Mario Alford

WR

5’9″

175 lbs

Georgia Military College
The skinny: The three-star receiver (a former 100-meter state champion in Georgia) track speed. Had been committed to Arizona since October, but Tony Gibson’s return to West Virginia apparently helped the Mountaineers flip Alford. Ole Miss and Texas Tech also were pursuing Alford, who is rated a four-star prospect by 247. Rivals ranked him the No. 82 junior-college prospect nationally. He ran for 541 yards on 52 carries this season, while making eight catches for 199 yards. He was an all-state honorable mention quarterback at Greenville (Ga.) High.

Ronald Carswell

WR

6’0″

180 lbs

Itawamba (Miss.) Community College
The skinny: He’s a former Alabama signee who spent a redshirt season with the Crimson Tide in which he spent time in Nick Saban’s doghouse. Carswell draws comparisons to departed WVU receiver Stedman Bailey — comparisons that are almost unfair to a player who caught only one touchdown in junior college this season. (He made 44 catches for 429 yards overall.) With the Mountaineers receiving corp depleted by the losses of Bailey, Tavon Austin, J.D. Woods and even Ryan Nehlen, Carswell should be a factor immediately. The Macon, Ga., native signed in December (spurning an offer from Kentucky) and has three years of eligibility remaining.

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Hodari Christian

LB

6’1″

215 lbs

McKeesport (Pa.) High School
The skinny: Rivals rates him a three-star prospect and the No. 25 recruit out of Pennsylvania. Christian chose WVU over offers from Pitt, Purdue, Illinois, Rutgers, Northwestern, Temple and Akron. He said West Virginia coaches like his speed enough to give him a crack at playing the Star position vacated by Terence Garvin, though Christian eventually could grow into an inside linebacker.

Malik Greaves

DB

6’2″

197 lbs

Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood High
The skinny: Rivals rates him a three-star prospect and the No. 45 safety prospect nationally. Greaves was a Vanderbilt commitment before switching to WVU and entertained offers from Auburn, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia, South Florida, Duke and Southern Miss. He’ll likely begin in the secondary for WVU, though he could move to linebacker. His prep coach, Adam Geis, believes Greaves has the coverage skills to play corner in college. “He’s a big corner and they are tough to find. He’s one of those kids that can run, he can really catch well and his thing is to shutdown receivers with his size,” Geis told WVSports.com.

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Chavas Rawlins

QB

6’4″

190 lbs

Monessen (Pa.) High School
The skinny: Rivals rates him a three-star prospect, the No. 14 recruit out of Pennsylvania and the 20th-ranked dual-threat quarterback nationally. Rawlins held offers from 16 Division I schools, highlighted by Tennessee, Pitt, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Rutgers and South Florida. By enrolling early, Rawlins has at least a minuscule shot of challenging Paul Millard and Ford Childress for the next season’s starting QB job, though his skills also translate to other positions should WVU’s coaches try other means of getting him on the field.

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Daikiel Shorts

WR

6’1″

199 lbs

Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy
The skinny: Rivals rates him a three-star prospect, who also fielded offers from UCLA, Boise State, N.C. State, Maryland, Temple and UMass. He committed to the Mountaineers last summer and hasn’t wavered even though he was openly disappointed about the dismissal of his lead recruiter, cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts. Recruiting analysts say Shorts is versatile enough to play inside or outside receiver in WVU’s Air Raid attack.

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Wendell Smallwood

RB

5’11″

194 lbs

Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy
The skinny: Rivals rates him a three-star prospect, the No. 15 recruit out of Maryland and the 39th-ranked running back nationally. He selected WVU over Auburn, Tennessee, Boston College, Rutgers, UConn and Temple. Behind Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison, the running back situation appears wide open. Smallwood has workhorse potential though Dana Holgorsen’s offense typically spreads the carries.

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Dreamius Smith

RB

6’1″

220 lbs

Butler (Kan.) Community College
The skinny: Rivals rates him a three-star prospect. His carries limited by injury and splitting time with two other backs, Smith still ran for 984 yards and 17 touchdowns last season while averaging 8.2 yards per attempt. He chose WVU over Oklahoma State, Kansas and K-State, and recruiting analysts paint him as a more athletic version of Shawne Alston.

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Kevin White

WR

6’4″

210 lbs

Lackawanna (Pa.) Community College
The skinny: Rivals rates him a late-blooming three-star prospect who jumped onto WVU’s radar after a surprising sophomore season. Possessing the size and speed to be a dynamic outside receiver, White signed with the Mountaineers over Texas Tech, Hawaii, Bowling Green and Umps. “He can stretch the field, and he really moves well in space for a big kid,” said his juco coach Mark Duda. “He hit the (radar) screen this year and just exploded. He made some catches people can’t make and some runs people can’t make. It happened really fast. His body’s so big, he shields you from the ball. It’s really tough for a normal-sized defensive back, a 6-footer, to compete with that kid.”

