West Virginia Signs Five At Corner, Two Up Front On Defense

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia added significant depth and some much-needed immediate defensive help during signing day. Here, corners coach Brian Mitchell and line mentor Bruce Tall detail the recruits.

Mitchell, who will work with five new corners in the fall in a bid to replace a trio of departures and graduates, also benefitted from the signing of junior college corner Elijah Battle. The 6-0, 185-pounder finished the 2015 season with 50 tackles, including 38 solo tackles and also had 11 pass breakups, two tackles for loss, one interception and one fumble recovery. Battle made 44 tackles with 29 solo stops in 2014, adding eight pass breakups and one interception and was a 2015 All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Honorable Mention selection. His pick-up was the most imperative in the short term at corner for WVU, as Battle and Rasul Douglas - other junior college recruit wwho signed in the 2015 class - are likely to battle Nana Kyeremeh for the two starting slots.

"I was expecting to begin as a safety, but then they moved me to cornerback," Battle said. "I liked safety a lot, because you make a lot of tackles, but I like corner better now. That's where I'll play at WVU."

The Mountaineers also signed Jacquez Adams (5-11, 160 lbs.) out of Milford Academy. Adams' brother, Jordan, is also a corner who has been in the program for one year. Jacquez was a solid athlete and quarterback, but projects at the collegiate level as a defensive back. Mike Daniels, Jake Long and Sean Mahone round out the group, and provide some numbers as West Virginia stocks the roster for future seasons. Daniels (5-11, 205 lbs.), another junior college player who spent his prep seasons at South Dade High in Miami, helped lead Globe Tech to an 8-3 record as a sophomore, along with a No. 19 final regular season ranking and an appearance in the Graphic Edge Bowl. Daniels played in 11 games as a sophomore, finishing with seven interceptions, and returning them for 162 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 37 tackles, including 21 solo stops and one blocked kick and became the third junior college second team All-American prospect to join the Mountaineers’ class of 2016, along with offensive lineman Craig Smith and running back Justin Crawford.

Long (6-0, 185 lbs.) made 28 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, two pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 2015 and played in the 2016 Semper Fidelis All-American Game. The Columbus, Ohio native ranked as the No. 6 cornerback in Ohio and No. 18 cornerback regionally according to Scout.

"My game is fast-paced and I work hard," Long said. "I'm a leader and I work on technique a lot. I first fell in love with football as a baby, but I only played defensive back recently. Ever since, I have focused on speed, footwork and power. Where I am from is just like Morgantown. That caught my eye. And the coaches were amazing. Coach Holgorsen is a great coach. The coaching staff are all great guys and very down to earth and their focus is all about the student-athlete, and I really appreciate that. I've gotten a lot closer to them since I committed, gotten to know a few guys in this recruiting class, and I'm looking forward to being a part of the Mountaineer program." 

Mahone (5-10, 200 lbs.) made 43 tackles with two interceptions and two pass breakups last season a Lakota West High in Ohio. He finished the 2014 season with 51 tackles and three interceptions and also playing in the 2016 Semper Fidelis All-American Game, Mahone was also named an AP All-Ohio Division I Honorable Mention and All-Southwest Division I District First Team selection as a senior.

"I saw the stadium, and I think they have one of the best weight rooms," Mahone said of his visit. "The weight room is pretty awesome. The coaches and I talked about the importance of getting my degree. We talked about the importance of education, then we talked about how I fit into the football program They are losing five senior defensive backs after this season, and I would have a good chance at early playing time. They really treated me like I belonged there." 

Tall, meanwhile, will work with Reese Donahue (6-5, 245 lbs.) out of Cabell Midland (W.Va.) High and Jeffery Pooler (6-4, 290 lbs.) out of Dunbar High in Dayton, Ohio. Both players are already enrolled at WVU, giving them a major jump on the upcoming season. Donahue was a two-year starter for coach Luke Salmons and the first player in state history to win both the Stydahar Award (state’s top lineman) and the 2015 Huff Award (state’s best defensive player). The All-State Class AAA Defensive Captain was also a two-time West Virginia All-State Class AAA First Teamer and the American Family Insurance All-USA West Virginia Defensive Player of the Year.

Pooler, a great raw talent whose game is remains unpolished, is a Southwest Ohio - American Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team All-Greater Catholic League honoree. As a senior, Pooler finished with 82 tackles, including eight sacks, along with five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. As a junior, he registered 67 tackles, including two sacks and two forced fumbles.

"I would describe my game as a playmaker," Pooler said. "I like to get to the ball and make plays. Over the last year I feel I have improved by getting more physical, getting off blocks and recognizing where the play goes. I'm more of a team player."

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