To say it’s been a rough few weeks for Mountaineer fans would be an understatement. Among the many thoughts about the most recent two games, disappointment and frustration seem to be the leading emotions expressed by many. To his credit, Neal Brown, finally seems to agree. In a recent press conference he expressed his anger over the team’s performance in Saturday’s heartbreaking loss. Whether or not his anger has prompted change heading into this week’s matchup has yet to be seen, but even if it does, is it too little too late?
Two and a half years in Brown sits with a 13-14 record overall, and 7-12 in the Big 12 conference. Since his arrival in Morgantown, fans have been told “trust the climb”. It would take time to build a program suited to his coaching style. He would need to recruit and transfer current players from a Dana Holgerson led system, to his own. Fans were promised there would be positive changes and that WVU would become a major competitor.
If there were questions about the future of WVU football before, over the course of this season, it has become apparent. The program is in trouble. There has not been a major recruitment for Mountaineer football since August 7 when linebacker Travious Lathan announced his intent. In a time of which potential high school prospects are on full display, the silence this speaks is deafening. It could be coincidence, or possibly a lack of recruitment activity occurring right now, or could it be that potential players are hesitant to commit under the current circumstances in Morgantown?
Freshman linebackers Eddie Watkins and James Thomas have both opted to enter the transfer portal this week. For clarification this means two players specifically recruited for a Neal Brown led system are opting to leave. Many are watching Garrett Greene and Goose Crowder to see if they follow suit with Doege having a year of eligibility remaining, and newcomer Nicco Marchiol expected to arrive next season. I would venture to guess at the rate the season is going, Watkins and Thomas will not be the only ones leaving the blue and gold. I also wonder if previous commits will change their mind and opt to join other teams?
Maybe it’s still too early in the season for these kinds of thoughts, or perhaps it’s an indication of an oncoming exodus for WVU football. Regardless, for a program who has emphatically called for patience while building for the future led by Brown, seeing the recruiting trail fall silent and freshman players opt for the portal halfway through their first season is extremely concerning. At this rate I think it’s fair to say that trusting the climb is quickly turning into outrunning the avalanche.