It would be unfair to give this recruiting class one single grade. Context plays a big role in these types of evaluations. It is easy for a national talking head to look at the class, ranked #37 by Scout.com, and dismiss it as being undeserving of a top 10 team. Well, that's simply not the case.
To me, there are three separate grades for this class. They are...
Graded nationally: C+
Compared to other WVU classes: B
After the shit we've been through in the past 2 months: A-
Of course, ranking #37 for a perennial top 10 team isn't going to turn many heads -- unless they're turning to tell us how much we suck. But for WVU, it's nothing new. At least under Rodriguez (and Nehlen to an extent), our recruiting rankings have always trailed our actual rankings, telling me that either WVU is a better judge of talent than most of the nation or we simply just make things work. It's probably a little of both.
But today, as I write this, #37 sounds pretty damn good, especially when you consider that it could've been much, much worse. HCBS entered way behind the recruiting curve in 2008. He was named coach on January 3, leaving a month and three days until signing day. Considering most of the staff wasn't hired until weeks afterward, the fact that we even signed players is an accomplishment. The fact that we came up with some heralded recruits is a testament to HCBS and especially, the staff he assembled.
OK, so enough of the circumstances. Now on to the actual recruits, which I have attempted to rank the top ten in order of skill/importance to WVU.
- Josh Jenkins, OL -- This was huge. We as a University can not afford to let the few high D-I athletes that live in WV get out of the state. He's also an athletic, run-blocking offensive lineman, which fits perfectly in our system.
- Tevita Finau, DE -- Finau should immediately step into the vacancy left by Johnny Dingle. He's big, fast, and has a year of post high school football under his belt. For the big picture, I really like occasionally recruiting JUCO players that have 3 years of playing eligibility left, simply to plug holes. We had a huge hole at DE and Finau has 4 years to play 3. Perfect.
- Terence Kerns, RB -- We really needed a big running back alternative to Noel Devine, just as a change of pace. Kerns, assuming he qualifies, should do exactly that. Just like Finau, Kerns has a year of football between high school and college (at Hargrave), which should better prepare him for immediate playing time.
- Coley White, QB/ATH -- I have no idea if he'll end up a QB at WVU, but simple lineage points to him being a successful player. With only Starks and Russell blocking him, White may be the answer at QB after Brown graduates. If not, his size and speed should make him a fine WR.
- Benji Kemoeatu, C -- I can't stress enough the importance of a good center in this spread, zone-blocking scheme. It also helps if you can hit our QB in the hands with a snap, something that eluded us at times this year (see: Florida, South). Just like Coley White, Kemoeatu's NFL lineage makes for a high ceiling.
- Donovan Miles, LB
- J.D. Woods, WR
- Jeff Braun, DT
- Robert Sands, ATH
- Tyler Urban, FB