With the end of the prep football regular season approaching, here is a list of players that I wish I could see play one more time.
n Robert Alexander: The former South Charleston running back was football royalty in the mid-1970s and played at WVU and with the Los Angeles Rams.
n Denny Ballard: He played in state championship games at DuPont in 1976 and 1978 and was a heavily recruited as a tight end before signing at Pitt.
n Mike Barber: He became a College Football Hall of Famer at Marshall and an NFL receiver with the 49ers and Bengals, but before that he was a fun-to-watch quarterback at Winfield.
n Walter Easley: He led Stonewall Jackson to the 1974 AAA state championship, played at WVU, scored the first touchdown in “new” Mountaineer Field and won a Super Bowl with San Francisco in 1982.
n Jack Eastwood and Steve Thornton: These guys were fun to watch at Nitro. Coached by Jon Loftis, Nitro was 9-1 in 1971. Thornton was a veer QB who signed with Marshall and Eastwood was an all-around athlete who went on to play at WVU.
n Claude Geiger: He won Class AAA state titles with East Bank in 1971 and 1973 before signing with Michigan State.
n Ricky Hurt: He never lost a game as a QB at Charleston High, leading his team to AAA state titles in 1968, 1969 and 1970. He won the Kennedy Award in 1970.
n Carl Lee: I don’t think we appreciated how good he was in the late 1970s at South Charleston. He was a great player on bad teams at Marshall and was a Pro Bowl player with the Minnesota Vikings.
n Jim Lett: He is considered by many the best athlete to come out of Putnam County when he was at Winfield in the late 1960s. He went on to play football and baseball at Kentucky.
n Randy Moss: He is simply the best high school football player and athlete our state has ever seen. The former DuPont and Marshall star is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
n Ryan Switzer: He created a buzz when he touched the ball with George Washington and did the same thing in college at North Carolina. He is currently in the NFL with the Steelers.
n Mike Tyson: He looked like an NFL running back when he played at Charleston High in 1970. He had size and world-class speed. He played at Iowa State as a freshman and then gave up football.
n Melvin Walker: He was a local celebrity when he played at Dunbar in 1965-66, leading the Bulldogs to the AAA state title game as a QB in 1965 and led them to a AAA state championship in basketball in 1966. He went on to play at Wisconsin where he suffered a leg injury and had his leg amputated. He is one of the few athletes mentioned in the same conversation with Randy Moss.
n Danny Williams: He was the best high school option QB our state had ever seen when he played at DuPont from 1971-73. He won two Kennedy Awards and became a Rhodes Scholar. He played for Bobby Bowden on the 1975 Peach Bowl team at WVU.