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WVU Announces Recruits

Holgorsen introduces the newest Mountaineers

February 2, 2012
By JIM ELLIOTT - Staff Writer ( , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MORGANTOWN - Saying he didn't have a particular position in which there was a need to stockpile players, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen announced the 2012 recruiting class Wednesday.

There are 26 players on the list, though five have already enrolled and count on last year's class, hailing from seven different states. Fourteen are offensive players and 12 are defenders who kept commitments, despite a significant coaching change on that side of the ball.

A record 11 hail from the state of Florida, four are from Ohio, four Texas, three from Maryland, two from New Jersey, and there's one each from Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

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By position, there is one quarterback, two running backs, four offensive linemen, one tight end, six receivers, three defensive linemen, three linebackers, four safeties, and two cornerbacks.

''There's a little bit of everything,'' Holgorsen said. ''As far as the balance, we're excited about where we are.''

With the Mountaineers' anticipated move to the Big 12, combined with a host of coaches who have recruiting ties in that part of the country, many expected them to look further west and southwest for players, but Holgorsen said that wasn't necessarily the thought.

''The Big 12 is widely regarded as one of the better conferences out there,'' Holgorsen said. ''We're aware of that and we're excited about where that's going to take us, but we have made a conscious effort to continue to take care of what's made West Virginia good for quite a while, which is recruit the surrounding states and then get in Florida and use the contacts that exist.''

To that end, West Virginia picked up one player from Miramar High School in Florida, which has been a pipeline for years under former Mountaineers player Damon Cogdell. It also plucked a player from Dunbar High School in Maryland, which is Tavon Austin's alma mater.

The latest recruit from Miramar is receiver Devonte Mathis (6-foot-2, 210). He had 35 catches for 552 yards and eight touchdowns last season for a team that went 13-1 and lost in the Florida 8A state championship game. Among those he spurned was Florida State and Ohio State. An athlete, Mathis spent his junior season between quarterback, running back and receiver.

The Dunbar product is Deontay McManus (6-1, 209), a player who turned down 18 other schools, including defending national champion Alabama, to play at WVU, where he was a solid commit from Day 1 (last summer). Last year, he caught 40 passes for 590 yards and six touchdowns.

''He's physically ready to compete at the next level,'' Holgorsen said.

The quarterback is one of the early enrollees in Ford Childress (6-4, 210). He's another guy who turned down schools from coast to coast to play in Holgorsen's offense. During his senior year, he completed 184 of 292 passes for 3,171 yards and 41 touchdowns.

The other four early enrollees are defensive tackle Imarjaye Albury (6-1, 280) out of Miami; safety Sean Walters (6-2, 195) out of Hallandale Beach, Fla.; Jordan Thompson (5-9, 163), a receiver out of Katy, Texas, and Karl Joseph (5-11, 190), a safety from Orlando.

''We did need a little help at inside receiver and safety, as well as quarterback,'' Holgorsen said. ''Those five guys should be able to come in and help us in the spring.''

Of Joseph, WVU's coach said it won't take long to adjust physically.

''He's got muscles sticking out everywhere,'' Holgorsen said.

The other receivers are Devonte Robinson (6-1, 170) from Delray Beach, Fla., who led Palm Beach County with 950 receiving yards on 31 receptions and 30.6 yards per catch; Darreall "Dee" Joyner (5-11, 180) from Miami, Fla., where he had 28 catches for 466 yards and five touchdowns for a nationally ranked team, and Tavares Copeland (6-0, 185) from Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Copeland played quarterback as a senior, where he completed 78 of 144 passes for 1,096 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Holgorsen said Robinson fits the mold as a pure wideout in that he's able to get down the field and catch the ball over his shoulder.

The running backs are Roshard Burney (5-10, 205) from Lake Park, Fla., and Torry Clayton (5-9, 195) from Florida City, Fla.

Burney led Palm Beach County in rushing yards with 2,000 on 284 carries and 19 touchdowns in 2011.

Holgorsen says Burney runs on his toes and ''smiles a bunch.''

Clayton, a little more of a slasher, finished 2011 as Miami-Dade County's seventh-leading rusher with 1,108 yards on 168 carries with 15 touchdowns.

You can never have enough RBs, Holgorsen said, reminding they started last season with five healthy bodies there and ended up with two.

One player drawing a bunch of attention from the coaches was tight end Will Johnson, who hails from Maple Grove, Minn.

He's 6-6, 245 and moves freely. Johnson liked the way the Mountaineers used Tyler Urban in the slot and hopes to build on Urban's numbers at the position.

The four offensive linemen average 6-5, 296, with at least one of them looking at a potential starting job. Mark Glowinski (6-5, 290) is the only junior college player to be brought in, having spent two years at Lackawanna College in Pa. There's a starting left tackle position open and Holgorsen said he's got a shot to grab it.

Also in the group is Tyler Orlosky (6-4, 290) from Lakewood St. Edward in Ohio, who finished his career grading out at 93 percent blocking efficiency and 72 pancake blocks, Adam Pankey (6-5, 324) from Hamilton, Ohio, who turned down among others - WVU fans love this - Pitt after the Mountaineers went in late and swayed him; and Tony Matteo (6-5, 280) from Clinton, Ohio, another player who was a solid commit from the beginning, Holgorsen said.

Of Orlosky and Matteo, the coach said they're just like line coach Bill Bedenbagh.

''They like to play football, lift weights, then go home, go to sleep, and wake up and do it again,'' the head coach said.

Changes are coming on the defensive side, with Holgorsen announcing the team will switch to a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme next year under a new, yet-to-be officially named coordinator.

The three defensive linemen are Christian Brown (6-3, 290), from Bridgeton, N.J.; Korey Harris, (6-4, 230) from St. Augustine, Fla.; and Noble Nwachukwu (nu-watch-ew-koo) (6-2, 240) from Wylie, Texas.

Nwachukwu and Harris are pass rushers, while Brown is a big strong body on the line.

Garrett Hope (6-3, 225) from The Woodlands, Texas and Sam Lebbie (6-2, 215), out of Washington, D.C., DeMatha HS) are the linebackers.

Lebbie played in the 2011 Chesapeake Bowl, where he was named the ''Most Physical Player,'' while Hope filled the stat sheet last season - 71 tackles, two forced fumbles, two passes defended, three sacks, 18 tackles for loss and seven quarterback hurries.

The safeties are Kimlon "K.J." Dillon (6-2, 185) from Apopka, Fla., and Jarrod Harper (5-11, 200) from Frostburg, Md.

Harper can't wait to get on campus - he'd walk if he had to, according to Holgorsen, who said no one in the class is more excited to be a Mountaineer than Harper, who shaved a flying WV in his head.

Finally, the two cornerbacks are Nana Kyeremeh (Ky-rum) (5-11, 170) from Worthington, Ohio, and Brandon Napoleon, (6-0, 175, Rahway, N.J.).

Kyeremeh is known for a quick burst that has allowed him to block several kicks, while Napolean will convert from quarterback, where he threw for 1,218 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

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