I know it's the middle of the season, but that doesn't mean our coaches have stopped recruiting. Rest assured, Dana Holgorsen and Jake Spavital are probably cuddled up together sharing a snuggie in a back room of the Puskar Center watching prospect film as we speak. And since they don't take bye weeks off during the season, neither do we. Just as they're focusing on recruiting, so are we. And just as they're cuddled up together sharing a snuggie in a back room...let's not kid ourselves. We're probably going to be drinking a beer watching the World Series since I can't stand to see another clip of Collin Klein carving up our defense again.
But we are going to look at WVU's recruiting needs for the upcoming year. And these are minimum needs. Program attrition due to injury, transfer, academics, early departures for the NFL, etc., and coaches' assessment of the talent at any given position (as well as assessment of the talent of interested prospects) are going to dictate the final numbers. Later on, likely after the regular season, we will take a closer look at the recruits who have given verbal commitments to WVU and some of the remaining targets.
As the season progresses and we get a better idea of who will be coming back, departing, or even changing positions, we will update this page. So with that said, let's take a closer look at the Mountaineers' minimum needs for the 2013 recruiting class:
Quarterback: Geno Smith graduates (ugh), but Paul Millard and Ford Childress return on scholarship. Holgorsen has stated that he prefers to have four quarterbacks at any given time, so expect us to take two more this year.
Skill (RB/WR/TE): The minimum here is generally considered to be 20, and while Holgs likes to have a bevy of wide receivers, running back may be the more pressing need. WVU returns only Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison (and Cody Clay, if he's to be counted as a fullback) at running back, so expect 3-4 more running backs to replace Shawne Alston and blocking backs Ryan Clarke and Donovan Miles. Technically, 10 wideouts are slotted to return but one of those is Stedman Bailey. I'm not going to be shocked if he leaves for the NFL. I think we take at least 3 wide receivers in this class.
Offensive Line: 15 is the minimum here under most circumstances. The Mountaineers will technically return 11, and some attrition can be expected as guys look to move on after being passed up by more talented underclassmen. Thus, WVU needs to bring in a minimum of five offensive linemen.
Defensive Line: With the new 3-4 look, WVU still doesn't need to bring in too many defensive linemen. I expect 10-12 total is the goal. We have 10 scholarship guys slotted to return, and you can probably expect another 1-2 walkons to get scholarships, but you never want to leave a position bare in any class. I say expect 3 DL here.
Linebacker: WVU is young and deep at linebacker, with only Terence Garvin and Josh Francis departing. We return 10 on scholarship, but will likely add at least four more to help boost depth at a position where we start 4 players.
Defensive Back: All six safeties return and six out of seven corners will be back. Given a typical need of 18 defensive backs, expect 2-3 corners and 2-3 safeties to land in Morgantown next fall.
Special Teams: WVU typically has a kicker and punter both on scholarship. Tyler Bitancurt and Corey Smith will be gone next year, but scholarship kicker Josh Lambert returns. Anticipate one scholly going to a specialist.
Summary: That's 2 quarterbacks, 5-6 skill players, 4-5 offensive linemen, 3-4 defensive linemen, 4 linebackers, 4-5 defensive backs, and 1 punter for a full class of 25.
Of course, some of those needs appear to have been filled, assuming guys who have given verbal commitments keep their word. So far, the Mountaineers have verbal pledges from 16 players: QB Chavas Rawlins; RBs Deshawn Coleman, Zaire Williams, Jacky Marcellus and Wendell Smallwood; WR Daikiel Shorts; OLs Tyler Edwards, Tyler Tezeno and Marcell Lazard; DL De'Asian Richardson; LBs Al-Rasheed Benton, Isaac McDonald, Elijah Wellman, Darrien Howard and Hodari Christian; and DB Daryl Worley. While de-commitments, grayshirts and transfers may all impact the final numbers, expect to see at least 9 more players in this coming class.