Expect WVU to sign JC players today
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you have any kind of life whatsoever, you probably don't realize the significance of today, Wednesday, Dec. 19.
Yes, of course, it's Warren Sapp's birthday. It's six days before Christmas. And, if you mix Internet crazies with the end of the Mayan calendar and the alignment of the winter solstice and Milky Way, you'll get that it's two days before the end of the world.
Aside from that little matter, though, today begins the NCAA football signing period of midyear junior college transfers.
And, yes, West Virginia University's football program will be announcing signings.
Among those signings expected to be released by the school is that of Dreamius Smith, a 5-foot-11, 220-pound running back from Butler County (Kan.) Community College.
Smith has apparently selected WVU over Oklahoma State after rushing for 984 yards for the Butler Grizzlies. He had 17 touchdowns and averaged a whopping 8.2 yards on 120 carries in 11 games. The sophomore was a first-team All-KJCCC selection. (If you really don't know, KJCCC stands for Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.)
Word is, there won't be repeat signings of players who previously signed with WVU and didn't qualify academically. Receiver Deon Long, who went to Iowa Western Community College, is headed to Maryland. Receiver Quantavius Leslie, a 2010 Mountaineer signee, is headed to LSU. Receiver Jatavius Stewart, now at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, is not midyear eligible. (WVU is, however, still interested there, along with Georgia, Tennessee and Toledo.)
One player Dana Holgorsen and company will not be signing today, but waiting on, is four-star quarterback Tanner McEvoy, a most interesting prospect.
McEvoy is a 6-6, 220-pound QB who transferred from South Carolina to Arizona Western in Yuma. At South Carolina, McEvoy was redshirted before being arrested on an alcohol-related charge and then buried on the depth chart.
At Western, however, McEvoy had a terrific season, throwing for nearly 2,000 yards, rushing for over 400, throwing 31 TD passes and heaving only six interceptions. He was the most valuable player of the El Toro Bowl and offensive player of the year in the ACCAC. (That's Arizona Community College Athletic Conference. Must I explain everything?)
Anyway, when reached on Tuesday, McEvoy said he's whittled his list of suitors to WVU and Oregon.
"I made a trip to West Virginia this past weekend and am visiting Oregon on Jan. 11," said the QB. "After that, I'll make my decision."
McEvoy's host on the trip to Morgantown was Mountaineer linebacker Doug Rigg. The two went to high school together at Bergen [N.J.] Catholic High.
"I know some of the guys, but I wanted to see the facilities and school, meet with the coaches," McEvoy said. "I liked Coach Holgorsen and
his personality. I'm looking for a good program, school and opportunity."
McEvoy would have the latter as Geno Smith prepares to head to the National Football League.
"That's a bonus for West Virginia," McEvoy said.
What also helps the Mountaineers is Oregon's starting quarterback is redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota, who had a tremendous season. He was the first-team All-Pac-12 quarterback, a Manning Award finalist and led the Ducks to the Fiesta Bowl.
WVU currently has Paul Millard, who will be a junior next season, redshirt freshman Ford Childress and a commitment from Chavas Rawlins of Monessen, Pa. In other words, there will be an open competition.
Out of high school, McEvoy said he had offers from just over 20 schools - including one from then-Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez - before settling on South Carolina because it was the first to offer him as a QB.
"I switched positions late in high school," McEvoy said. "I played receiver and safety until my senior year. Since then I've grown a lot and learned the [quarterback] position."
There were reports that Texas jumped into the McEvoy derby in recent days, but the player said that's over.
"They were kind of talking to me, but it kind of fell off," said the QB. "It was a mutual-type deal."
It will be interesting to see what Oregon will offer (another position?) and how McEvoy will respond. The quarterback will have three seasons of eligibility left and said he's taking online classes now in order to enroll in time for spring drills.
Keep in mind the player isn't visiting Oregon until Jan. 11 and the signing period for transfers runs through but Jan. 15.
"It's a small window," McEvoy said, "but I think I can get it done."
Unless, of course, the Mayans were right.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.