Signing day surprises coming for Mountaineers?
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - If there are no surprises today for West Virginia's football recruiters, well, then it just wouldn't seem right.
There are always surprises on signing day.
Today marks the beginning of the NCAA's national letter of intent signing period for football and the Mountaineers have 24 commitments. Eight of them are rock solid because three junior college transfers and five high school recruits are already on campus and enrolled in school.
The other 16? Well, that's where it gets interesting.
West Virginia has four junior college players and 12 high school seniors who have committed to the Mountaineers. The list includes five linebackers, four offensive linemen, two running backs, a wide receiver, a defensive end, a fullback, a safety and a punter.
Of those already enrolled, three are receivers, along with two running backs, a quarterback, a linebacker and a safety.
But during the year-long recruiting process, at least five other players pledged to the Mountaineers and then decided to go elsewhere. On the flip side, at least five of WVU's current commitments pledged elsewhere prior to flipping to West Virginia.
How many of the current WVU commitments might change their minds before putting pen to paper today is always a mystery. So, too, is how many committed elsewhere might instead sign with the Mountaineers.
With that in mind, keep an eye on a handful of players who have either committed elsewhere but have visited WVU recently or have not committed at all. Among them:
Any or all of those could sign with West Virginia today without the school exceeding the limit of 25 scholarship recruits. That's because some of those already enrolled in school can be counted toward last year's signing class.
As for the pledged commitments, the majority are rated three-star recruits by the recruiting websites. There are two four-star recruits on the list - linebacker Darien Howard and receiver Shelton Gibson, both high school players from Ohio. But Gibson might be one of those to also keep an eye on potentially going elsewhere because his verbal commitment to WVU was considered "soft.''
Including the eight players already enrolled, West Virginia's commitment list includes high school recruits from Pennsylvania (5), Florida (3), Maryland (3), Ohio (3), New Jersey (2), Texas and West Virginia. The seven junior college commitments originally hail from seven different states - California, Georgia, Mississippi, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and North Carolina.
The lone West Virginian on the list is Spring Valley's Elijah Wellman, who is expected to be either a fullback or a linebacker in college.
The most recent commitments, each in the past few days, are punter Nick O'Toole and defensive end Dontrill Hyman, both junior college players.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.
ENROLLED FOR SPRING TERM (8)
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. High school/JC Hometown
Ronald Carswell WR 6-0 185 Itawamba (Miss.) CC Macon, Ga.
Hodari Christian LB 6-0 215 McKeesport Area HS McKeesport, Pa.
Malik Greaves S 6-2 205 Sandalwood HS Jacksonville, Fla.
Chavas Rawlins QB 6-3 190 Monessen HS Monessen, Pa.
Daikiel Shorts WR 6-1 200 Tri-State Christian Academy Elkton, Md.
Wendell Smallwood RB 5-11 190 Tri-State Christian Academy Elkton, Md.
Dreamius Smith RB 5-11 220 Butler County (Kan.) CC Wichita, Kan.
Kevin White WR 6-4 210 Lackawanna (Pa.) CC Macungie, Pa.
EXPECTED TO SIGN TODAY (16)
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. High school/JC Hometown
Al-Rasheed Benton LB 6-2 220 Malcolm X. Shabazz HS Newark, N.J.
Deshawn Coleman RB 6-0 170 Hickory HS Hermitage, Pa.
Shelton Gibson WR 6-0 175 Cleveland Heights HS University Heights, Ohio
Marvin Gross LB 6-3 220 Dunbar HS Baltimore
D'Vante Henry LB 6-5 210 Arizona Western College Moore, Okla.
Darrien Howard LB 6-3 240 Chaminade Julienne HS Dayton, Ohio
Dontrill Hyman DE 6-4 265 Hinds (Miss.) CC Warsaw, N.C.
Marcell Lazard OL 6-5 280 Bloomfield HS Bloomfield, N.J.
Grant Lingafelter OL 6-5 265 Chagrin Falls HS Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Jacky Marcellus RB 5-8 175 Immokalee HS Immokalee, Fla.
Isaac McDonald LB 6-5 210 Champagnat Catholic Hialeah, Fla.
Nick O'Toole P 6-5 220 Fullerton College Fullerton, Calif.
Tyler Tezeno OL 6-4 285 Klein Collins HS Klein, Texas
Stone Underwood OL 6-4 285 Copiah-Lincoln Wesson, Miss.
Elijah Wellman FB 6-2 225 Spring Valley HS Huntington
Daryl Worley S 6-0 180 William Penn Charter School Philadelphia