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Al-Rasheed Benton

LB

6’2″

220 lbs

Newark (N.J.) Malcolm X Shabazz High
The skinny: A three-star recruit per Rivals (and four-star according to 247 Sports), Benton was recruited primarily by Jake Spavital, who left for Texas Tech in January. Benton, one of Spavital’s prized targets because of toughness and tackling ability, said the staff turnover would not dissuade him from signing with WVU. “The Big 12 needs to watch out,” Benton told Rivals in reference to a potentially top-25 Mountaineers signee class. … Said Holgorsen: “Physically, he is as dynamic as we have seen. If you put him with our whole team right now, you wouldn’t be able to tell that he is a new kid.”

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DeShawn Coleman

RB

6’0″

170 lbs

Hermitage (Pa.) Hickory High
The skinny: A three-star recruit who ran for 1,730 yards and 28 touchdowns on a mere 151 carries this season. That followed an even more productive junior campaign when Coleman ran for 2,393 yards and 31scores. He committed to West Virginia last April over Pitt and Purdue. Coleman might have been more prominently ranked had he not skipped the camps circuit. Scout ranks him the 15th-best prospect in Pennsylvania.

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Shelton Gibson

WR

6’1″

175 lbs

Cleveland Heights (Ohio) High
The skinny: The four-star pickup committed to WVU in late November, spurning Ohio State, Auburn, Nebraska, Pitt, Cal, Michigan State and Tennessee, though he told Rivals within the past two weeks that the Vols had his attention and he might face a big decision on Signing Day. (He Tweeted last week, however, that “Country Roads” is now on his playlist.) Nearly half of his 45 catches went for touchdowns (21) last season. … Holgorsen’s assessment: “When you watch him on tape, he is extremely, extremely talented. He is also hard to tackle.”

Brandon Golson

LB

6’3″

220 lbs

Georgia Military College
The skinny: The three-star outside linebacker had been committed to Arizona since October, but as was the case with junior college teammate Mario Alford, Golson’s relationship with returning WVU assistant Tony Gibson led to a change of heart. Originally a South Carolina signee, Golson was ranked No. 35 on the Rivals postseason list of junior college prospects.

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Marvin Gross

DE

6’4″

225 lbs

Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar High
The skinny: He put together a monster senior season with 33 sacks, helping his team to its third consecutive state championship. The three-star pass rusher fielded offers from Rutgers, Purdue, Washington, Wake Forest, Colorado and Uconn, but announced in November that he would become the third Dunbar player to join WVU in the past five years. In a curious twist, he met with new Mountaineers assistant Lonnie Galloway during a mid-January visit, the same coach who recruited Tavon Austin before spending the last two years at Wake Forest. Gross figures to play the Buck position manned last season by Josh Francis.

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d’Vante Henry

LB

6’5″

205 lbs

Arizona Western Community College
The skinny: The three-star prospect committed to WVU in December and created some anxious moments by visiting Oklahoma in mid-January. He reportedly has 4.4 speed and seems like an ideal fit at the Buck linebacker spot, though Henry might best be served by a redshirt season in order to add 20 pounds. He also had offers from Texas A&M, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Minnesota and Oregon State.

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Darrien Howard

LB

6’2″

250 lbs

Dayton (Ohio) Chaminade-Julienne
The skinny: A four-star recruit rated as the No. 16 inside linebacker in the nation by Rivals, Howard committed to WVU in June over offers from Pitt, Illinois, Indiana, Cincinnati, Kentucky and Western Kentucky. He made 154 tackles with three interceptions and four fumble recoveries as a junior, but opened his senior season with an ankle injury and was limited to eight games.

Dontrill Hyman

DE

6’4″

265 lbs

Hinds (Miss.) Community College
The skinny: WVU’s newly hired assistant Brian Mitchell recruited Hyman to East Carolina two years ago, and subsequently steered the defensive end to Hinds after he failed to qualify. Hyman, who said he’s in good academic standing now, registered 7.5 sacks last season and finished third on the Hinds defense with 61 tackles. The two-star prospect also fielded offers from LSU, Mississippi State and ECU. “The guy’s a beast,” said WVU defensive line coach Erik Slaughter. “He’s long and athletic. People thought he was my dad when he came in here on his visit. He’s a full-grown man.”

Marquion Lane

DB

6’2″

184 lbs

DeLand (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy
The skinny: The three-star prospect has size and athleticism to play corner or safety. Rivals rates him the No. 72 cornerback in the nation and the 95th-best prospect in Florida. He announced his decision only Wednesday morning, though he had long listed the Mountaineers as his top choice. He also had offers from Florida State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Arkansas, Louisville, Indiana, Illinois, South Florida and others.

Marcell Lazard

OL

6’6″

293 lbs

Bloomfield (N.J.) High
The skinny: The 13th-rated overall prospect in New Jersey and the 33rd-rated offensive tackle in the nation, Lazard committed last April over offers from Florida, Ohio State, Pitt, Miami, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina. After helping his team to the state championship game, he alternated at both tackles during the Chesapeake Bowl and showed athletic flashes of why he’s so coveted.

