Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
Ohio State landed a commitment from a massive road grader when Huntington, West Virginia, Spring Valley five-star offensive tackle Doug Nester committed to the Buckeyes just two weeks after his visit for Friday Night Lights.
Let's take a look at what Nester — the No. 36 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — brings to Columbus.
ON THE FIELD
For as reserved as he's been in interviews, the 6-foot-6, 295-pound Nester is as aggressive as any offensive linemen I've seen on tape. He keeps a low pad level and is able to make defenders on the line of scrimmage and at the second level look like rag dolls.
“Besides the obvious — the length and height that it takes to be an elite offensive lineman — one of his biggest strengths is that he's a really intelligent kid,” Spring Valley offensive line coach Brent Terry told Eleven Warriors. “He has a very good understand of concepts of what we're trying to do. He does a good job of working with and understanding the guys around him and really what we're trying to get accomplished.”
The Timberwolves deploy a run-heavy Wing-T offense, and rushed for a conference-leading 4,997 yards on their way to the state title game last season – the deepest run in school history. Nester, who played right guard but will move to right tackle with the departure of Tennessee three-star signee Riley Locklear, was named first-team all-state as a result.
“Traditionally, we put our best offensive lineman at right tackle,” Terry said. “We pull a lot, so we wanted to move Doug to that spot and build around him from there. He does really well at the point of attack, and we're going to run the ball his direction a lot — I don't think that's any secret. He's a devastating run blocker. When you give him an opportunity to block down on somebody, he's very good at that because of his strength and size.”
One area for improvement, which should not come as a surprise, is pass blocking. The Timberwolves throw the ball about 15 percent of the time — and that's probably a bit generous — so Nester must adjust to a more balanced attack at the next level.
“We don't throw the ball a lot, so consequently, we're not going to spend a lot of individual time on pass protection,” Terry said. “We do work on it, but that's probably something that he can get better at through repetition. Not that he's a bad pass blocker, we just don't do that as much as some other schools do.”
The Timberwolves also don't play the toughest competition on a weekly basis, though the Mountain State Athletic Conference is widely considered the best league in the state.
“I think that's fair,” Terry said. “We probably don't have as many top-level teams as some of the other states, and obviously we're not producing 20 to 25 Division I athletes a year. A lot of that has to do with population, but I will say we've had several really good football players come out of our conference in the last few years."
IN THE CLASS
Nester obviously becomes the first member of Ohio State's 2019 recruiting class, so his greatest impact will come from his ability to help the staff recruit from here on out. Living under three hours away from campus and just on the other side of the Ohio River, Nester will likely return to campus as many times as possible for games this fall in order to start building relationships with other rising juniors.
The Buckeyes are expected to take two or three offensive tackles in the Class of 2018, so it's truly too early to tell what the numbers will look like for the following cycle. The staff already holds a commitment from four-star Max Wray and will continue to chase five-star Jackson Carman through National Signing Day.
With current starting left tackle Jamarco Jones graduating and right tackle Isaiah Prince eligible to enter the NFL Draft next spring, it's certainly going to remain a position of need no matter of many tackles the staff signs this winter. Whether or not Nester sticks with tackle or shifts to guard will also depend on the need at the respective positions when he arrives on campus.
Raise your hand if you had thousands of strangers following you on social media when you were 15 years old. Did you have dozen camera phones shoved in your face when you went on college visits? Or what about pictures being taken of you while you conducted a job interview?
Sure that's what the wild world of recruiting has turned into, but not every prospect loves that limelight. As much can be said for Nester, who — as mentioned above — hasn't had a whole lot to say about the process.
In fact, his decision on Friday night speaks just as much about his desire to be a Buckeye as it does about wanting to put this all behind him. Especially considering he nearly made the call when he was on campus for a one-day camp last month.
“It’s not the best thing, but it’s kind of hard sometimes with all the traveling and everything,” Nester said with reporters circled around him outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in June, “but I’ll make it work.”
Now, Nester can just focus on school and the upcoming season. Which, in all honestly, is exactly how he likes it.