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Positions of want drove West Virginia’s 2024 recruiting class

MORGANTOWN — There was clear intention current in West Virginia’s 2024 recruiting class that signed with the Mountaineers on Nationwide Signing Day Wednesday morning. Within the 22-man class, 4 signees are large receivers, 5 are defensive backs and two are linebackers.

It’s no coincidence that these signings match up with WVU’s weakest place teams.

Head coach Neal Brown was beforehand deliberate in build up the offensive and defensive traces and with these positions now in a great place, he has turned his consideration elsewhere.

“To get to the place we’re at offensive line-wise, we needed to be actually intentional with highschool recruiting and being actually particular with the transfers we added to there,” Brown mentioned. “We did the identical from a line of defense standpoint. We actually had only a few transfers, that was all highschool and banking on the developmental course of.”

Eager to observe an analogous plan for different positions, Brown started the reconstruction of the large receiver room final yr.

“It’s been a course of that we’re been remaking this receiver room since we underperformed in that bowl sport two years in the past in Arizona,” he mentioned. “It wasn’t an amazing room, the comradery wasn’t nice, the chemistry wasn’t nice.” 

Final yr, WVU added two freshmen who performed giant roles this season, Rodney Gallagher and Traylon Ray, and a few veteran transfers, Devin Carter and EJ Horton. 

The important thing signee Wednesday was four-star receiver Ric’Darious “Day Day” Farmer from Melbourne, Fl. Farmer initially dedicated to Pitt earlier than flipping to UCF in August. Wednesday, he flipped once more, signing with the Mountaineers.

“Loads of credit score to (assistant coaches) Chad (Scott) and Bilal (Marshall), they simply stored on him,’ Brown mentioned. “He’s obtained to achieve weight, however he’ll play early for us.”

The opposite receivers signed Wednesday have been Brandon Rehmann (Philadelphia, Pa.), Keyshawn Robinson (Ranson, W.Va.) and Dom Collins (Princeton, W.Va.).

The crew has additionally added Oklahoma State switch Jaden Bray.

With this yr’s crop of receivers, Brown feels just like the room is near the place he envisions it.

“It’s been a course of to get that room to the place they work, they’ve a very good perspective, there’s vitality in there and so they’re nice teammates,” he mentioned. “We’ve obtained a mixture of various kinds of gamers, we’ve obtained veteran management in there and we’ve obtained some guys which are position gamers. I don’t assume the makeover is full simply but, however I actually like the place we’re going with that room.”

Linebacker was one other spot the place the Mountaineers have been reliant on true freshmen this season. Josiah Trotter was in line to be a starter at first of the season however suffered an damage in camp. Trey Lathan then stepped in as a starter however sustained a season-ending damage himself at TCU. That opened the door for Ben Cutter to shut out the yr as a starter. All three had simply signed with the Mountaineers as a part of the 2023 class. 

On this class, WVU added inside linebacker Rickey Williams (Akron, Oh.) and outdoors linebacker Obinna Onwuka (Higher Marlboro, Md.). Former Ohio State Buckeye Reid Carrico additionally introduced his intent to switch to WVU on Tuesday.

“With this class, portal sensible and with this, we’ve obtained our linebacker room the place we would like it,” Brown mentioned. “It took some constructing there.”

Feeling good about receiver and linebacker, Brown has now turned his focus to the secondary, the crew’s thinnest place group by far.

“Now, we’re on to defensive backs,” Brown mentioned. “We’ve obtained to get extra high quality depth and extra high quality gamers there. We’re going to have to deal with that.” 

The 5 defensive backs signed Wednesday are Isreal Boyce (Douglasville, Ga.), Jason Cross Jr. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Christopher Henry (Dunnellon, Fl.), Zae Jennings (Cincinnati, Oh.) and Keyon Washington (Waldorf, Md.).

The crew has additionally already added three gamers from the switch portal with TJ Crandall (Colorado State), Josh Minkins (Louisville) and Ayden Garnes (Duquesne).

“We did it in highschool, we obtained 5, and we’re within the means of doing that within the portal,” Brown mentioned. “We most likely want so as to add one or two extra.”

Whereas addressing wants was a precedence on this recruiting class, it’s not just like the Mountaineers sat on their laurels elsewhere. The crew signed three offensive linemen, three defensive linemen and two working backs, regardless of already being deep at these positions.

“You’ve obtained to be intentional,” Brown mentioned. “The way in which I’m excited about it’s rooms. We’ve obtained to get the rooms proper.”

In-State Merchandise

In Brown’s 5 seasons at WVU, signing West Virginia’s in-state expertise has all the time been a precedence. That continued for the 2024 class because the crew added Collins (Princeton), Robinson (Jefferson) and Cabell Midland linebacker Curtis Jones Jr.

“I’ve all the time felt like if you happen to may have 20-25 of your scholarship gamers as West Virginia merchandise, that meant that a bit of over 1 / 4 of your roster understood what this system means to your state,” Brown mentioned. “They may not solely set the usual however talk how vital it’s to our state and who we characterize.

“Due to our inhabitants — not due to the extent of gamers or teaching — we’re not going to have as many (scholarship gamers) as another states. It’s important to establish them early after which you must recruit them.”

5 West Virginia natives signed with Energy 5 groups on Wednesday. WVU obtained three of them, however Robby Martin (Hungtington) and Cannon Lewis (Cabell Midland) each signed with NC State.

“We didn’t get each one in every of them, there’s no less than one, possibly two, that might have performed for us within the state this yr that we didn’t get.,” Brown mentioned. “It’s going to occur typically, however over the course of our 5 years right here, we’ve obtained a excessive share, if not nearly all of them, which have the potential (to play).”

Early Enrollees

Of the 22-player class, seven are slated to enroll early at WVU subsequent semester. These embody Boyce, Jennings, Onwuka, defensive linemen Nate Gabriel (Auburndale, Fl.) and Elijah Kinsler (Oradell, N.J.), tight finish Jack Sammarco (Cincinnati, Oh.) and quarterback Khalil Wilkins (Higher Marlboro, Md.).