If it is true that you reap what you sow, then West Virginia football may be reaping the benefits of seeds sown across the state of Georgia for years to come.
In the past, the Mountaineers have had a direct pipeline to the state of Florida, and more specifically, south Florida. However, the departure of Florida recruiting specialist JaJaun Seider has created a recruiting void in Dana Holgerson’s staff.
In order to fill the void, Holgerson added former Georgia high school football star Doug Belk. Belk spent the previous two years at Alabama. Prior to his time in Tuscaloosa, Belk was the cornerbacks coach at Valdosta State, but when an opportunity presented itself to be a part of Nick Saban’s staff, Belk took a risk, and a pay cut, to invest in his own future. He spent time developing as a coach around the likes of Jeremy Pruitt (now head coach at Tennessee), Kirby Smart (now head coach at Georgia), and of course Nick Saban, himself. He was able to make coaching and recruiting connections, as well as learn from some of the best coaches to ever do it.
Now, the risk seems to have paid off for Belk. In just a short time, he has shown his value and solidified himself as a great coach and recruiter at West Virginia.
“Back at Valdosta State, I knew I was going to have a hard time hanging on to him because he was so good,” Former Valdosta State coach David Dean told Metro News on Belk’s success.
“He was a very smart coach, very articulate, did a great job teaching and he got the best out of our players. If he gets in the home, he’s going to sell the mamas. They’re going to like him, they’re going to like his approach. He’s going to understand that area and he’s going to understand those kids.”
So far, former Valdosta State head coach David Dean’s assessment seems to be accurate, giving Dana Holgerson a slam dunk hire in Belk and West Virginia fans a reason to be optimistic about the future.
Holgrerson & Co. have 17 commitments in the 2019 class, five of which are from the state of Georgia. Belk teamed up with current West Virginia running backs coach Marquel Blackwell to deliver a commitment from 3-star running back Tony Mathis from Cedartown, GA. Mathis held offers from Iowa State, Louisville, Purdue, Wake Forest, South Carolina and more.
Also credited to Belk, is the commitment of 3-star corner back Nicktroy Fortune who chose the Mountaineers over offers from Wisconsin, Syracuse, Rutgers, Louisville, Kansas State and Iowa State, just to name a few. And then there are 3-star outside linebacker Jared Bartlett from Suwanee, GA, and 3-star wide receiver Winston Wright from Savannah, GA. Both are committed to West Virginia thanks to coach Belk,
Belk’s biggest “get” so far though, could be Deshon Stoudemire. Stoudemire is a 3-star wide receiver from Stone Mountain, GA, and already has mountaineer fans excited. Stoudemire holds offers from Auburn, Iowa Sate, Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska, South Carolina and more.
Currently, West Virginia has the 34th-ranked recruiting class in the nation and the 5th-ranked class in the Big 12. The job of recruiting is always ongoing and we could see more big commitments in the near future for Belk and the Mountaineers. West Virginia’s big win over Tennessee marks a strong start to the 2018 season and that is sure to generate momentum on the recruiting trail for Belk and for West Virginia.