Besides being both fantastically good-looking and a notary public, I am also a trained psychic. As such, I am very qualified to take a look into the future, all the way to February 2009 (take that, Conan O'Brien).
Why February, 2009? Silly question. That's the next upcoming signing day, which for a recruiting nerd popular kid, is a big, big day. It's becoming even bigger considering the potential class that WVU is putting together. We're in the middle of August and already the Mountaineers have firm verbal commitments from the #1 WR (Logan Heastie), #2 FB (Chris Snook), #3 QB (Tajh Boyd), #16 WR (Deon Long), and #18 DT (Dominik Davenport).
That's pretty heady stuff. But it's nothing compared to the final product next February (remember, trained psychic on the job here).
As it stands now, West Virginia has 14 commitments. Because of player attrition, what was initially thought to be a smaller class now looks to be closer to the maximum of 25 players. It's a good thing, too, as there are about 5-10 top-of-the-line blup chip recruits who are very seriously looking at the Mountaineers. Who are they? Glad you asked.
- Lamar Miller (#3 RB) -- Miller is a big-time prospect that could make an immediate impact on whichever team he chooses. That team is likely to be the Mountaineers. Long looked to be a Miami lean, he has decided to look elsewhere after The U signed two other running backs (including #1 RB Bryce Brown, who is an outside shot to make an official visit to Morgantown). Unfortunately, for both WVU and Miller, his odds of qualifying are long.
- Tavon Austin (#4 RB) -- Instant offense -- or at least about 30+ schools think so. While Austin is ranked as one of the top running backs, he immediately projects as a starter in the slot receiver position. Recruiting him as such gets him on the field ASAP, allowing another playmaker on the field while Devine mans the starting running back position. Austin (and his parents) have had very good trips to Morgantown already, though Penn State looks like a real contender in this derby.
- Logan Thomas (#3 TE) -- Recently announced a top 7, which WVU was a part of (along with Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Clemson, Wake Forest, UNC, and Virginia). The Virginia schools are working hard to keep Thomas in state, but Chris Beatty has already pulled a ton of talent out of the state. Don't be surprised -- especially with the newfound spotlight on TEs at WVU -- if he does the same with Thomas.
- Morgan Moses (#9 OT) -- Not only are Mountaineer coaches recruiting Moses, so is Tajh Boyd. That's a real boost to the Mountaineers' chances, considering the haul from Virginia already (Heastie, Long, and Davenport). Moses is a prototypical NFL tackle, meaning schools like Michigan (Jake Long) and Virginia (D'Brickashaw Ferguson) could really carry some weight. Moses, still, looks like a WVU lean at this point.
- Jerrod Askew (#13 SLB) -- An absolute missile to the ball, Askew has been seen as a WVU lean for months. Both he and teammate Javanti Sparrow (see: below) may end up as a package deal in Morgantown. Only Maryland looks to be a serious player alongside the Mountaineers.
- Michael Carter (#13 CB) -- Carter is probably the longest shot on this list. And considering he's eager to get to Morgantown for a visit, that says a lot about the interest shown by all these players. Carter is a lockdown corner with offers from the biggest schools in the South (The U, Georgia, and Florida, among others). He's developing a rapport with Doc Holliday, so anything is possible.
- De'Antwan Williams (#47 RB) -- With Miller's qualification status iffy at best, Williams is a fantastic backup plan. While a scheduled visit to Morgantown didn't happen earlier this summer, the Virginia speedster has publicly reiterated that he really likes WVU's offense. That should be enough to secure an official visit this fall. And, he's in Virginia, and I've quickly learned to not count out Chris Beatty in Virginia.
- Javanti Sparrow (#66 CB) -- One of the crimes of the star/ratings system. How does a cornerback with offers from Florida, Clemson, Penn State, Virginia Tech, and WVU fall all the way to #66? Either way, Sparrow is a big-time player. With WVU's dearth of cornerback talent/bodies, both Carter and Sparrow are prime targets. If Askew eventually commits to the Mountaineers, look for Sparrow to be at least a heavy lean this direction.
Land three of those and you have arguably the best class in Mountaineer history. Land all eight and suddenly we have a top five class nationally.
While 8/8 might be unlikely, it's not out of the question. Another solid season (read: 11+ wins, BCS bowl) would be a massive boon to recruiting. I personally believe that this staff could recruit well even going 6-6. Giving them 11+ wins to work with is almost unfair to the rest of the nation.
And since I'm a psychic, I will tell you that we land at least 6 of the players on this list -- a major coup. And Coach Stew has some major pieces for his long-term puzzle.