Dana Holgorsen continues to bolster the West Virginia roster with transfers.
On Monday, WVU confirmed the addition of two more newcomers: ex-Miami tight end Jovani Haskins and ex-Alabama wide receiver T.J. Simmons.
Both players were highly recruited in the 2016 class and will have three years to play for the Mountaineers after redshirting in 2017 to satisfy NCAA transfer requirements. Simmons was a four-star recruit out of Pinson, Alabama, and saw action in 12 games for the Crimson Tide last season, mainly on special teams. Haskins, a native of Bergenfield, New Jersey, was a three-star recruit who redshirted his lone season at Miami.
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Simmons and Haskins are the third and fourth players to transfer to West Virginia this offseason, following in the path of quarterback Jack Allison and defensive back Corey Winfield. Like Haskins, Allison made the move from Miami to Morgantown after one season with the Mountaineers.
Allison will sit out in 2017, but Winfield will be eligible immediately. Winfield announced his decision to graduate transfer to WVU from Syracuse back in February. Like Iowa transfer Maurice Fleming did in 2016, Winfield, a two-year starter for the Orange, has the chance to make an immediate impact in the Mountaineers secondary this upcoming season.
Not every transfer has worked out, but Holgorsen, now entering his sixth season at WVU, has developed a track record of being a fruitful landing spot for players looking for a change in scenery. West Virginia won’t land atop the yearly recruiting rankings, but the program does just fine developing its heap of mainly three-star prospects. Coupling that with transfers — guys like Charles Sims (Houston), Clint Trickett (Florida State) and Shaq Riddick (Gardner-Webb) all had their moments — has been a nice formula during the Holgorsen era.
Holgorsen hopes that continues in 2017 — especially with Will Grier.
Grier, the former Florida quarterback, was granted an NCAA waiver to be eligible Week 1 after sitting out last season. Grier left UF after being given a one-year suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug during the 2015 season. He threw for 1,204 yards and 10 touchdowns before the positive test.
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Now the starter for WVU, Grier will play behind two transfers on the offensive line. Kyle Bosch has started all 26 games at guard for the Mountaineers since transferring from Michigan. Additionally, Tennessee transfer Ray Raulerson has the chance to move up the depth chart after sitting out last season. He mainly worked with the second team at center during the spring.
WVU opens the 2017 season against Virginia Tech on Sept. 3 in Landover, Maryland. The game, to be played on a Sunday night alongside a UCLA-Texas A&M matchup, will be part of a great Week 1 slate.
The Mountaineers finished 10-3 in 2016.
For more West Virginia news, visit WVSports.com.
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