MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Back in February, West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen revealed the 2013 recruiting class and tried making sense of adding no cornerbacks to a roster that struggled so egregiously against the pass last season.
The Mountaineers already had eight cornerbacks on scholarship and only one would be a senior for this season.
Better to let that youth develop than add to the number, which was already near the limit Holgorsen wanted to commit to the position. Better to recruit defensive ends and outside linebackers who can rush the passer and reduce the amount of time the cornerbacks have to cover receivers.
All that sensibility has since been scrambled. Injuries and personnel maneuvers send the Mountaineers into the final five days of preseason camp with six healthy cornerbacks.
"It's more than enough," first-year cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell said. "You'd like to have eight. You'd like to have five you're going to travel with, possibly six depending on special teams needs. You always want two that are developing.
"But you can only rep so many during the week. If you're two deep and you're solid, that's great. We feel like we've got a good mixture of good size, good speed, good quickness. We need to develop the position mastery aspect of it, but we are progressing."
The original batch of eight cornerbacks has wandered a little bit. Sophomore Nana Kyeremeh will miss this season with a shoulder injury. Sophomore Terrell Chestnut is still rehabilitating a knee injury suffered in the bowl game loss to Syracuse. Vernon Davis, a transfer from the University of Miami who sat out last season, was moved to receiver in the spring. Mitchell said Saturday that's permanent.
Sophomore Ricky Rumph, who played in nine games last season, was recently moved to safety. Mitchell said that isn't necessarily permanent, but that Rumph was moved with a certain idea in mind.
It helps the Mountaineers out at safety, where they are just as eager for players as they are at cornerback. Yet it also provides a role to someone the coaches feel has to be on the field. He's working at bandit safety behind senior Darwin Cook, but also as a nickelback when WVU uses five defensive backs.
"Ricky has proven that he has a great football IQ," Mitchell said. "We thought we could move a young man that was very heady, very talented and can do a number of things from a position where we have three guys who are very similar."
The only players who remain from the original collection of eight cornerbacks are senior Brodrick Jenkins, junior Ishmael Banks, sophomore Avery Wlliams and redshirt freshman Brandon Napoleon. That deserves more explanation, though.
Banks was a safety first in his career, but played cornerback last season and started the final four games of the regular season. Yet he was playing a Rumph role at safety earlier in preseason practice. Williams missed all of last season with a neck injury. Napoleon sat out as a redshirt.