MORGANTOWN - Now that the National Letters of Intent have been signed, sealed and delivered, West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen said Wednesday it's time to start focusing on the 2013 edition of the Mountaineers.
"Once recruiting day is over, we start focusing on the team," he said. "We make sure they are doing everything they can to get bigger, faster, stronger and smarter."
The Mountaineers, 7-6 in their inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference, dipped heavier than normal into the ranks of the junior college circuit, signing nine players coaches believe can step in and fill vacancies and weaknesses.
"Identifying those guys is not easy," Holgorsen said. "A lot of people are going after junior college players. We went after a bunch and landed nine. You don't want to bring in guys you don't have a need for. Those guys need to be able to come and play right away. Otherwise, we would not go after junior college guys."
Holgorsen said the past two days are always the hardest part of coaching college football. He said the staff thinks it has a good idea of who will be sending back the paperwork. But until it arrives at the stadium, he said you can never be quite sure.
"We still are actively recruiting a couple of guys," he said. "We still have a couple of spots out there we are able to fill."
He said with the anticipated signings, WVU will still not be at the maximum NCAA-allowed 85 scholarships. Holgorsen said he expects to reach that number by the 2014 season.
"You don't want to fill up just to be filled up," he said. "We want to have quality guys who can help us win football games. The biggest thing is getting guys who want to be here. Then when you get them here, you try to get them better. We are going to coach the heck out of them."
Holgorsen said the staff will be allowed to take a quick breath and shake a few hands. But then, it's back to the phone lines to start looking for the 2014 recruiting class.
"It starts today," he said. "Everybody thinks we take a couple of weeks off after signing day. Recruiting never stops."
Biographies for the Mountaineers' 2013 recruiting class:
Mario Alford, WR, 5-9, 175, Greenville, Ga./Georgia Military College
Played two seasons for coach Bert Williams at Georgia Military College four-star recruit according to ESPN and 247sports three-star recruit according to rivals and Scout rivals No. 82 Junior College Postseason Top 100 247sports No. 1 Georgia junior college recruit 247sports No. 1 junior college wide receiver 247sports No. 11 junior college recruit also offered by Arizona, Cincinnati, Kansas, Ole Miss and Texas Tech.
Al-Rasheed Benton, LB, 6-2, 220, Newark, N.J./Shabazz HS
Three-year letterwinner for coach Darnell Grant at Shabazz High two-time New Jersey All-State Third Team Defense 2013 rivals No. 23 New Jersey Postseason Top 30 2013 247sports No. 17 inside linebacker 2013 247sports No. 11 New Jersey recruit also offered by Arizona State, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Maryland, Penn State, Pitt and Temple.
Ronald Carswell, WR, 6-0, 180, Macon, Ga./Itawamba Community College
Former University of Alabama player who played one season for coach Joe Williams at Itawamba Community College, leading the team to a 6-3 record fi nished the season with 44 receptions for 429 yards and one touchdown previously played for Westside High, where he was ranked as the No. 35 player in the state of Georgia by the Atlanta Journal Constitution 2009 4A All-State selection by the Atlanta Journal Constitution also offered by Kentucky.
Hodari Christian, LB, 6-1, 195, McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport HS
Coached by Jim Ward at McKeesport High 2012 Pennsylvania Sportswriters Class 4A All-State linebacker 2012 Coaches/Pennsylvania Football News Class 4A All-State Second Team linebacker No. 19 on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Top 25 Pennsylvania football players four-star recruit according to ESPN three-star recruit according to rivals, Scout and 247sports also offered by Illinois, Northwestern, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers and Temple.
