WVU Adds Two Lineman

MORGANTOWN — The official National Letter of Intent Signing Day came and went on Wednesday with little, if any, fanfare.

After inking 20 new players to the Mountaineers program in December, Coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff went into the traditional signing day with only six scholarships remaining for the Class of 2018.

Two of those were grabbed up by offensive linemen Michael and Joe Brown.

The Compton, Calif. natives come to Morgantown from Eastern Arizona Community College.

Michael Brown (6-foot-3, 340 pounds) earned 2017 All-WSFL First Team Offense (Western States Football League) and 2017 All-ACCAC First Team Offensive (Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) honors.

The Monsters finished with an 8-4 mark and a win in the Salt City Bowl.

Joe Brown (6-4, 340) earned 2016 All-ACCAC First Team Offense honors. He was part of the 2016 team which finished with a 9-3 and a Salt City Bowl victory.

The duo aren’t only brothers, but they are the two biggest players signed in this year’s class.

Michael Brown prepped at Paramount High but didn’t play football there. A Kansas commit, he switched to West Virginia and will have three years to play two.

Joe Brown began his college career at Miami, seeing action in seven games — starting three — during his redshirt freshman season in 2015. However, the elder Brown left Miami and eventually ended up at Eastern Arizona with his brother. He will have one year of eligibility remaining.

The signings couldn’t have come at a better time as WVU appears to be in great need of interior linemen following its loss to Utah in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Outstanding tackles Yodney Cajuste and Colton McKivitiz return, but the interior three left fans with a lot of concerns.

Sophomore centers Matt Jones and Jacob Buccigrossi return, as do left guards Josh Sills and Chase Behrndt. Senior Isaiah Hardy is also back after filling in for Cajuste at tackle against the Utes.

The Mountaineers will also have junior Kelby Wickline, the son of offensive line coach Joe Wickline, back but the right guard spot appears to be up for grabs as the Old Gold and Blue head into spring drills beginning March 4.

Holgorsen explained after the December signing date that the Mountaineers could add as many as six more players to the class. With these two signings the staff will have three or four more that could be added.

Director of Player Personnel Ryan Dorchester told WVU Sports’ John Antonik that the staff is still looking for another defensive lineman, a corner and the “best available athlete” to round out the class. Those could possibly end up being graduate transfers.

“The last thing you want to do at this stage in the game is panic and fill a number just for the sake of doing it,” Dorchester said. “Be patient, wait and see and we may be able to get a better player who can be a guy who provides meaningful snaps to the program.

“Maybe he becomes available after spring, maybe it’s next month. Who knows when the timing may be?”

West Virginia already has three quality transfers from Power 5 programs that will be available for the spring — Miami quarterback Jack Allison, Miami tight end Jovani Haskins and Alabama wide receiver T.J. Simmons.

“Those guys are a part of this class too,” Holgorsen explained in December. “To me, it’s not about a day or a class. It’s about what your roster looks like come Aug. 1. That’s what counts.”

Tavis Lee, a 6-foot-3 225-pound linebacker from Martinsburg, was also expected to sign, but the school had not received his letter of intent or grant in aid.