The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

February 6, 2014

Henry, Crest highlight WVU recruiting class

MORGANTOWN — Recruiting, they say, is the life blood of a football program and after West Virginia’s performance over the last year and a half, few teams are in more need of a transfusion.

That is what made Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen come to life not long after he arose on Wednesday morning, National Letter of Intent Day.

“I was excited to see the first one come through at 7:01. It was awesome to see that,” he said.

And well he should have been, because he wasn’t going to get any better commitments than the one that arrived from Aliquippa High outside Pittsburgh, autographed by Dravon Henry, a 5-11, 185-pound cornerback/safety/anything-he-wants-to-be.

Henry had been offered by at least 25 other major schools, including national champion Florida State, but he liked what WVU’s Tony Gibson had told him.

“Coach Gibson told me I can start, but it’s up to me. Every other college just told me ‘You’re going to start. We need you.’ I don’t want nothing handed to me in life. That just means I’m up to the challenge and I want to be challenged,” Henry said.

Henry and quarterback William Crest, who like Henry is out of a pretty famous football high school, Dunbar, in Baltimore (who sent WVU another rather highly regarded player in Tavon Austin), were the two crown jewels of what would seem to be a strong, promising class although you never really know until you get them out there.

Toss an early — and very big — surprise that came at 7:35 from 6-foot-6, 330-pound Dontae Angus, an offensive lineman from Martin Luther King High in Philadelphia and you have things moving rapidly in the right direction.

Angus was thought to be going to Florida, but recently the coach who recruited him was removed from his position following a rather dismal season with a losing record for the Gators and Angus beefed about it.

He and his mother came to visit WVU this past weekend, on what was junior weekend.

“He had a great time,” said Holgorsen, who says he has him written in on offense.

WVU was in need of help on offense as they lost Pat Eger, Curtis Feight and Nick Kindler having graduate and they took a huge step filling that need among the 22 players they announced as signed in Angus, Morgantown High’s Amanii Brown; 6-6, 286-pound Walter Rauterkus of Avon, Ohio; 6-6, 290-pound Justin Scott from Detroit by way of Los Angeles Pierce College; and 6-6, 285-pound Sylvester Townes of Coahoma, Miss., Community College.

There is, perhaps, a budding star among the skill position players other than Crest, that being running back Donte Thomas-Williams, a 6-0, 221-pound do-everything back from Hillside High in Durham, N.C.

“He was our biggest target at running, and JuJuan Seider and Lonnie Galloway get dual credit for landing him. He is a ton of upside,” Holgorsen said. “He was important, along the same way we attacked William Crest. Coach Seider did a really good job with him. Galloway the base recruiter and both had a great relationship and won the kid over.”

Holgorsen compared him to Dreamius Smith, both being the same size and having the same style and said that Smith “did a great job hosting him on his visit here.”

If Holgorsen wants to — or has to — feature his running game this year, he is well equipped with Williams, Smith, Andrew Buie, Dustin Garrison, Rushel Shell and Wendell Smallwood.

But clearly the first thing Holgorsen is going to have to sort out — and he won’t be able to do it first — is the quarterback situation.

Even with Crest obviously being the quarterback of the future, he won’t be in until summer camp, so getting him ready will be difficult. Last year, it may be recalled, Clint Trickett missed spring and wasn’t ready to start until the fifth game — and then was injured.

Trickett again is going to miss part of spring after having undergone off-season shoulder surgery. That leaves Paul Millard to run things with the junior college transfer Skyler Howard from Riverside City College in California.

He is enrolled in school and while the coaches can’t work with him on the field, they can work with him off the field this year.

Logan Moore, formerly of Fairmont State, was moved back to quarterback after having spent much of last year at wide receiver.

“We’ve bounced him around and probably haven’t been fair to him,” Holgorsen admitted.

He will need him to work with Millard and Howard taking reps in the spring.

Other than at quarterback, Holgorsen’s numbers are higher than he’s ever had them and will have more than 70 bodies for spring drills, which will allow him to work almost like fall camp. They will have 85 in the fall, a full complement of players.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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