West Virginia Football Recruiting: Power Ranking the Last 5 Recruiting Seasons
The West Virginia Mountaineers have had a great deal of success over the last decade, including the last five years in which West Virginia tallied three seasons of nine wins and two of 11 wins.
At the crux of this success has been West Virginia's ability to bring in consistently good recruiting classes.
Now, the Mountaineers don't rival the Oklahomas and Florida States of the world in terms of recruiting on a year to year basis, but they do do a phenomenal job of developing talent once they have it.
This most recent 2012 signing class looks as promising as any in recent years but it will take time to see just how well it pans out.
In the meantime, let's power rank the last five West Virginia recruiting classes.
No. 5: 2011 Recruiting Class
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It's not that the 2011 Mountaineer signing class didn't yield any good talent.
They did. Just ask Dustin Garrison after his 220+ yard outing against Bowling Green.
The fact is, this is still a young class that hasn't had that much time to pan out. Several players, including Garrison, however, have had their chance to make an impact.
Fellow back Andrew Buie put in quality minutes this year as part of West Virginia's backfield rotation and ended up playing a considerable hand in West Virginia's rout of Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Linebackers Jarrod Barber and Josh Francis also saw quality minutes in WVU's erstwhile defensive scheme.
This was also Dana Holgorsen's inaugural group of commits and based on how quickly he ascended to the head coaching position, it's a wonder as to how he got as much talent as he did.
It also hurts that the talented brother duo of Vernard and Vance Roberts have since left the program.
Still, there is a lot of promising talent yet to take the field including receiver KJ Myers and defensive back Terrell Chestnut.
This class is simply too young and has too much left to prove to be considered solid by any means.
No. 4: 2010 Recruiting Class
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2010 was the last stab at recruiting for the Bill Stewart administration and it was the smallest one of the last five years at 21.
Easily the most notable name from the 2010 class was pass-rushing aficionado Bruce Irvin. Bruce was a five-star rating on scout coming into West Virginia and it's safe to say that he's lived up to his rating.
While Irvin managed to achieve legendary status, other standouts include receiver Ivan McCartney, linebacker Doug Rigg and massive offensive lineman Quinton Spain.
What should have helped this class is that it included two talented passers in Jeremy Johnson and Barry Brunetti, both of whom were highly rated prospects hailing from Texas and Tennessee, respectively.
Neither stayed long, though, as Johnson headed back to his home state and Brunetti landed on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford.
Losing two talented signal-callers doesn't help and it's especially bad when the class was as small as it was.
McCartney and Spain still have time to emerge as big-time players, though, so it's hard to regard this class as a bust.
A little thin, though? Perhaps.
No. 3: 2008 Recruiting Class
West Virginia safety Robert Sands
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2008 was another monster year in terms of numbers as the Mountaineers hauled in 27 recruits.
Unlike the previous year, which seemed to have a particular emphasis on defensive talent, 2008 was all about offense.
J.D. Woods, Ryan Clarke, Tyler Urban, Jeff Braun, Joe Madsen and Josh Jenkins are all notable offensive talent that arrived in this class.
Jenkins, a five-star recruit from Parkersburg, has been incredibly efficient in his career save for his missing the 2011-2012 due to a knee injury. He has since recovered and figures to be the leader of a potentially outstanding offensive line in 2012.
Perhaps the standout from this class was safety Robert Sands.
A three-star prospect coming in, Sands played at an elite level at West Virginia, using his 6'4" frame to terrify opposing receivers in the secondary.
As of now, he is the only member of the 2008 recruiting class to be playing on Sundays.
Overall, 2008 ended up being a good year for West Virginia on the recruiting trail.
No. 2: 2007 Recruiting Class
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People will tend to remember 2007 as the year that Morgantown welcomed in Noel Devine.
And why not?
He only became West Virginia's third all-time leading rusher and is arguably the most explosive player in the school's history.
In fact, one wonders what would have happened had Calvin McGee stayed to run the spread option and Devine managed to stay healthy throughout his senior season.
Apart from Devine, the 2007 class featured a slew of great defensive talent in Brandon Hogan, Sydney Glover, Eain Smith, Keith Tandy and Julian Miller.
Hogan is currently playing for the Carolina Panthers and Tandy and Miller figure to be joining him in the NFL come late April.
Devine's partner-in-crime Jock Sanders was also a fellow classmate and he left his own indelible impression on the program having been a recorded holder for most receptions in a single season.
Last and not least is Donnie Barclay, who became a fixture in WVU's offensive line over the last four years.
Out of 27 recruits, this class came packed with some serious talent.
No. 1: 2009 Recruiting Class
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Smith. Bailey. Austin.
Those three names alone could solidify this as the best recruiting class at West Virginia in the last five years.
The quarterback receiver duo have become a veritable three-headed monster over the last season, setting new season, school and Bowl records in the process.
Still, they weren't the only players to sign in 2009.
Other notable names include Will Clarke, Darwin Cook, Broderick Jenkins, Pat Miller, Terrence Garvin, Pat Eger and Shawn Alston.
You could even throw in towering offensive lineman Curtis Feigt, who emerged from nowhere to help anchor a patchwork offensive line in 2011.
To have not only one of (if not the) greatest quarterbacks in West Virginia history as well as two of the best receivers in school history in one recruiting class is remarkable.
Throw in the standout talent currently surrounding them and this recruiting class becomes one for the ages for West Virginia football.