The Cupboard Wasn’t Bare

I routinely notice WVU fans trashing our current talent in that Holgorsen left us with the cupboard bare. This isn’t even close to being the case, they either just have no idea what they’re talking about, or attempting to make Neal Brown look better. Dana Holgorsen certainly had his flaws, but recruiting and player development was not one of them. He was a pioneer in the recruiting department, actually STARTING the wave of going after transfers, be it regular, JC or Grad. The reason being; to plug holes when under-classmen weren’t prepared. He got a ton of talent that way, to name a few: Will Grier, Kevin White, Charles Sims, Kyzir White, Josh Norwood, Keith Robinson, Mark Glowiniski, Skyler Howard, etc. 


Dana consistently finished in the 30’s nationally in recruiting. The one year he finished in the 50s was 2016, when AD Lyons waited until the end of the 10 win season to extend Holgorsen. Recruits obviously weren’t sure that Holgs would be back, so you can blame that poor recruiting year on the AD. 95% of kids aren’t going to a school when the Coach is in his last year of the contract and the AD hasn’t extended him – that makes him look like a lame duck. 


Holgs left the program loaded with talent. Even the incoming Freshman recruits were 90% from the Holgorsen staff, Neal Brown and co. didn’t have time to start over or do much of anything except call Dana’s recruits and attempt to keep them on board since it was already January. Here is a list of some of the talent Brown was left with: CB Hakeem Bailey, LB Jared Bartlett, LT Donovan Beaver, OL Chase Behrndt, RB Leddie Brown, OG Michael Brown, LB Josh Chandler-Semedo, LB Vandarius Cowan, DL Reese Donahue, WR Isaiah Esdale, WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton, CB Nicktroy Fortune, OG James Gmiter, OL John Hughes, WR Sam James, DL Jordan Jefferson, WR Ali Jennings, LB Exree Loe, S Jake Long, QB Trey Lowe III, S Sean Mahone, RB Tony Mathis Jr. S Kerry Martin Jr, CB Tae Mayo, OL Briason Mays, LT Colton McKivitz, RB Kennedy McCoy, CB Dreshun Miller, S Josh Norwood, TE Mike O’Laughlin, RB Martell Pettaway, DE, Jeffrey Pooler Jr, LB Quondarius Qualls, OG Blaine Scott, OL Josh Sills, WR TJ Simmons, RB Alec Sinkfield, S Tykee Smith, DL Darius Stills, DL Dante Stills, DL Jalen Thornton, LB Dylan Tonkery, OL Junior Uzebu, CB Keith Washington, RT Kelby Wickline, WR Winston Wright Jr, OL Brandon Yates. Basically the entire team except 2020’s True Freshmen. We are 9 deep at WR, 3 deep at RB, 3 deep at TE. We are deep all over. People make themselves look silly by saying Holgorsen left us with nothing.  


Going back into Holgorsen’s tenure, WVU has actually put the 2nd most players in the NFL of Big 12 teams since 2015. We had four (not even just 1st rounders but Top 15) 1st round draft picks in five years! Bruce Irvin (15), Tavon Austin (8), Kevin White (7) and Karl Joseph (14). We’ve had 27 players drafted since 2012. This was an unprecedented stretch of NFL Draft success the likes WVU has never seen. There were many years in our history that we only had one or didn’t get a single player drafted. 0 in 2007, 1 in 2006, 1 in 2004, 2 in 2003, 0 in 2002, 0 in 2001, etc. 

That’s what makes it even funnier when Dana says something like, “he couldn’t recruit players good enough to win the Big 12.” We know that’s a lie by simply looking at the fact that WVU and he himself put the 2nd most players in the NFL of the entire Conference and four Top 15 picks in five years. 


Most of us had our issues with Holgorsen, but it is impossible to deny that he and his staff were elite at player development. Attempting to do so only proves that you just don’t like the guy, because the evidence is all there.