West Virginia Addresses Needs With Scout's 34th-Ranked Class

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia closed well on National Signing Day, landing four-star linebacker Brendan Ferns and a key junior college cornerback in Elijah Battle to complete a solid class.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen, in this two-part series which continues below, gives his insights and analysis on the class, which features 18 players who signed Wednesday to go with nine early enrollees who are already attending WVU. Included in the former group was Ferns, rated as the seventh best linebacker in the country and the 106th-best overall player. Ferns chose the Mountaineers over fellow finalist Penn State, while Battle, a 6-0, 185-pounder out of Dodge City (Kan.) community college, finally landed at WVU after giving a verball commitment to both Minnesota and the Mountaineers. 

Battle will be expected to compete for time at corner, where the depth has thinned since Daryl Worley declared for the NFL draft following the Cactus Bowl victory. West Virginia also addressed needs in other areas of the defensive backfield in signing Kyzir White, a 6-3, 210-pound safety who should challenge for K.J. Dillon's vacated spot at spur. White, the brother of former WVU receiver Kevin and current Mountaineer wideout Ka'Raun, is the 27th-rated junior college player with the size and skillset to be a fantastic fit at the hybrid spot.

The Mountaineers also signed in-state players in safety Dylan Tonkery and defensive lineman Reese Donahue, but got away from their Florida ties this season. Running backs coach JaJuan Seider said the Sunshine State's talent level was down this year, and so WVU relied more heavily upon Ohio (seven signees), Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as dipping into Missouri for offensive lineman Chase Behrndt. WVU also took three running backs, including juco tarnsfer Jusstin Crawford, who will look to try to negate the loss of Wendell Smallwood. Steven Smothers, a Scout four-star wideout from Reisterstown, Md., was called the best player in the state by position coach Lonnie Galloway, and Holgorsen got his quarterback for the class in Cody Saunders, a 6-2, 205 pounder out of Panama City Beach, Fla.


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