Out with the old, in with the new for WVU

Although the season is over, January usually has its fair share of ups and downs for the WVU football program.

New members enroll early to make it through the spring semester and participate in spring drills, but others are bound to leave for various reasons, whether to transfer or quit football.

So far, five players have left the Mountaineers program, none of whom saw significant playing time in 2017 — offensive linemen Alec Shriner and Ray Raulerson, wide receiver Ricky Rogers, kicker Jonn Young and defensive lineman Jalen Harvey.

Harvey, who was going to be a senior, played the most of the departed five, but saw action in only five games and finished with five tackles. The emergence of freshman Lamonte McDougle cut into Harvey’s playing time.

Raulerson, a transfer from Tennessee, was also heading into his senior year, but didn’t see the field behind center Matt Jones. Shriner moved from defense to offense, but did not play as a sophomore.

Rogers showed flashes during his three-year career, but was surpassed on the depth chart several times. He had one catch for 26 yards this season.

Young came in as a highly touted special teams player, but injury problems prevented him from competing for the kicking and punting jobs. Evan Staley took hold of the kicking spot from Mike Molina, while Young failed to surpass Billy Kinney at punter.

The early signing period introduced this year made January a far less stressful time for recruiting, since most of the class signed in mid-December. Of the 20 who signed, eight enrolled early — linebackers Charlie Benton and Josh Chandler, quarterback Trey Lowe, offensive linemen Briason Mays and Blaine Scott, safety Josh Norwood, kicker Skyler Simcox and cornerback Keith Washington.

Washington, Norwood and Benton were the only junior- college transfers in the class. Washington went to JUCO after spending a season at Michigan. Norwood is a former 4-star recruit out of Georgia and spent last season at Northwest Mississippi Community College.

Benton is listed at linebacker, but played safety at Butler Community College. He could be in the running to replace Kyzir White at “spur.”

Simcox will compete with Staley for the starting kicker position. While at Western Kentucky, Simcox made 16 of 22 field goal attempts in 2016, including two over 50 yards. He also made 70 of 71 extra point attempts.

Of the high schoolers to enroll early, the highlight is 4-star quarterback Lowe. It’ll be a crowded QB room this spring with five on scholarship seeking reps. Lowe will join Will Grier, Chris Chugunov, Jack Allison and David Isreal.

Scott and Mays will get a head start in a college weight room, but offensive linemen will redshirt unless depth concerns force them into the lineup.

Chandler will add depth at linebacker. He’s cut from the same cloth as David Long — both Ohio natives standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing near 225 pounds.

Three walk-ons also enrolled early, including running back T.J. Kpan, kicker Sam Trapuzzano and tight end Jesse Beal.

Spring football begins in mid-March.

Follow Sean Manning on Twitter
@SeanManning_DP. Email: