Footballing: The I-64 O-Line Corridor

AP photo

We are seeing a lot more West Virginia kids receive recruiting interest from big-time Division 1 football programs, and if you have been following along then you have also probably noticed that a bunch of those players are offensive lineman, and almost all of them are from the same area.

That area would be Cabell and Wayne counties. Huntington High and Spring Valley to be specific.

Last season saw the Highlanders’ Billy Ross head off the the University of North Carolina, while SV’s Riley Locklear (pictured above – the big dude in the middle) ended up the University of Tennessee.

photo: Tom Bragg
photo: Tom Bragg

Ross, also a big dude, is shown in the above photo I took the night he committed to UNC.

Locklear was the best offensive lineman I have personally see play in West Virginia since Josh Jenkins came out of Parkersburg High almost a decade ago. Ross would probably be third on that list if I thought about it long enough.

That list, however, could be getting some company over the next two seasons with Huntington and Spring Valley both having top 10 nationally ranked linemen on their rosters.

For the Timberwolves that player is Doug Nester. We’ve been over him recently, with columnist Mitch Vingle digging in a few days ago after the junior, listed at 6-foot-5 and 295 pounds, narrowed his list of potential college destinations down to WVU, Florida, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Alabama. Not a bad list to pick from.

Here are Nester’s sophomore year highlights from Hudl:

(EDIT – embedding video clips from Hudl seems to not be as straight forward as I had hoped. I’m just including a link to the video for now)

For Huntington, junior Darnell Wright has blossomed not only into a standout among his peers in West Virginia, but one of the top ranked offensive lineman in the country. 247Sports has Wright as the nation’s No. 3 offensive tackle and the top recruit in West Virginia. At 6-6, 275 he’s a beast.

People took notice and now some of the top programs in the country have come calling. He got his first offers – Marshall and Louisville – on the same day last September with WVU jumping in a few days later. Things went cold during the season, but picked up quickly after. North Carolina offered, then Tennessee, then Florida, then Oklahoma, then Nebraska, then Virginia Tech, then Kentucky, then Michigan State, then Ohio State just last week.

 

As you can see in his sophomore highlight reel, he’s not bad on the defensive line either.

Stray observations:

  • I’m going to drop in on the West Virginia State University 7 on 7 today and will report back on what I see. Not entirely sure of the lineup, but the plan is to talk to as many teams as possible.
  • Cool stuff coming this week from Rick Ryan. Stay tuned.
  • Ryan Pritt is on vacation this week. When he returns the plan is for you to start seeing his name on some posts around here in the near future.

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