With the 2018 recruiting class pretty much in the books, the focus now turns to the 2019 class that already boasts a lot of talent. With the current coaching staff, you may have noticed some new pipelines in the states of Georgia and North Carolina. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon. Defensive line coach Bruce Tall has a history of finding North Carolina talent, while defensive backs coach Doug Belk has made his presence known in Georgia.
The Mountaineers have a head start with the 2019 class already having four verbal commits. Those being:
Linebacker- Lee Kpogba 6’2″ 210 lbs (Winston-Salem, NC)
Defensive End- Jalen Thornton 6’3″ 242 lbs (Cincinnati, OH)
Linebacker- Dewayne Grantham 6’0″ 195 lbs (Martinsburg, WV)
Kicker- Kolton McGhee 6’0″ 170 lbs (Altoona, PA)
Here are 3 keys to the Mountaineers 2019 recruiting success:
- RETAIN IN-STATE TALENT– Historically, the state of West Virginia has never produced much Division I talent, but over the past five to six years that is starting to change. The 2019 class may have the most top end talent the state has ever seen. This includes offensive lineman Darnell Wright of Huntington, offensive lineman Doug Nester (current Ohio State commit) of Spring Valley and safety Amir Richardson of University High School.
Likelihood of landing all three? 10% chance.
It seems like Doug Nester is a hard commit to Ohio State and does not seem to be backing off anytime soon. Darnell Wright has a host of big time offers from major programs, and it may be the Mountaineers’ toughest challenge in this cycle. Not ruling it out, but West Virginia certainly will have to out-recruit some major programs. As for Richardson, my guess would be sticking home and becoming a Mountaineer. It is still early in the process and he could certainly pick up some other major offers, but the feeling I get is that West Virginia is in a good position.
2. Add depth in the trenches– In the 2018 class, the coaching staff identified the desperate need of defensive line depth, and did a great job of filling that hole by signing Dante Stills, James Gmiter and Tyrese Allen. They Mountaineers already hold a verbal from Jalen Thornton, but I would expect at least one more in this class. Some potential targets?
Jaden McKenzie 6’2″ 275 (Wake Forest, NC)
Steven Faucheux 6″4″ 272 (West Chester, OH)
Parker Moorer 6’5″ 265 (Charlotte, NC)
As for offensive line recruits to keep an eye on:
Ikem Ekwonu 6’4″ 288 (Charlotte, NC)
Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu 6’7″ 310 (Navarro College)
Jakai Clark 6’2″ 305 (Loganville, GA)
Ryan Jacoby 6’5″ 270 (Mentor, OH)
3. Help in the secondary– With Kyzir White graduating and Dravon Askew-Henry entering his senior season, the Mountaineers will have to fill those guys’ spots rather quickly. Cornerback is a major concern going forward and the staff has relied heavily on the junior college route as of late. There are a few high school targets that the team will be pursuing hard. Below are a few guys that could potentially help the Mountaineers secondary.
M.J. Devonshire 5’11” 170 (Aliquippa, PA)
Jayvon Thrift 5’10” 187 (Irwin, PA)
Quinton Newsome 6’2″ 180 (Gwinnett, GA)
Nicktroy Fortune 5’11” 176 (Lawrenceville, GA)
There are obviously plenty of other needs for the Mountaineers, but these are the top three in my opinion. There is plenty of talent out there and Dana Holgorsen and company has a chance to build on what was a pretty phenomenal 2018 signing class.