Football Recruiting Class of 2013 Picking Up Steam - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Football Recruiting Class of 2013 Picking Up Steam

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A quick glance at the WVU football commitment list for the 2013 recruiting class could make it appear as if the Mountaineers have a lot of ground to make up on the recruiting trail.

For instance, only Kansas and Iowa State have fewer recruits committed for the upcoming class as of Tuesday, June 19th.  Texas Tech currently matches the Mountaineers commitment number at seven.

But the truth is that head man Dana Holgorsen and his staff are recruiting at a better pace than the previous WVU staffs did during each of the last three seasons in the Big East.

On June 19th of last year, WVU had four recruits pledged for the 2012 class. 

A year earlier, the Mountaineers had not yet received a verbal commitment for the 2011 class, although they would a day later when Cody Clay pledged to lead recruiter Steve Dunlap.

What about the 2010 class?  Well, it's a little bit of a different story as five recruits had committed by June 19th, 2009, but of those five players (Barry Brunetti, Jeremy Johnson, Trey Johnson, Quinton Spain and Marquis Wallace), only Spain remains on the current roster.

So fast-forward three years and you have a Mountaineer coaching staff with seven commitments (one of which is rated a four-star by Rivals.com) and a program eagerly anticipating a move to the Southwest-centered Big 12 conference, which officially takes place in a little over 11 days.

And when you look in-depth at the quality of each commit, each one of them is impressive in their own right.  These aren't just guys who received an offer from WVU and immediately accepted without interest from anywhere else.

Offensive lineman Marcell Lazard had offers from Florida, Miami (FL), Michigan, Ohio State and South Carolina.

Running back DeShawn Coleman turned down Penn State and Purdue.

Outside linebacker Hodari Christian reeled in offers from Illinois, Northwestern, Pitt, Purdue and Rutgers.

Dual-threat quarterback Chavas Rawlins turned down the highly-successful spread option attacks of Georgia Tech and Nebraska in order to be tutored by Holgorsen.

Inside linebacker Darrien Howard, who is built like an SEC ‘backer, turned down Illinois, Kentucky, N.C. State and Pitt.

Tyler Tezeno, who could end up playing any offensive line position, said ‘No thanks' to Boise State, Arizona State and LSU.

And most recently, in-state fullback Elijah Wellman spurned hometown Marshall to pledge to the Mountaineers.

The easy assumption would be that this increase in interest from recruits is directly attributable to the conference move.

All of them have spoken glowingly about WVU's new Big 12 home and how eager they are to play better competition week in and week out, so there is no doubt this transition has aided their thought-process in ultimately choosing the Mountaineers.

However, only one of the aforementioned recruits resides in Big 12 territory (Tezeno).  The Keystone State has actually produced three Mountaineer commits while Ohio, New Jersey and West Virginia account for the additional three prospects.

So while getting out of the Big East and into the Big 12 was a necessity, it's not the only variable turning the heads of prospects around the region.

You have a team projected to be in the top 10 by some preseason publications.  You have a young, energetic, half-new coaching staff whose excitement for the program has been felt by recruits.  You have three bona fide offensive stars at WVU in Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey for the recruits to emulate and talk with while on campus.  You have a new, aggressive 3-4 scheme for the defensive coaches to sell.  You have guarantees from the coaches to recruits regarding facility upgrades, most notably an expansion to the current weight room.  And you have a fan base that loves their team and appears to be only a matter of days from selling out their season ticket allotment.

Package all that together, and it creates a sense of excitement that is palpable to any recruit visiting Morgantown to check out the WVU program.

Make no mistake, hosting schools such as Baylor, Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma in the fall and traveling to Austin and Stillwater has brought a great deal of enthusiasm around these parts, but it has only added to the positive energy that Holgorsen and his new staff instilled around the Puskar Center ever since their crushing defeat of Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

And the best part about it for the staff?  Recruits have taken notice.  

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