The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

January 12, 2011

Three recruits enroll at WVU

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University’s football program received a needed boost on Wednesday when it announced that three players have enrolled for the spring semester and will begin their football careers in spring practice.

Quarterback Brian Athey, linebacker Josh Francis and defensive back Avery Williams each has a chance to be an important member of Bill Stewart’s final Mountaineer team.

Athey, a 6-3, 203-pound quarterback out of Eden Prairie (Minn.) High, is a much-needed immediate backup for starting quarterback Geno Smith.

It had been planned that Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson, both recruited last year, would be backup quarterbacks and possibly push Smith for the job, but Johnson did not make it through camp before returning home to Texas, and Brunetti played the season but returned home to Memphis after the Champs Sports Bowl.

That left Coley White and Bradley Starks, both converted from quarterback to wide receiver, as the only backups.

Athey will benefit greatly by being here to take in offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen’s first spring as he installs his new “Air Raid” offense.

Athley led his team to a combined 21-3 record as starting quarterback the past two years.

A star baseball player, Athey is the grandson of former WVU assistant and current radio analyst Dwight Wallace.

Francis, out of Lackawanna Junior College in Scranton, Pa., is expected to battle for a starting job, maybe even in the middle, although at 215 pounds he may be undersized there.

A first-team, 2010 NJCAA All-American, he was a hot commodity on the recruiting trail with Arkansas, Kansas State, North Carolina, Oregon and Rutgers offering him after he finished a two-year career with 95 tackles, 13 sacks and 19 tackles for losses.

Williams is a highly-regarded defensive back out of Washington, D.C.’s Calvin Coolidge High who originally signed a letter of intent with the Mountaineers last February but sat out the fall semester after failing to qualify.

He has legitimate 4.4 speed but at 5-10, 173 pounds is going to have to hit the weights. But he was being tracked Michigan State, Utah and Kansas.

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