WVU’s recruits fill needs

They haven’t played a single down in a West Virginia University uniform, but the Mountaineer recruiting class of 2014 already has started generating plenty of discussion among fans.

Problem is, however, those questions won’t be answered until West Virginia takes the field to open the 2014 season and there may still be plenty of queries following WVU’s opener against SEC stalwart Alabama.

Part of the class, which could include up to 30 recruits, already is in Morgantown and preparing for spring drills in late March and early April.

One in particular, Riverside City College transfer Skyler Howard, has been a constant topic of discussion among fans. The 205-pound quarterback is expected to offer an immediate challenge to incumbents Clint Trickett and Paul Millard.

Quarterback isn’t the only position where newcomers are expected to battle incumbents for starting jobs over the next months.

University of Houston transfer Charles Sims was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing 4-8 campaign.

The Newcomer of the Year in the Big 12 and his 1.095 rushing yards will be hard to replace.

The position appears to be in good shape, however, with the expected return of Dreamius Smith and Wendell Smallwood as well as the addition of University of Pittsburgh transfer Russell Shell.

WVU also returns a solid cast of characters at wide receiver.

Daikiel Shorts finished with the same number of catches as Sims (45) while the unit also brings back Kevin White, Mario Alford and George Washington’s Cody Clay and adds freshman Shelton Gibson.

Dana Holgorsen’s fourth recruiting class doesn’t have ‘star’ power, but it does appear to fill some of the depth issues that West Virginia suffered during an agonizing 2013 campaign.

Junior college transfers Sylvester Townes, Edward Muldrow III and Keishawn Richardson should provide immediate help at offensive tackle, outside linebacker and cornerback, respectively.

That trio, as well as Howard, already are signed, sealed and delivered as they are attending classes and working out.

Townes is just one of several offensive tackles in the class and demonstrates Holgorsen’s desire to shore up a unit that lost Pat Eger, Curtis Feigt and Quinton Spain and performed – at best -average this past season.

Three-star athletes Justin Scott (Pierce Junior College), Jamie Herr (Eastern Christian Academy), Yodny Cajuste (Miramar High School) and Walter Rauterkus (Avon High School) could climb up the depth chart when they report in the summer.

Defensively, fans are hoping that 4-star cornerback Dravon Henry carries through with his verbal commitment and that 3-star safety D’Cota Dixon elects to make Morgantown his home following his recent visit.

Of course, surprises – both good and bad -should be expected when letters begin to be faxed this morning to anxious coaching staffs around the country.

Contact Jim Butta at jbutta@newsandsentinel.com