The 6-5, 200-pound McDonald was a two-time Miami Herald All-Dade County second-team linebacker. He had 68 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss and seven sacks, as a senior. McDonald was also offered a scholarship by Clemson, Louisville, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Oregon, South Carolina and Stanford.
Holgorsen couldn't update the status of still unapproved freshman Darrien Howard, a linebacker from Ohio who the coaches project as a defensive lineman in college. Junior college linebacker d'Vante Henry, who was with the team in the summer, but left for personal reasons before the start of camp, is still missing from practice.
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COACHES WILL COMPOSE depth charts for offense, defense and special teams this weekend. That will define roles for first-year players and Holgorsen didn't mention many freshmen.
Receiver Dakiel Shorts, who has moved from outside to inside to fix the problem there, and running back Wendell Smallwood "will play," according to Holgorsen, though both have been on campus since January. The rest, who arrived in the summer, aren't so secure.
"I'd be shocked if (cornerback) Daryl Worley doesn't have a big role on defense or special teams," Holgorsen said. "(Safety) Jeremy Tyler has really shown some things that are impressive. (Linebacker) Al-Rasheed Benton is a 250-pound, mature kid that's shown some signs of life."
Holgorsen excluded freshman Elijah Wellman, from Cabell Midland High, though WVU is just now practicing without the departed Johnson.
"Moving Garrett Hope there has alleviated some of the need for him," Holgorsen said. "He's shown some signs of being a really good player for us. Whether we want to waste a year or him being a third-team fullback, that decision hasn't been made."
Holgorsen said some of the nine junior college transfers could redshirt this season, but that others have a chance to play.
"(Receiver) Mario Alford is showing signs of doing things," he said. "Kevin White is not redshirting. He's a big guy who's ready to go. Dreamius Smith has shown some good things."
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HOLGORSEN ACCEPTED BLAME for the reaction to comments he made last week about how a lack of leadership was an "issue" for the 2012 team.
A variety of subsequent reports and vague player quotes were used to project Holgorsen's criticism onto Geno Smith. Holgorsen later defended his former quarterback and said his words were misconstrued, but Smith's new coach, Rex Ryan of the New York Jets, ridiculed WVU for targeting Smith.
"All that falls on my shoulders," Holgorsen said. "It was taken way out of context. The bottom line is I was referencing our 2012 team not having enough leaders and that's one thing that we've taken into account this year. We've been working on that since January.
"We are developing a whole roomful of leaders. That's how you win a championship. You don't win a championship with just one or two guys that you look to. You win one with a whole roomful of leaders that take the bull by the horns and say, 'We're going to do some special things.' I like where we're at right now."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.