Mathis Latest in Offensive Recruiting Focus for WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mathis Latest in Offensive Recruiting Focus for WVU


It appears the Mountaineers football staff is doing all it can to ensure that the passing success their team is enjoying this season continues for years to come.

On Wednesday, Devonte Mathis committed to the WVU football team. Three players from his high school already start for the Mountaineers on offense.

Mathis leads Miramar High School in receiving touchdowns, which is quite a feat when considering the type of athletes he's surrounded by day in and day out.

His Patriots team is currently ranked fifth in the nation according to USA Today's Super 25. Malcolm Lewis, another receiver on the team, is ranked higher than Mathis according to, and still Mathis leads the team in scores.

His coach, former WVU linebacker Damon Cogdell, says Mathis is also his backup quarterback and kicker and believes he could throw the ball around in college, too.

West Virginia would rather see him catching balls than tossing them, and if he can come in and compete, there's the potential of him joining fellow Miramar products Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and Ivan McCartney on the field at the same time next season.

"It means a lot," says Cogdell. "It's just a phenomenal situation, never seen it before in college football with four dynamic kids on the field at one time that came from one high school."

Each of the Miramar receivers would be a different year in school and present a different set of skills from the next. Mathis is a playmaker with size and athleticism to make a catch and make a defender miss, even in a 6-foot-1 frame.

McCartney, as Mountaineer fans know, is more likely to stretch the field and use his height and jumping ability to get up over a defender and come down with the prize.

And Bailey, soon to be WVU's single season receiving leader, "turns into a running back when he touches the football," according to Cogdell.

So much has been said about the ever-expanding Miramar connection (two Patriots are currently on West Virginia's defense as well), but the focus on the passing game extends far beyond Mathis.

The Mountaineers' commitment list currently features five receivers and two quarterbacks. Three of those receivers are three-star recruits and Deontay McManus of Baltimore, Md. is a four-star.

Ford Childress, one of the nation's top quarterback prospects, has been committed to West Virginia since back in April and has stuck with his word through a tumultuous summer, focused on what he could do if he were able to feature in a Dana Holgorsen-coached offense.

Earlier this week, Holgorsen said that this year's offense isn't coming along as smoothly as he would have liked and as smoothly as it has in previous stops of his. Such a change from the previous scheme is the major reason he believes the process is slower, but next year, that won't be the case.

The veterans will understand the system and a team of backups will have had a year learning it as well. Freshmen will be learning not only from coaches, but from players, and that didn't exist coming into this season.

At the same time, however, there are just two offensive linemen and just one running back committed to his point.

Holgorsen has said continuously that a real focus needs to be made on developing depth at offensive line, and two is likely not what he has in mind.

A stable of freshmen running backs combined with the fact that just one player in Robert Gillespie's room is a senior should have the staff less concerned regarding that position. That, of course, assuming they're satisfied with the lot they brought in for year one.

Statistics and history have convinced many of the offensive commits for 2012 to lean WVU's way.

As the system takes hold, and with help from defense and special teams, Holgorsen hopes West Virginia's record and national ranking will be the next set of reasons that recruits view his program as the one worth a visit and ultimately worth a four-year stay.

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