Over the past couple of years we’ve illustrated how the bar has been raised in regard to Mountain State football recruiting.
And around noon on Saturday, it turned into happy hour for 2019 recruit Doug Nester of Spring Valley High.
That’s when he posted a message on Twitter saying “Very excited to announce that I have received an offer [from] the University of Alabama. #RollTide.” To the right of the announcement was a picture of Nester and his parents with another West Virginian: Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.
Understand that Nester didn’t follow the tweet with a bunch of sunglasses emojis or memes. He didn’t put forth MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” He didn’t say, “Damn, I am the MAN.”
The reason is Nester has been rated the nation’s No. 6 offensive tackle of his class by 247Sports and has many offers. Yet clearly an offer from Saban was special.
“It’s pretty big for Doug,” said Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess. “It’s pretty big for our program. You go down there, meet Nick Saban and he extends an offer to play football, it’s something.”
“He’s the man in all of West Virginia,” Nester said of Saban. “Or wherever he is.”
Don’t, however, go overboard on the glitter that’s sprinkled on Alabama. Nester is not. On Monday afternoon he tweeted out his “Top 5 favorites” of Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Florida, Alabama and WVU.
“Now,” he said, “I’ll just concentrate on those five schools. I’ll just focus on them.”
That’s the good news for in-state WVU, which is apparently trying to regain traction with Nester. The Mountaineers were the first school to offer the tackle and had an advantage in Ja’Juan Seider, whose son was a close friend of Nester’s in middle school. The bad news for WVU is Seider has since moved to Florida, which, you might notice, is one of the five finalists.
Every school, however, might have to beat out another contender. When discussing the recruiting process, Nester, 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, said the traveling was wearing on him, but is flattered “to have all these schools wanting you to play for them.”
He was asked the neatest part of the process and if he’d been star-struck to any degree.
“I’ve always been a big [Ohio State] Buckeye fan, so to meet Urban Meyer was crazy,” Nester said. “Just meeting all these coaches you see on TV, just to have them talking to you like a normal person is very surreal.”
The tackle has followed OSU to the point that he can’t stomach Buckeyes’ rival Michigan.
“Doug will not visit Michigan,” chuckled Dingess. “He won’t even mention it. They’ve called about 10 times. He won’t return their phone calls. He said if they offer he wouldn’t even tweet it out.”
“I don’t know,” Nester said. “I just can’t do it.”
No worries. Nester has had plenty of suitors. Dingess said offers have been put on the proverbial table by SEC schools Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss; ACC schools Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech; Big Ten schools Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska; Big 12 schools Oklahoma and WVU; as well as Marshall, Cincinnati and MAC schools.
“So the Alabama thing wasn’t out of the blue or anything,” Dingess said. “They gave me a call a couple months ago and said they wanted to see him in person and wondered if he
would come down there. They liked him a lot; they just wanted to put eyes on him. I guess he met all their measurables when he got down there [this past Friday].”
As I’ve written before, though, the mind-blower is Nester isn’t even the highest rated West Virginia offensive tackle of his class. According to 247, Huntington High’s Darnell Wright is the nation’s No. 3 OT.
“It’s crazy,” Nester said. “We live 10 or 15 minutes apart.”
Dingess said the pair has taken different recruiting paths.
“We don’t talk much,” Nester said. “I don’t consider us too much of a rivalry. It’s a competition I guess.”
Both, however, are winning. And there’s certainly more Mountain State football news to come. Spring Valley’s Owen Porter, a 2018 fullback/linebacker recruit, is visiting WVU on Thursday and his team is catching up Friday for a 7-on-7 tournament. Porter could very well commit to the Mountaineers over the weekend. Just this past weekend, Timberwolves tight end Jacob Cassidy committed to Marshall.
Plus, much is yet to be decided. Four-star 2018 defensive tackle Dante Stills of Fairmont Senior is still out there. There’s 2019 QB recruit Grant Wells of George Washington High and 2018 guard Will Anderson of St. Albans.
A fun time for these guys — and the Mountain State.
“Very exciting,” Nester said.