MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) The small western Pennsylvania town of Aliquippa has helped restock West Virginia’s football roster.
The Mountaineers snatched Aliquippa High cornerback Dravon Henry and defensive lineman Jaleel Fields from the shadow of longtime rival Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
West Virginia already has another Aliquippa product, running back Rushel Shell, who transferred from Pitt last summer after rushing for 641 yards as a freshman in 2012. Shell holds the Pennsylvania high school career rushing record of 9,078 yards.
Aliquippa is 90 miles north of Morgantown, just outside Pittsburgh. West Virginia’s past connections to Aliquippa including cornerback Charles Fisher, a first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1999.
Henry and Fields were among 21 recruits announced Wednesday by West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. Six are junior college transfers, and six are already taking classes at WVU.
Nine of the recruits are on defense. The hope is some of them can immediately help shore up a unit that was the worst in the Big 12 in passing yards and touchdown passes allowed and had the second-fewest sacks in the league. Two of the six lost starters on defense were linemen.
On offense, one of the top recruits was dual-threat quarterback William Crest from Dunbar High in Baltimore. It’s the same high school that produced former Mountaineer star Tavon Austin and current WVU linebacker Marvin Gross.
The addition of Crest and junior college transfer Skyler Howard gives the Mountaineers five quarterbacks. Ford Childress, who started two games last season before missing the final eight with a torn chest muscle, is no longer with the team.
The Mountaineers signed five offensive linemen to help soften the loss of three starters on the line.
National rankings (Rivals 37; ESPN 37; Scout 40).
Best in class: Dravon Henry, db, Aliquippa (Pa.) HS.
Best of the rest: William Crest, qb, Dunbar HS, Baltimore. Donte Thomas-Williams, rb, Hillside HS, Durham, N.C.
Late addition: Dontae Angus, ol, Martin Luther King HS, Philadelphia. Angus had initially committed to Florida.
One that got away: Josh Krok, ol, McKinley HS, Niles, Ohio. Krok signed with Kentucky after making a visit last month to Lexington, Ky.
NOTE: Holgorsen called Henry ”one of the better players in the Northeast” who can play cornerback or safety and be used as a returner.