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Recruiting expert says WVU class "typical"

by Chris Errington

SPORTS WRITER

If today's national college football signing day is any indicator, don't expect West Virginia to improve much from last season's 4-7 record, recruiting expert Bill Kurelic said.

Kurelic, who owns "The Ohio Football Recruiting News," a publication that centers on college football recruiting classes like Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and West Virginia, called the Mountaineers' 2000 class "pretty typical."

"There's not a lot of big names, but there will be some kids that will be good players some day," Kurelic said. "They have a few unknowns, a few Pa. kids. It's certainly not a top-15 class."

Kurelic cited Caleb Cooper of Wyoming East as one of West Virginia's best recruits, but mentioned the Mountaineers were hurt by the emigration of in-state players Ronnie Rodamer of Morgantown (Notre Dame) and Scott Davis of Class AAA champion Parkersburg (Penn State).

He also mentioned wide receiver Reggie Vickers, who listed West Virginia as one of his final three choices, but opted to go to the University of Florida.

"They didn't get the West Virginia kids they were after and I definitely wouldn't compare their class to Ohio State, Penn State or Michigan," Kurelic said. "Vickers wasn't a real surprise though. He's a Florida kid and when a Florida school offers you a scholarship, you've got to take it."

Despite Kurelic's summation, defensive coordinator Steve Dunlap, who wasn't allowed to reveal recruits' names, was quick to come to West Virginia's defense.

He said the Mountaineers recruited approximately five defensive backs, four linebackers and "a couple" of linemen, which he hopes will cement a defense long on depth but short on experience.

"Last year we had seniors then we had freshmen and redshirt freshmen. There wasn't a middle class and because of that we had a giant void," Dunlap said. "We recruited athletes and play them in spots. We recruited the right athletes for our program.

"A lot of these recruiting experts don't know anything about football. They ask which guys are being recruited by what schools. All recruiting is an educated guess. There's a chemistry part to it."

Phone calls to head coach Don Nehlen were not immediately returned.

Former offensive coordinator Dan Simrell said West Virginia's biggest offensive recruiting concern was at wide receiver, but that was before the team was hurt by quarterback Rudy Camano's decision to not come to Morgantown. Still, West Virginia received a major lift when a National Collegiate Athletic Association rule, instituted this year, allowed wide receiver Khori Ivy to return for an extra season. He had lost his freshman year to Prop 48.

Of last year's recruiting class, only defensive lineman Jason Davis and tailback Quincy Wilson received extensive playing time.

West Virginia will formally release its class of 2000 today.

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