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Mountaineers add varied mix of athletes to class of 2011

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With a lack of championship results and the itching desire for a Big East title, the Mountaineers switched up their coaching staff just four months into athletic director Oliver Luck’s tenure in Morgantown. Bill Stewart is slowly being transitioned out of his duties as head coach, with Luck bringing in Dana Holgorsen from Oklahoma State.

Holgorsen will start out as offensive coordinator before taking over as head coach before the 2012 season.

This coaching change might also pull in potential recruits from Oklahoma and Texas who may want to follow Holgorsen. Two such players committed to WVU in January, shortly after Holgorsen had gotten settled into his new position. Quarterback Paul Millard and scatback Dustin Garrison (below right), both Texans, gave commitments to the Mountaineers early in the new year.

"We are very excited to have Dustin Garrison out of Pearland, Texas. He just gets the ball and goes. He has tremendous stats, great hands and great mobility," said Stewart. "Then certainly, we are excited about our other running back out of Jacksonville, Florida - Andrew Buie. He also has tremendous stats and is a great player with a lot of potential."

Two of WVU's top players in the class of 2011 may be difficult for fans to distinguish from one another. The Roberts twins, Vance and Vernard, from Dunbar High School in Washington, DC, are not big in stature but both are big in talent. Vernard Roberts, 5-11, 174, is a strong running back with great vision and smooth running ability. His brother Vance, a 4-star defensive back, is smaller at 5-10, 160-pounds, but has great turn-and-run ability and the kind of hips that cannot be coached.

"The defensive back is a tremendous athlete who plays corner. He started out as a high school quarterback, then they wanted to get him the ball even more and put him in the running game," Stewart commented. "He has been all over the place."

While the Roberts brothers are at the smaller end of the scale, WVU also brought several big men, with six commitments on the line – three on each side of the ball. Russell Haughton-James, an athletic 6-6, 280-pound offensive lineman from Florida, and Shaq Rowell, a massive defensive tackle from the Iowa juco ranks, are the two biggest additions along the line of scrimmage.  

“Shaq Rowell has been at Iowa Western. He is a special guy and we loved being in his home,” Stewart said.” He had a brother that played out in Iowa and played well. He brings a lot to the table.”

The class is a big one this year, with 23 having either signed letters of intent or pledged to do so. If Stewart is slowing down with just one year remaining as the Mountaineers head coach, it's certainly not showing.

WEST VIRGINIA - CLASS OF 2011
Brian Athey, QB (6-4, 215) Eden Prairie, MN/Eden Prairie
Jared Barber, LB (6-2, 215) Mocksville, NC/Davie
Ben Bradley, DT (6-2, 270) Norcross, GA/Norcross
Isaiah Bruce, LB (6-2, 205) Jacksonville, FL/Providence School
Andrew Buie, RB (5-9, 185) Jacksonville, FL/Trinity Christian
Dante Campbell, WR (6-4, 190) East Ridge, FL/East Ridge
Terrell Chestnut, DB (5-11, 180) Pottstown, PA/Pottsgrove
Cody Clay, TE (6-4, 245) Charleston, WV/George Washington School
Josh Francis, LB (6-2, 215) Scranton, PA/Lackawanna C.C.    
Dustin Garrison, RB (5-8, 160) Pearland, TX/Pearland
Russell Haughton-James, OL (6-6, 280) Weston, FL/American Heritage
Brandon Jackson, OL (6-4, 330) Lakewood, OH/St. Edward
Justin Johnson, OL (6-3, 285) Parkersburg, WV/Parkersburg
Nick Kwiatkoski, DB (6-2, 190) Bethel Park, PA/Bethel Park
Paul Millard, QB (6-2, 200) Flower Mound, TX/Flower Mound
Kenneth Myers, WR (6-2, 185) Jacksonville, FL/First Coast
Shaquille Petteway, S (6-1, 200), Steubenville, OH/Steubenville
Vance Roberts, DB (5-10, 165) Washington, DC/Dunbar
Vernard Roberts, RB (5-1, 175) Washington, DC/Dunbar
Kyle Rose, DE (6-4, 235) Centerville, OH/Centerville
Shaq Rowell, DT (6-4, 305) Council Bluffs, IA/Iowa Western C.C.
Jermichael Selders, RB (5-11, 175) Houston, TX/Cy-Creek
Avery Williams, ATH (6-0, 165) Washington, DC/Coolidge

IMMEDIATE IMPACT:
Shaq Rowell, DT
With the departure of senior defensive tackle Chris Neild, juco transfer Shaq Rowell could be ready to step in immediately. A former Nebraska commit, Rowell landed on his feet at Iowa Western and could be on the field making an impact as early as this fall.

FUTURE STAR
Vance Roberts, DB

Though undersized, Vance Roberts is tough enough to play corner at the next level and speedy and crafty enough to make a difference with the ball in his hands. Holgorsen will figure out a way to use him on offense.

UNDER THE RADAR
Nick Kwiatkoski, D

Bethel Park's Nick Kwiatkowski has the size to play in Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 defense as a hybrid linebacker/safety a la Robert Sands. After a year as a redshirt and a year cutting his teeth on special teams, Kwiatkoski could become a major contributor to the Mountaineers.

WHO'S MISSING:
Eric Fronapfel, a 6-6 tight end and DeAndre Reaves, a 5-10, 180-pound corner, both out of Virginia committed to the Mountaineers originally, but wound up defecting to Marshall in January.

TWO-DEEP POTENTIAL
Josh Francis, Vance & Vernard Roberts, Shaq Rowell, Jermichael Selders

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