Juco signee fails to qualify; scholarship shifts to Tennessee transfer

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen speaks to the media during the Big 12 Media Days at Omni Dallas Hotel.


DALLAS, Texas — Junior college offensive lineman Craig Smith, the only 2016 signee missing from West Virginia’s 28-member recruiting class, failed to qualify and won’t be enrolling.

Smith’s scholarship essentially was re-allocated this month when former Tennessee center Ray Raulerson opted to transfer to WVU.

“I feel like we needed an older center” for 2017, Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday at Big 12 media days.

With preseason All-Big 12 performer Tyler Orlosky and backup Tony Matteo on hand, West Virginia enters this fall solidified by two fifth-year centers. The only prospect at the position for 2017, however, was redshirt freshman Ja’HShaun Seider.

“I ain’t never going to count on a freshman at that position—even Orlosky couldn’t handle that,” Holgorsen said. “This kid (Raulerson) can come in and learn and be ready to compete next year.”

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