Dark To Light

The mood across Mountaineer nation swung wildly on Signing Day as one player thought to be in WVU's court signed elsewhere, only to be supplanted by an unexpected surprise late in the day.

When Brandon Heath turned his back on the school that he had named as his leader numerous times in order to follow his childhood friend to Louisville, there was much despair among WVU's recruiting aficianados. And, I have to admit, I was a bit down myself. Although I will never judge the success or failure of a recruiting class on whether one individual signs or not, there was no doubt that Heath was one of the top targets in this class. With only three scholarship cornerbacks on the roster in the spring, Heath was expected to make an immediate impact on the depth chart in the fall.

As the day wore on, the mood lightened a bit. West Virginia wouldn't be cancelling football because Heath wasn't coming, and the Mountaineer coaching staff certainly had talent on the way in the form of signees Boogie Allen, Ryan Brinson, Robert Williams and Eddie Davis. However, emotions can be difficult to turn on and off, so there was still a bit of depression hovering over the Puskar Center when Rich Rodriguez kicked off his press conference at 3:00 p.m.

Just a few minutes into the meeting, however, the clouds parted, and light poured in. Word had come that Greg Davis, a highly regarded defensive back, had just announced at his press conference that he would be a Mountaineer. It was a last minute, against the odds commitment that saved the day. Horns sounded, angels sang, and all was right with the world.

Of course, everyone tends to put a bit too much emotional investment into Signing Day. By spring practice, many fans won't be able to name half of WVU's signees, and after the first few practices of the fall, most will be consigned to the practice squad for the rest of the year. However, if something goes awry on Signing Day, there's much angst, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

What object lessons can we take away from this year's Signing Day roller coaster ride? First, things are never as good or as bad as they seem. WVU's loss of Heath was more than compensated for by the late gain of Davis. Second, it's difficult to rate WVU's classes against those of many other schools, simply due to West Virginia's unique offense and defense. In a standard 4-3, Mike Lorello might not be a star. At WVU, he's an all-league player and team MVP. And finally, the loss of one player never, repeat, never, defines a class. Even if WVU hadn't gotten Davis, this would have been a good class that met the Mountaineers' needs. I'm sure you'll remember that -- at least until next year.

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