West Virginia Football: Mountaineers' Top Priority on National Signing Day

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 30, 2013

December 1, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen (left) observes the game along side Mountaineers offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson (center) and running backs coach Robert Gillespie (right) during the third quarter against the Kansas Jayhawks at Milan Puskar Stadium. The West Virginia Mountaineers won 59-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

After a discouraging 7-6 finish in 2012, Dana Holgorsen and the West Virginia football coaching staff is feeling the heat. The backlash from Mountaineer Nation has made the events of this recruiting season magnified even further.

The outside pressure, coupled with the immense losses on the offensive side of the ball, has made the primary goal obvious for the WVU staff this offseason: Find players who can make an immediate impact.

Holgorsen has already done a decent job of bringing in recruits who are poised to do just that once they arrive in Morgantown. On signing day, that process must continue.

Luckily, Holgorsen may have some help in the works from one of his new coaching hires—safeties coach Tony Gibson.

Gibson, a transplant from the staff of former WVU head coach, Rich Rodriguez, at Arizona, may be able to bring a pair of prized recruits with him on his move back to the Mountain State.

Mario Alford, a 4-star athlete (via 247sports.com), and Brandon Golson, a 3-star outside linebacker (via 247sports.com), both visited WVU on Jan. 25.

If they end up at WVU, it will be thanks to Gibson, who has been working to flip them both to the gold and blue. Chris Anderson of 247sports.com tweeted that Alford has been in direct contact Gibson during the process.

Alford and Golson are teammates at Georgia Military College, so they would seem to be a package deal.

The draw of bringing in Golson is obvious. The WVU defense that struggled last season could use all the help it can find. Additionally, the Mountaineers lost two linebackers from the 2012 group, including Josh Francis on the outside.

Golson is listed by 247sports.com as the No. 4 JUCO OLB, right behind current WVU commit D'Vante Henry.

As much as West Virginia would like to add Golson, Alford would be an even bigger draw.

Alford is a versatile back that could really thrive under Holgorsen's system. Especially given how Tavon Austin blossomed while in the backfield.

Alford isn't quite as shifty and elusive as Austin (Who is?), but Alford has more straight-line speed.

Think of a smaller C.J. Spiller.

He's excellent catching balls out of the backfield, and can use speed and quickness to lose tacklers and make it around the edge.

In addition to being lined up next in the backfield, Alford could also be utilized out of the slot.

WVU will have 95 percent of its production at receiver to replace and about 55 percent of its production on the ground.

The last line on Alford's ESPN scouting report reads, "With the right team, he could be an immediate impact player for the BCS level."

With the many offensive minds in Morgantown, West Virginia could certainly be that right team.

It's no secret that WVU is keen to running screens, sweeps and reads, which plays right into Alford's skill set.

If he ends up at West Virginia, there's little doubt that he could see the field and figure into the attack immediately.

Now, Gibson just needs to close the deal on signing day.