Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Signing day and basketball

West Virginia University football coach Neal Brown will sign his first recruiting class today, the 18th of December as 16 prospects are expected to sign with the Mountaineers in the early signing period. WVU will round out the recruiting season in February during the traditional signing period. The current class is ranked 38th nationally, but if you average out the star ratings of each of the players WVU can claim the 27th spot. For an even more positive twist, there are only two schools with 16 or fewer commitments rated higher than WVU.

Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football programs, but the thing to remember is, it is not how high a class is rated now, but how well those in it are playing in a year or two.

I personally don’t follow recruiting that closely, but I am reading from those who do, that Brown and his staff are recruiting to their needs very well, and that the final ranking for this class when all is said and done in February will probably be higher. In any event I’ll chime in on the results of Wednesday’s signings when I return in January.

By then the men’s basketball team will have wrapped up the non-conference portion of their schedule after a two game Ohio swing over the holidays. West Virginia seemed to right the ship following their loss to St. Johns with lopsided wins over Austin Peay and Nicholls State last week. The Mountaineers’ record is now 9-1.

WVU will play at Youngstown State this Saturday at 1 p.m. Word is WVU agreed to play this game in Youngstown as a favor to Penguins coach Jerrod Calhoun, who was a former WVU assistant coach, Director of Basketball Operations and a friend of Bob Huggins. Calhoun also had a successful head coaching stint at Fairmont State where he took the Fighting Falcons to the 2017 Division II National Championship game. This is the only West Virginia game this season that will not be televised or streamed, so it will be a Tony Caridi day for the audio only.

West Virginia will then have eight days off before meeting Ohio State on December 29 in Cleveland for the aptly named Cleveland Classic. The Buckeyes were undefeated, ranked in the top five and riding high before being derailed Sunday in Minnesota. OSU will still likely be a top 10 team on the 29th, though they do play Kentucky this Saturday. The game tips at noon on FS1 and will be followed by a game pitting Marshall against Duquesne.