As disappointing as it was to watch, the fallout from West Virginia's upset loss to a 6-6 Florida State team in the "Bowden Bowl" (oops, I mean Konica Minolta Gator Bowl) is just beginning.
The rumor mill has been in overdrive concerning the expected departure of the Mountaineers' top rusher-Noel Devine-as well as its top receiver-Jock Sanders.
Making matters worse are the reports out of the University City that some of the recruits for the Class of 2010 have started wavering on their earlier commitments. One, running back Braylon Heard from Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, has already de-committed to the old gold and blue and added his name to the list of recruits at the University of Nebraska.
Heard, who made his decision to become a Mountaineer following his official visit in October, reportedly changed his mind when WVU coaches told him that they were more interested in him on the defensive side of the football rather than at running back-the position the 3-star athlete desired to play.
Now reports are coming out that the Class of 2010 may be in position to lose even more of its members as at least two receivers are beginning to have second thoughts following WVU's lackluster passing attack in its 12-point loss to the Seminoles. Making matters worse is the loss of one of the premier recruiters in the country in John 'Doc' Holliday to become the new head coach at Marshall and the apparent lack of urgency to replace the one person whose job it is to coordinate the recruiting effort and make sure that each assistant is keeping up with that part of their duties.
Granted, more than a month remains before thousands of athletes around the country sign their names to national letters-of-intent on the first Wednesday in February. However, this is still unsettling news and reason to be concerned for all Mountaineer fans.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program, whether it be at an NCAA Division I school or a high school (oops, I mean smaller college). Playing high-profile games in front of a national audience can either convince a young up-and-coming star to select your institution to display his or her talents for the next four years or show them that a stay in Morgantown is not in their best interest.
No matter how one elects to paint the picture, Friday's lackluster performance against a Seminole team ranked 108th in the country at stopping the run as well as allowing 30.8 points per game, has to have ill effects.
More importantly, electing to change your offensive strategy when you had been so successful on your first two drives of the game, has to place some doubts in a recruit's mind.
Did the better team win or was it a case of one coaching staff having its players more prepared than the other? You can debate that issue until the 2010 season opens in August.
What can't be debated is the effect the loss of Holliday as well as the one in Bowden's swan song will have.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org