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Arizona loses a pair of recruits to West Virginia

Mario Alford

Mario Alford

The drama between Arizona and West Virginia has intensified after recruits Brandon Golson and Mario Alford switched on Signing Day and sent in letters-of-intent to the Mountaineers.

Golson and Alford were teammates at Georgia Military Academy.

The dominoes were set in motion by safeties coach Tony Gibson, who left Arizona last month to return to West Virginia, where he coached under Rich Rodriguez. Gibson was the lead recruiter at Arizona on both prospects … and he got them to flip.

Golson is a three-star outside linebacker who originally signed with South Carolina out of high school. His loss is particularly significant, considering he was going to fill a position of need.

Alford was rated as high as the 11th-best junior college prospect in the country by 247Sports. He told 247Sports of signing with West Virginia that “I feel like I can come in and take over up there. I know they really need me up there and I’m not sure Arizona did. I feel like I can make a name for myself at West Virginia.”

Many Mountaineers still hold a grudge against Rodriguez for leaving for Michigan after the 2007 season, so there was much gloating on social media about nabbing two players who had been ready to sign with the Cats.

When RichRod landed at Arizona after the 2011 season, he took three coaches off the WVU staff — defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich and cornerbacks coach David Lockwood.

Last season, Arizona flipped running back J.T. Washington from his commitment to the Mountaineers. Washington redshirted at UA last season.

As Signing Day develops, we’ll see how Arizona replaces Golson and Alford.

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