Dana Holgorsen has gotten a leg up on his first full recruiting class by going back in time, so to speak.
The school announced Monday that five newcomers, all freshmen, have enrolled at West Virginia and will be eligible for spring football practice.
Just as significantly as getting a head start, the five also do not count against Holgorsen's actual first recruiting class, those who will sign in February and enroll this summer.
That's important because with the Mountaineers down in scholarship numbers due to several factors, Holgorsen can still sign a full group of 25 newcomers in February. Those who are enrolled now count against last year's recruiting class, a group that numbered only 15. That means West Virginia can bring in as many as 30 newcomers, including the early enrollees.
When Holgorsen was hired as WVU's offensive coordinator and began work in January of 2011, the recruiting class of then-head coach Bill Stewart was largely complete. Holgorsen, who would eventually be elevated to Stewart's position in June, managed only to bring in a handful of newcomers of his own.
For the second year in a row, however, Holgorsen has brought in a freshman quarterback from Texas with impeccable credentials. Last year it was Paul Millard, who served as Geno Smith's backup during the just-completed season that ended with last week's 70-33 trouncing of Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
This year the quarterback is Ford Childress, a 6-foot-4, 210-pounder from Houston's Kinkaid High School.
Childress, who didn't play quarterback until high school, led Kinkaid to a 20-1 record in two seasons as a starter. In 10 games as a senior Childress, the son of former NFL defensive lineman and five-time Pro Bowl selection Ray Childress, completed 184-of-292 passes for 3,171 yards, 41 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. As a junior he was 177-of-307 passing for 2,658 yards, 25 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Childress fills one of West Virginia's most urgent needs. Geno Smith will be a senior next season and the only other recruited scholarship quarterback on the roster is Millard, although Kentucky transfer Michael Burchett is also on the team and served as the No. 3 quarterback.
The other four early enrollees are defensive tackle Imarjaye Albury, a 6-1, 280-pounder from Miami's Northwestern High; safety Karl Joseph, a 5-11, 190-pounder from Edgewater High in Orlando, Fla.; Jordan Thompson, a 5-9, 163-pound wide receiver from Katy, Texas; and safety Sean Walters, a 6-2, 195-pounder from Hallandale Beach, Fla.
BRIEFLY: As a part of its annual freshman All-America team, the Football Writers Association of America also chose a first-year coach of the year. Holgorsen won the award. The Mountaineers finished 10-3 in Holgorsen's first season and capped it with that Orange Bowl win. ... That Orange Bowl trophy will be on display Saturday at the Coliseum prior to West Virginia's basketball game with Rutgers. Fans will be able to take their picture with the trophy from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., but must bring their own camera.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org