The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

February 4, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN: Recruit ranks don’t always matter

MORGANTOWN — Funny isn’t it, how much time and money and effort is spent on recruiting a class of 19 freshmen football players by West Virginia University when, in reality, no matter how good the class turns out, it doesn’t include their best two recruits.

No less an expert on the matter of recruiting than the Mountaineers’ head coach Bill Stewart said as much on Wednesday as he introduced a class that includes a couple of high profile quarterbacks and a whole bunch of promising receivers, maybe even enough to actually allow Jeff Mullen to throw the ball something like he wants to throw it.

But as good as Barry Brunetti and Co. may be, he being the Parade All-American quarterback out of Memphis’ University High, he can’t match the two recruits that stand head and shoulders above this class, even though they are shorter than anyone in the class.

“The best two recruits we had this year were No. 7 and No. 9,” Stewart said, smiling about it.

For those of you with short memories, No. 7 is a fellow named Noel Devine, a running back with rather startling credentials, and No. 9 is his running mate, slotback Jock Sanders.

When this past football season came to a rather disappointing conclusion, a .500 Florida State outfit winning one last game for the old coach, Bobby Bowden, in the Gator Bowl, it was widely believed that we all had seen the last of both of them and the combined 2,505 yards and 18 touchdowns they accounted for running and receiving.

The NFL seemed to be beckoning and who ever would have believed that they would turn down a chance to move in that direction.

Yet, when it came time to pull the trigger, both put their NFL gun back into the holster and decided to go for the brass ring one more time as college players.

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