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WVU HC Brown Remains Confident Mountaineers Will Win by Developing Own Players



National Signing Day has come and gone, and now for West Virginia and head coach Neal Brown, opportunity is knocking.

For the Mountaineers to fully get back on track, Brown is sticking with his original ideas that he has held in place since his introductory press conference nearly five years ago. West Virginia needs to start at the roots and grow from the ground up.

Being a veteran coach, Brown understands the position his team is in, and more importantly, where the program needs to go next.

“I still think our best opportunity to be successful in West Virginia is to be a developmental program,” Brown said during a news conference on Wednesday. “There’s going to be moments where you develop a really good player and you might lose [them to the portal]. But those few occurrences should not deter us from what our real objective should be, which is to bring guys in like we’ve done way before I was here. Develop guys though processes through the infrastructure. I think that’s still the best way.”

Watch: WVU HC Neal Brown Recaps National Signing Day

Currently in the spotlight, West Virginia has 20 spots to fill on its roster. Possibly more.

The Mountaineers lost 16 players to the transfer portal. Seven of those were starters or regulars in the rotation to get time on the field. This includes preseason All-Big 12 defensive back Charles Woods and former five-star quarterback JT Daniels.

Woods and Daniels are two of the three former West Virginia players that have already chosen their next destination, with Woods heading to SMU and Daniels transferring to Rice, where he will play for Mike Bloomgren, a former recruiter of Daniels in the past. The third is defensive lineman Taijh Alston, who announced he will suit up for Colorado under new head coach Deion Sanders next season.

Report: Former WVU QB JT Daniels Commits to Transfer to Rice

There are still more key losses West Virginia is facing. Fifth-year senior Dante Stills has no more eligibility remaining, meaning he will either be done with football or attempt to head to the NFL, with the latter being the more likely path Stills will take. Mountaineers receivers Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Sam James, the team’s top two pass catchers in 2022, are also heading to the draft. Kicker Casey Legg said earlier this month he is retiring from football.

“Right now, we have to be able to bring in transfers,” Brown said. “We’ve had some really successful transfers here that have done well within our tenure, and in during Dana [Holgorsen’s] tenure. They had successful transfers and that’s something that West Virginia has done a nice job of, and we’ve had some misses, too. You’re not going to hit 100%, you’re just not. But we have to be able to still focus on high school and being developmental oriented.”

As of Wednesday, Brown has reeled in two transfers that will join the Mountaineers.

Four-star cornerback Montre Miller, a graduate transfer from Kent State, committed to West Virginia on Sunday night. Miller may have pulled the teammate effect on fellow Golden Flash Ja’Shaun Poke, who also said he will be coming to Morgantown the same day. Poke is a three-star wide receiver, also with four years of college experience.

West Virginia Football Adds Commitment from Kent State CB Montre Miller

Obviously Brown and his staff are aiming to add more veteran talent, and still have time to do so. The portal window lasts 45 days in December and January before it closes until the conclusion of spring practice. Players can then re-enter the portal for a much shorter period from May 1 through May 15.

For his high school recruits, Brown has already produced much success. West Virginia compiled 18 commitments on Wednesday, according to the team’s official Twitter account.

Brown’s list includes five four-star players, headlined by Laurel Highlands High School wide receiver Rodney Gallagher, ESPN’s No. 2 ranked player in Pennsylvania and is being tabbed as Brown’s best-ever recruit. The others include linebacker Josiah Trotter, the son of 11-year NFL veteran and Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Famer Jeremiah Trotter Sr., wide receiver Traylon Ray, defensive end Zachariah Keith and cornerback Josiah Jackson.

The Mountaineers also picked up three-star dual threat quarterback Shaun Boyle, who will go into camp behind Garrett Greene and Nicco Marchiol, after Brown said he will not be bringing in any quarterbacks via the transfer portal.

Neal Brown Doesn’t Plan to Add Transfer QB, Sticking with Greene and Marchiol

After what would most likely be considered a sub-par season in 2022, West Virginia looks to be on the right track to rebound for the upcoming spring. With all of the heat already on Brown concerning his job, he seems to be exerting a strong effort to get the Mountaineers back into a well-groomed position with an experienced lineup and talented reserves.

Only three months remain until the 2023 Mountaineers take the field for spring practice, with the Country Road hopefully leading to a bowl victory.

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