ShareThis Page
Holgorsen starting to get more out of junior-college talent |

Holgorsen starting to get more out of junior-college talent

| Tuesday, October 4, 2016 8:54 p.m
West Virginia running back Justin Crawford (25) celebrates a touchdown during the second half against Kansas State on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, in Morgantown, W.Va.

One day after West Virginia beat Kansas State, 17-16, to stay undefeated, the Mountaineers, as is their custom, announced their weekly award winners on offense, defense and special teams.

And after WVU’s biggest win this season, their offensive and defensive players of the game — running back Justin Crawford and safety Kyzir White — were first-year junior college transfers.

As West Virginia heads into its second bye week and coach Dana Holgorsen prepares for a weekend of recruiting, he sees their performances as a signpost.

“We probably ought to go out this weekend recruiting for a few more of junior-college guys,” Holgorsen said. “We’re on a little bit of a hot streak as far as that’s concerned.”

Although listed as the backup to senior Rushel Shell, Crawford has broken out as West Virginia’s leader in rushing yards (331) and carries (60) through four games.

Meanwhile, White, younger brother of former WVU star receiver Kevin White and current Mountaineer wideout Ka’Raun White, seized the starting job at spur safety out of camp. He is third on the team in tackles (24) and second in tackles for loss (three).

Crawford and White have contributed as much as they have despite facing a steeper learning curve after arriving on campus too late to participate in spring practice. The story is the same for cornerback Elijah Battle, who got his first major playing time Saturday and earned high praise from defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, who called him his defensive MVP of the game.

Holgorsen routinely draws some of his best players from the junior-college ranks, but the current crop’s quick adjustment has surprised him.

“It’s very unusual,” Holgorsen said. “It’s not unusual, for Elijah Battle, for it to not make sense until now. (Mark) Glowinski needed that redshirt year. Ka’Raun White is playing pretty well for us, but he wasn’t this guy a year ago. Kevin (White) surely wasn’t this guy his first year. Mario (Alford) didn’t make a play for six weeks. It takes those guys time.”

Holgorsen seems to be convinced he needs to dip further into the junior-college talent pool. Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Joe Wickline made a recruiting trip to Mississippi three weeks ago to scout junior colleges and came away with two commitments: Jalen Harvey and Quandarious Qualls, defensive linemen from Justin Crawford’s old school, Northwest Mississippi Community College.

Holgorsen and his staff plan to again look at junior colleges this weekend, and while WVU is in an evaluation period in terms of recruiting, he plans on at least being seen by the players he wants.

“I feel like we have some momentum in recruiting finally,” Holgorsen said. “You can’t go out there and talk to them, but you can be visible, talk to them on the phone, text message with them, do the Twitter thing. Just being visible and supporting guys you want at games is important.”

David Statman is a freelance writer.

Categories: WVU
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.