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Grant Lingafelter

OL

6’5″

265 lbs

Chagrin Falls (Ohio) High
The skinny: The former Miami (Ohio) commitment couldn’t pass up a chance to play in the Big 12 once WVU extended a late offer. Other major-college programs — such as Illinois and Michigan State — were also showing interest after Lingafelter showed huge development in his senior season. After playing in an uptempo, pass-first offense in high school, the three-star prospect should acclimate well at West Virginia, even though a redshirt season seems likely.

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Jacky Marcellus

RB

5’8″

175 lbs

Immokalee (Fla.) High
The skinny: The No 18-rated all-purpose back in the nation committed last July, choosing WVU over the likes of Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Rutgers, Cincinnati, UConn and Northern Illinois. Boise State also made a push for Marcellus, whose senior season was cut short by a leg injury. He averaged 11.2 yards per carry as a junior and caught 34 passes, accounting for 17 total touchdowns.

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Isaac McDonald

S/LB

6’6″

205 lbs

Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic
The skinny: The three-star prospect originally committed to Clemson and fielded offers from Notre Dame, South Carolina, Stanford, Louisville, Ole Miss, North Carolina and Purdue. His senior-season totals: 68 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and seven sacks while playing against teams in superbly talented Dade County. He has outside linebacker size, but sounds brazen about his future at safety. “I plan on making a big impact in the secondary like no other 6-6 player in college football history,” McDonald told Rivals in December. “I really want to change the game.”… WVU assistant Robert Gillespie, who recruits Florida, had this appraisal: “Isaac McDonald grew up being a fan of Robert Sands, and I think he heard the comparison so many times about being a big, tall safety, that he patterned himself after Robert Sands. He’s a great addition. We’re just excited to see what his body turns into.”

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Nick O’Toole

P

6’4″

220 lbs

Fullerton (Calif.) Community College
The skinny: After punting for national powerhouse Mater Dei High School, O’Toole spent a season in junior college in hopes of landing a scholarship, which he did recently when WVU offered. He averaged 42 yards per punt at Fullerton last season and will have four years to play three at West Virginia.

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Tyler Tezeno

OL

6’3″

280 lbs

Houston (Texas) Klein Collins High
The skinny: A three-star recruit ranked as the nation’s No. 8 center prospect, Tezeno scored 1550 on the SAT and boasts a 4.9 GPA. He chose WVU last June over LSU, Arizona State, Boise State, Northwestern, Tulsa and Indiana. He also can play guard, as he did in the All-American Bowl. His high school team went 16-6 the last two seasons, reaching the playoffs and averaging 430 yards per game, including 270 yards rushing. West Virginia’s entrance into the Big 12, and its series of annual treks to Texas for league games, was a big factor in Tezeno choosing the Mountaineers. “Tyler is a big, thick kid,” Holgorsen said. “I know he is a high school guy, but from a physical standpoint, he potentially could be ready” by next fall.

Jeremy Tyler

S

6’0″

200 lbs

Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King High School
The skinny: The three-star safety chose WVU over Vanderbilt on Wednesday morning. Rivals rates him the No. 51 prospect in talent-soaked Georgia and the No. 42 safety recruit nationally.

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Stone Underwood

OL

6’4″

285 lbs

Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) Community College
The skinny: Only a two-star prospect, Underwood’s junior college coach said he is more talented than his rating conveys. “He can do things that most offensive linemen can’t do,” Glenn Davis said. “He’s a guy that can run (a 4.8 40-yard time) and is athletic. He can get to the second or third level on guys pretty easy and he’s great on screens. Underwood, who had offers from UMass ad Memphis, is expected to compete immediately at the center position vacated by Joe Madsen.

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Elijah Wellman

FB/LB

6’2″

225 lbs

Huntington (W. Va.) Spring Valley High
The skinny: He played tight end and fullback in the Chesapeake Bowl but may also get a look at linebacker after three prep seasons with 100-plus tackles. A Rivals two-star prospect, Wellman’s other D-I offers included Marshall, Ohio and Bowling Green. … Said WVU running backs coach Robert Gillespie: “It’s exciting for me to bring an in-state player like him into our program and as a position coach for me to bring him into my meeting room. He helps me show the guys from out-of-state what it truly means to be a Mountaineer.”

Video Highlights

Daryl Worley

DB

6’0″

185 lbs

Philadelphia (Pa.) William Penn Charter School
The skinny: A three-star prospect according to Rivals and the No. 51-ranked safety in the nation, Worley also was recruited by Spavital and committed in August. His other offers include Tennessee, Syracuse, Penn State, Iowa, Maryland, Northwestern and Boston College. He visited campus again two weeks ago and had what he called extensive and reassuring conversations with new secondary coaches Tony Gibson and Brian Mitchell. He said Gibson raised the possibility of moving to nickel or cornerback in an effort to get Worley early playing time. A long-armed athlete, he doubled as a receiver in high school and shows good ball-tracking skills.
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Comments

  • wvuhedgehog

    Awesome!

  • george

    I like Darrien Howard. Last Saturday, I had good talk with his coach, and I haven't seen a coach this high on a player since Braxton Miller played at Wayne HS for Jay Minton. Howard's HS coach expects him to start at LB this season, for WVU.