Yesterday, WVU announced that nine players would be enrolling for the spring semester. This is up from the five early enrollees in 2015 and six in 2014. Early enrollees always have a leg up on their incoming recruits in the summer. A quick list of early enrollees shows players who have contributed within their first year.
In 2014, QB Skyler Howard and linebacker Edward Muldrow were part of a six-man early class. Edward played in 13 games in 2014, logging 30 tackles and playing on over 500 snaps. Skyler came on in relief of injured starter Clint Trickett in the second half of the Kansas State, finishing the year with 800 yards and no interceptions. He started all 13 games in 2015 and looks to be in the lead for the starting quarterback position in 2016.
In 2015, Kyle Bosch, David Sills and Larry Jefferson were part of the spring enrollees. Kyle quickly became entrenched along the offensive line, helping to lead Wendell Smallwood to the Big 12 Rushing Title. David Sills burned his redshirt against Baylor and caught his first touchdown in the same game. In the Cactus Bowl, David took a 15-yard pass from Skyler and scored the game-winning touchdown for the Mountaineers. Larry Jefferson is a pass rush specialist who the staff feels can bring the extra dimension to the defense to help stop the high powered offenses in the Big 12.
The list of 2016 early enrollees is impressive:
S - Dylan Tonkery - Tonkery. The name sounds familiar doesn't it? Because in 2014, Dylan's brother Wes was a senior linebacker at WVU. As the Mountaineers finalized their recruitment of Tonkey in 2014, the team informed brother Wes they planned to offer his brother. Dylan rewarded the Mountaineers by setting a Class AA Super Six record with 315 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns.Another WV native, Tonkery was rated the #2 player in the state by Scout. Tonkery is being recruited as a safety and with the loss of Karl Joseph, Tonkery could push for playing time.
CB - Jacquez Adams - A former 2015 signee who did not qualify academically. Jacquez took the semester to get his grades in proper order and is now a part of the 2016 class. This is a win-win for both the team and Adams. Showing the determination to get his work together and come back will help in the future.
LB - Logan Thimons - A highly productive linebacker out of Pennsylvania, Thimons recorded over 400 career tackles in high school. Rated the #1 inside linebacker in Pennsylvania by Scout, Thimons has the size (6'1, 220 lbs) and production (3-time All-Allegheny First Team) to challenge the redshirt freshman for a starting spot with the loss of the 3 senior linebackers.
DL - Reese Donahue - A West Virginia native who played at Cabell Midland, Reese is the first player in WV history to win the award for best lineman and best defensive player. Reese is a little underweight for the defensive line at 245 pounds but time in the weight room should easily help that. Reese was one of the top players in WV, if not the top player depending on which site was looked at. Donahue also held offers from Purdue and Cornell.
DT - Jeffrey Pooler - The demolition of Maryland this year helped immediately in the recruiting game. Jeffrey Pooler was committed to Maryland but started to waver on his commitment and soon de-committed from Maryland after the embarrassing loss to the Mountaineers. Quickly, WVU was able to sell a program on the rise and stole the Dayton, Ohio defensive tackle. At 6'4 and 290 pounds, Pooler has the size to help replace NT Kyle Rose along the interior. Pooler recorded 8 sacks in his senior season and held offers from Louisville, Maryland and Tennessee.
OL - Jacob Buccigrossi - Jacob suffered a season-ending injury in 2015 but was still ranked the #3 guard in Pennsylvania and the #7 guard regionally. Jacob also had offers from Arizona, Virginia and Northwestern.
RB - Kennedy McCoy - A taller (6'2") running back from North Carolina, Allan Taylor just listed him the #1 most important recruit of the 9 early signees. The loss of Smallwood certainly highlights the needs for the running backs to improve and perform. Rushel Shell has been underwhelming in his two years at WVU. Kennedy set his school's single season and career rushing yards mark. He held a litany of scholarship offers from schools along the East Coach including Boston College, Virginia and North Carolina among others.
QB - Cody Saunders - Getting a quarterback into school early is always a plus. Over the five years of Dana Holgorsen's tenure, it has always taken a quarterback a year of live fire to play up to their full potential in this offensive scheme. As we saw with former QB Clint Trickett, coming in cold in August is extremely tough. Saunders continues the tradition of more mobile quarterbacks for WVU as he rushed for over 1,000 yards his senior season and over 2,200 in his career while throwing for over 4,000 yards. Saunders was ranked the #16 quarterback in the nation and held an offer from South Florida.
WR - Marcus Simms - Another wide receiver from Maryland? Simms is a 6'0", 4-star receiver according to ESPN who was a big play receiver for his high school team. Marcus had over 1,000 yards on only 43 catches his senior season, leading to the Montgomery County 4A Player of the Year. Scout.com ranked him the #5 receiver in Maryland. Simms held offers from Boston College, Maryland and Pitt.