So, just how versatile is Parkersburg senior Bryson Singer?
Well, consider that he led the Mountain State Athletic Conference in rushing last season with 1,235 yards ... as a quarterback. Oh, and he also caught an 85-yard touchdown pass against Jefferson.
Yes, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior might be one of the most multifaceted players in West Virginia, and Big Reds coach Mike Byus seems determined to find out just how many positions Singer can play this season.
“He’s very versatile,” Byus said. “We’re going to play him everywhere, provided he’s healthy. Bryson’s going to play defense, Bryson’s going to play different positions offensively. You don’t actually have to put him at running back because when he’s a quarterback, he’s basically a running back from the quarterback position.”
Singer averaged better than 154 rushing yards per game as a junior and also threw for 687 yards and 11 touchdowns as Parkersburg went 6-2 and earned the No. 8 seed for the Class AAA playoffs. However, due to Wood County’s COVID-19 status that week, the Big Reds weren’t able to play their first-round game against Spring Mills and their season ended that way.
It’s not like Singer suddenly turned into a Swiss Army knife a year ago. Even as a sophomore, he flashed his all-around skills, rushing for 1,342 yards and seven TDs and passing for 1,311 yards and 16 scores. That’s 241 yards of total offense per game.
But Byus appears more intent on using Singer all over the field this season, especially since promising sophomore David Parsons figures to get some run at quarterback.
“I’ve been hearing, ‘Put him at running back,’ but you know teams set their defenses to running backs,” Byus said. “They don’t necessarily count on the quarterback to run, but now with him they do at this point. Having him there as a dual threat [at quarterback], it’s just different than sticking him at running back. And he’s a heck of a receiver — great hands.
“He can play outside linebacker and can play inside linebacker, actually, if we wanted him to. He can play safety — strong or free. He’s just so versatile, and talented in a lot of different areas. We took him to several camps and he played corner some since he’s long and rangy. He covered everybody they threw at him just because of his length.”
Big Reds track coach Rod O’Donnell had the same experience with Singer competing on his squad, which won the AAA state title in June — Singer can do so many things that O’Donnell wasn’t sure exactly which events Singer should enter.
“I think that’s been part of the recruiting process as well,” Byus said of college football programs taking a look at Singer. “They’re not sure where they want to use him, so I think it’s actually slowed down the recruiting a little bit.
“And we haven’t been able to train him in about a month now with some nagging injuries, like his hamstring. We’re just hoping he gets healthy so we can utilize the 100 percent Bryson Singer. A healthy Bryson Singer will really help us a bunch, I can tell you that.”
Moving Singer around, and not relying on him to take every snap at quarterback, will allow Byus to employ him more on defense. Typically, Byus doesn’t like to use his starting QB on defense, a move followed by many Class AAA coaches. Last year, Singer had 13 total tackles and one interception in eight games.
“We don’t normally do that,” Byus said. “Maybe in spots. This year, we’ve got a young man [Parsons] who does a great job swinging it around, so that’s why we’re going to use Bryson some at wideout, and we’ll utilize his talents in different ways and see how that progresses.”