The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

February 3, 2011

Few surprises for Stewart’s final class at West Virginia

Mountaineers ink 17 on signing day, including seven linemen

MORGANTOWN — There were just a couple of surprises as West Virginia added 17 signees Wednesday on National Letter of Intent Signing Day.

Marquis Lucas, a 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive lineman who had committed to Rutgers, chose West Virginia instead.

Meanwhile, running back Jermichael Selders, an August commit to WVU, changed directions and will go to Baylor.

Bill Stewart’s final recruiting class — the WVU head coach will be replaced following the 2011 season by new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen — included four defensive linemen and three offensive linemen, both seen as huge need areas for the WVU football team, coming off a third consecutive 9-4 season.

“You never bat 1.000, and you never hit a home run every time you swing, but I am really excited about this class,” Stewart said. “It is a very solid class, and we are very happy. These guys will be great additions to this program.”

The loss of Selders isn’t deemed a big loss because the gem of the class has to be Rivals.com four-star running back Andrew Buie.

A three-year starter, Buie (5-foot-9, 191-pounds), from Jacksonville, Fla., led Trinity Christian to the 2010 1A state championship.

He rushed for 1,782 yards on 211 carries and 26 touchdowns last fall. Buie had 1,901 yards and 22 TDs as a junior.

He was also pursued by Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina State, Pitt, Purdue, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“He has tremendous stats and is a great player with a lot of potential,” Stewart said.

Also, Holgorsen’s ties to Texas paid off with the signing of Houston native Dustin Garrison.

A 5-foot-8, 165-pound running back, Garrison led Pearland (Texas) to the Texas 5A state title and was a first-team all-stater in Texas. He had a whopping 406 carries for 2,842 yards and 46 TDs and topped 200 yards in seven games of his senior season. Garrison was offered by Washington State and Pitt.

He just gets the ball and goes,”  Stewart said. “He has tremendous stats, great hands and great mobility.”

The class also includes two in-state products — George Washington’s Cody Clay (a 6-foot-4, 250-pound tight end) and offensive lineman Justin Johnson (6-foot-4, 288 pounds) out of Parkersburg.

“He also has a brother here in Josh Jenkins,” Stewart said. “He is very much like his brother, but I tease Josh and tell him that Justin has better feet, better athleticism and that he is tougher. Josh doesn’t like that very much, but he will learn to live with it.”

Another significant signee is Pottstown, Pa. cornerback Terrell Chestnut, a four-year starter at Pottsgrove High School.

The 6-0, 177-pound Chestnut, who was coached by former Mountaineer Rick Pennypacker, was also offered by Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“(Chestnut) is a tremendous athlete who plays corner,” Stewart said. “He started out as a high school quarterback, then they wanted to get him the ball even more and put him in the running game. He has been all over the place.”

Additionally of note, quarterbacks Paul Millard and Brian Athey were both added for the spring semester and will get a chance to show their wares early. Incumbent starter Geno Smith is expected to miss the spring practice period for the second straight year recuperating from foot surgery.

On campus now, we have two quarterbacks,” Stewart said. “One is Brian Athey, who is a big guy, as is Paul Millard (the other quarterback on campus). They are big, tall guys who can throw the ball and get it all over the place. We are really excited about these two guys.”

Both quarterbacks from last season’s recruiting class, including backup Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson, have left the program.

“To have those two quarterbacks here early speaks volumes about what they have on their goals and their thoughts on the future,” Stewart said. “It just gives them a chance to see and talk with Geno (Smith) and Dana (Holgorsen) and to learn our offense. Then, they go out and have live arms.”

The 2011 WVU recruiting class includes two wide receivers, three linebackers, four offensive linemen, three defensive linemen, two running backs, a tight end, a safety and a cornerback.

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