Frazzle time for WVU recruiting
WHEN DANA Holgorsen names his final defensive assistant, the tag of recruiting coordinator might be attached. The West Virginia head coach might assign the task to one of those already on board.
As it stands, though, graduate assistant Ryan Dorchester has been guiding the Mountaineer effort.
"A few more days," Dorchester said, "until my life returns to somewhat normal."
The time frame, of course, is such because Wednesday is the national letter-of-intent signing day. If you ever doubted that recruiting can frazzle a man, well, here's a mixed metaphor to make you smile.
"We're crossing our fingers," Dorchester said, "and dotting our I's."
Coaches aren't permitted to comment on specific recruits, yet can speak about the ongoing effort. WVU has a solid class, ranked No. 28 nationally by Scout.com, with a potential bump in the offing. In Saturday's Gazette-Mail, you saw a list of six Mountaineer targets, including four-star prospects Deaysean Rippy, a linebacker, and Joel Caleb, a wideout, who could complete the venture.
Alex Hammond, WVU's Director of Football Operations and one of Dorchester's bosses, said this of the effort:
"It's been a busy off-season. There's a lot of excitement when you put 70 [points] on Clemson in the Orange Bowl - from the fan base, the team and the recruits. They see what this team can do in high gear."
WVU must get in high gear, since it's headed to the Big 12. According to Scout, six Big 12 schools have better recruiting classes lined up.
But back to the quote. One has to wonder about the impact of the Orange Bowl victory on the class.
"We'll see more of a trickle-down effect of that next year," Dorchester said. "It just doesn't work that way. You'd think it would. You'd think there would be a line [of five-star recruits] at our door.
"But it speaks to how relationships and the comfort level between recruits and coaches really does matter."
Seems the staff should just wipe the board clean and start over after such a win, right? Why not?
"Because I'd have to check into a mental hospital," Dorchester said.
OK, so the recruiting process is a long, drawn-out one. And, for WVU, this one hasn't been completely smooth. Days during a contact period were lost when WVU had a late regular-season game with South Florida scheduled by the Big East. ("Most schools had three weeks," Dorchester said. "We had two weeks and a day.")
Another contact period opened Jan. 4 - the date of the Orange Bowl. So another day was lost. Yet all in Morgantown would take that small hit for the chance to post such an impressive win, and all seem content with the class as it stands.
"Right now we're trying to solidify the recruits we have committed," Dorchester said. "There's a couple under the radar we've been recruiting.
"But we know where we're at. We've gone from a class of 50 recruits and narrowed it down to 30. It's been like that the last couple of weeks. Dana has been on the road. He was in Miami the day after the Orange Bowl. I've been trying to figure out his schedule."
It must be dizzying, considering the whims of high school students and the maze of travel. Yet Holgorsen has to be the closer. Head coaches can only visit prospects once during the process. The trick is to squeeze as many visits in as possible.
"Some kids say, 'Hey, we're fine; don't worry about it,' " Dorchester said. "But we want to make sure the kids, the parents, the coaches, the kids' uncles, are all comfortable.
"If they have questions, we want to provide the answers. At this point you're not going to wow a kid about your school. You just want to make sure they're comfortable with their decision."
Dorchester, by the way, warns, as all coaches do, to be wary of your local Internet recruiting provider, especially in regard to commitments.
"They aren't right," Dorcester said. "They're close, but some kids have said they're coming when they're not and vice versa. You have to take them with a grain of salt."
And cross those fingers.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.