Shelton Gibson, WR, 6-1, 175, Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights HS
Played three seasons for coach Jeff Rotsky at Cleveland Heights High played in the U.S. Army All- American Bowl No. 6 on the 2012 Cleveland Plain Dealer Top 50 Northeast Ohio football players four-star recruit according to ESPN, rivals, Scout and 247 sports ESPN No. 11 Ohio recruit ESPN No. 26 wide receiver rivals No. 129 Rivals250 rivals No. 12 wide receiver rivals No. 4 Ohio Postseason Top 75 Scout No. 19 wide receiver 247sports No. 27 wide receiver 247sports No. 8 Ohio recruit Sporting News Top 125 also offered by Arkansas, Auburn, Cal, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, NC State, Ohio State, Pitt, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Brandon Golson, LB, 6-3, 220, Fork Union, Va./Georgia Military College
Played two seasons for coach Bert Williams at Georgia Military College ... selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl ... logged 78 tackles and 18 sacks in just six games as a junior ... three-star recruit according to rivals, Scout, ESPN and 247sports rivals No. 35 Junior College Postseason Top 100 247sports No. 3 Georgia junior college recruit 247sports No. 4 junior college linebacker 247sports No. 48 junior college recruit also offered by Arizona, Kansas, Kansas State, South Carolina and Texas A&M.
Malik Greaves, S, 6-3, 200, Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood HS Three-year starter for coach Adam Geis at Sandalwood High named to the 2012 Florida Times-Union Super 24 earned All-Gateway Conference honors collected eight interceptions for his career and returned two of them for touchdowns ranked No. 9 on the Orlando Sentinel's North Florida Super60 four-star recruit according to ESPN three-star recruit according to rivals, Scout and 247sports rivals No. 43 safety runs a 4.48 40-yard dash also offered by Auburn, Duke, North Carolina, Ole Miss, USF, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Marvin Gross, DE, 6-4, 225, Baltimore, Md./Dunbar HS
Played for coach Lawrence Smith at Dunbar High first-team consensus all-state and small school all-state in Maryland invited to play in the 2013 Max Emfinger All-American Bowl Game Classic rated as the No. 24-best lineman in the state by rivals and No. 14 by Max Preps 2012 Max Emfi nger Northeast Super Sixth three-star ranking from rivals, Scout and Yahoo rivals postseason Top 25 also offered by Colorado, Purdue, Rutgers, Wake Forest and Washington.
d'Vante Henry, LB, 6-5, 205, Moore, Okla./Arizona Western College
Played two seasons for coach Tom Minnick at Arizona Western College three-star recruit according to rivals, Scout, ESPN and 247sports rivals No. 23 Junior College Postseason Top 100 247sports No. 3 junior college outside linebacker 247sports No. 5 Arizona junior college recruit also offered by Iowa State, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Utah.
Darrien Howard, LB, 6-2, 250, Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne HS
Three-year starter for coach Marcus Colvin at Dayton's Chaminade-Julienne High earned Division IV All-Ohio first-team honors in 2012 also offered by Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, NC State and Pitt.
Dontrill Hyman, DE, 6-4, 265, Warsaw, N.C./Hinds CC
Played two seasons for coach Gene Murphy at Hinds Community College helped team to a combined 10-8 record four-star recruit according to 247sports three-star recruit according ESPN 247sports No. 28 junior college recruit 247sports No. 1 junior college strong-side defensive end 247sports No. 10 Mississippi junior college recruit also offered by LSU and Mississippi State.
Marcell Lazard, OL, 6-6, 293, Bloomfield N.J./Bloomfield HS
Three-year starter and four-year letterwinner for coach Mike Carter at Bloomfield High 2012 New Jersey All-State Second Team Offense ranked as the No. 3 best offensive lineman in New Jersey and No. 13 best recruit in the state by rivals also offered by Boston College, Florida, Maryland, Miami, Ohio State, South Carolina, Michigan and Virginia.
Grant Lingafelter, OL, 6-5, 265, Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls HS
Played three seasons for coach Mark Iammarino at Chagrin Falls High member of the Associated
Press All-Ohio Division III Third Team in 2012 helped team to a combined 37-5 record during those seasons ... three-star recruit according to ESPN, rivals, and 247sports two-star recruit according to Scout also offered by Cincinnati and Illinois.
Isaac McDonald, LB, 6-5, 205, Hialeah, Fla./Champagnat Catholic HS
Two-year starter for coach Mike Tunsil at Champagnat Catholic High two-time Miami Herald All-Dade County second-team linebacker No. 151 on Florida Top 200 No. 21 on Miami Herald's Miami-Dade County Top 25 football recruits three-star recruit by ESPN, rivals and scout and 247sports played for Team USA U-19 also offered by Clemson, Louisville, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Oregon, South Carolina and Stanford.
