Recruits give WVU fans hope

Even those of us who believe West Virginia University should have dismissed Dana Holgorsen from his position as its head football coach want him to succeed.

Not just because of our love for the state and the school, but also because we know nothing shapes the image of the Mountain State more than West Virginia football, its most visible entity outside our borders.

Yet, the skeptic in us asks what is going to be different in 2014.

Given that Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has endorsed the coaching staff and thus its way of conducting business, the only noticeable difference will be in personnel. The seniors will be gone and will be replaced by an incoming group of recruits.

As Casey Stengel said -in the way only Stengel could say it – after his original New York Mets went 40-120, “All my ballplayers has failed. I need me some new ballplayers who have never failed before.”

The good news for Mountaineer fans is that some of the new ballplayers who have given their verbal commitments to West Virginia are among the nation’s most sought-after recruits, including four who are part of ESPN’s list of the top 300 players available.

That means they likely will have the talent to step right in and make a difference, which is what West Virginia desperately needs them to do.

The highest rated Mountaineer recruit is athlete Dravon Henry of one of Pennsylvania’s most storied high school football programs the Aliquippa Quips.

Everyone has their own way of judging recruits. I’ve always looked to see what other schools were seeking the player, figuring the more positive opinions, the better the result is likely to be. Henry’s list of offers is extremely impressive. It includes defending national champion Alabama and likely national champion Florida State as well as fellow Big 12 member Baylor. Henry shunned offers from Pennsylvania’s two highest profile programs -Penn State and Pittsburgh – to commit to WVU.

On to wide receiver Lamar Parker of Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, ranked 229th by ESPN (31st at receiver), yet another athlete being recruited by Florida State. Two of his more interesting offers came from Marshall and Hawaii.

Another Miami wide receiver, Jake McCrary of Coral Reef High School is ranked 280th overall and No. 40 at receiver. He turned down offers from Florida, Florida State, LSU, Auburn, Boise State and Marshall, among others.

Just two players below McCrary -at No. 282 -is Davonte James, an outside linebacker from Springfield, Ohio, who had offers from Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, and, drum roll, please, Marshall. Both McCrary and James committed early to WVU or they may have drawn even more attention.

So at least we have some new ballplayers who have never failed before.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com