I live and breathe recruiting, which is a shame because I rarely get to leave my basement. Then again, I am very well informed when it comes to the mindset of hundreds of seventeen year-olds, which isn't as sexy and fun as it sounds.
In keeping up with these teenagers, I read a lot of interviews on school preferences, etc. In those interviews, at least when West Virginia is mentioned, there is one resounding theme: Pat White and Steve Slaton.
Generally, this is how that theme is presented:
"I love West Virginia. I grew up watching __________ (either White or Slaton) and think I can be that type of player."
It really doesn't matter if the recruit is a running back or offensive tackle, they want to be White or Slaton. And not to mention the fact that they make me feel incredibly old by saying they grew up watching two players that were scheduled to graduate last year.
In the big scheme of things, I don't think we can properly appreciate what White and Slaton did for us as a school. Slaton was a great back while he was here, but his emergence in the NFL has greatly multiplied the recruiting benefits to the school (if there is any residual distaste for him leaving early, surely it's being eradicated quickly). These two guys have put us squarely on the map. Couple that with the effect Noel Devine has had (already), and we are a player for a lot of playmakers that were just dreams in years past. We have reaped the benefits already with Tavon Austin last year, not to mention the corps of athletic WRs.
So, and I can't say this enough, there may be arguing on who was the best player in Mountaineer history, but there is little question on what two players have had the greatest effect on our program.