Nick O'Toole, P, 6-5, 220, Corona, Calif./Fullerton College
Played one season for coach Tim Byrnes at Fullerton College, helping the team to a 7-4 record ranked No. 7 punter in the nation by Chris Sailer Kicking.
Chavas Rawlins, QB, 6-3, 190, Monessen, Pa./Monessen HS
Coached by Andy Pacak at Monessen High 2012 Pennsylvania Sportswriters Class A All-State quarterback 2012 Coaches/PFN Class A All-State Second Team athlete No. 20 on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Top 25 Pennsylvania football players named the 2012 Greensburg Tribune- Review Player of the Year and to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 25 member of the 2012 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 a two-time selection to the All-Tri-County South Conference team three-star recruit according to ESPN, rivals, Scout and 247sports rivals No. 19 dual-threat quarterback rivals No. 14 Pennsylvania Postseason Top 30 247sports No. 20 dual-threat quarterback also offered by Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, USF, Tennessee and Virginia.
Daikiel Shorts, WR, 6-1, 200, Clayton, N.J./Eastern Christian Academy
Coached by Dwayne Thomas at Eastern Christian Academy three-star recruit according to ESPN, rivals, Scout and 247sports 247sports No. 31 Maryland recruit Tom Lemming Top Combo Passer Quarterback also offered by Boise State, Boston College, Hawaii, Maryland, NC State, Temple and UCLA.
Wendell Smallwood, RB, 5-11, 194, Wilmington, Del./Eastern Christian Academy
Coached by Dwayne Thomas at Eastern Christian Academy helped team to a 3-0 record in 201 three-star recruit according to ESPN, rivals, Scout and 247sports rivals No. 37 running back rivals No. 15 Maryland Postseason Top 25 247sports No. 30 Maryland recruit also offered by Auburn, Boston College, Connecticut, Hawaii, Rutgers, Temple and Tennessee.
Dreamius Smith, RB, 5-10, 215, Wichita, Kan./Butler CC
Played two seasons for coach Troy Morrell at Butler Community College, helping the team to a combined 22-2 record four-star prospect on ESPN three-star prospect according to rivals and 247sports No. 2 junior college running back and No. 8 Kansas junior college recruit on 247sports also offered by Boise State, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
Tyler Tezeno, OL, 6-3, 280, Houston, Texas/Klein Collins HS
Played for coach Drew Svoboda at Klein Collins named to the Associated Press 5A All-State Second Team in 2012 three-star recruit by ESPN, rivals, Scout and 247sports also offered by Arizona State, Boise State, LSU, Northwestern, Utah.
Jeremy Tyler, S, 6-0, 195, Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King HS
Two-year starter for coaches Michael Carson and Rober Freeman at Martin Luther King High three-star rating from ESPN, rivals, MaxPreps and Scout also offered by Ole Miss, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt.
Stone Underwood, OL, 6-4, 285, Brookhaven, Miss./Copiah-Lincoln CC
Started all 12 games for Glenn Davis at Copiah-Lincoln CC in 2012 All-NJCAA Region 23 First Team also offered by Bowling Green and Ohio.
Kevin White, WR, 6-4, 210, Macungie, Pa./Lackawanna College
Played two seasons for coach Mark Duda at Lackawanna College made 36 receptions, totaling 535 yards and six touchdowns in 2012 three-star prospect by rivals and No. 56 on its postseason Top 100 also offered by Texas Tech.
Daryl Worley, S, 6-2, 190, Philadelphia, Pa./William Penn Charter HS
Played safety and receiver for coach Jeff Humble at William Penn Charter All-Southeastern Pennsylvania First Team defensive back two-time Penn Inter-Ac League First Team rated as Southeastern Pennsylvania's top cornerback by the Philadelphia Inquirer three-star recruit by rivals, ESPN and Scout Scout No. 33 safety nationally rivals No. 51 safety nationally rivals No. 19 on postseason Top 30 in Pennsylvania also offered by Boston College, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Northwestern, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse and Tennessee