangerous targets led by Ivan McCartney out of Florida. The 6-1, 175-pound playmaker spurned Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee to come to Morgantown, but Deon Long might end up playing earlier on. The Mountaineers also came up with several good defensive back prospects starting with safety Latwan Anderson, a flash of lightning who hits like a ton of bricks and chose WVU over Ohio State.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 24. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill position players. The Mountaineers have roped in a slew of speedy, dynamic backs and receivers, who can go a long with the ball. What else is new? This class, which is particularly heavy on outstanding wideouts, is tailored-made for an offense that hopes to throw the ball more than in the past. Logan Heastie was fielding interest from the likes of Florida and USC, so he might waste little time getting on the field. 

 

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