To some it might seem early but as players begin hitting lifting PR’s and getting in shape- the season has never quite ended.  The chase for a trip to Wheeling never ends, and we are taking Fridays in the current offseason to highlight the top five players returning per position in AAA and AA/A (combined).  Not on the list?  Good thing it’s not even preseason yet.  Prove us right or prove us wrong.


Without further ado…


Honorable Mentions

Tristen Bittner (Wheeling Park) 2019

Ryan Creech (Parkersburg) 2019

Jaden Wolfley (Morgantown) 2019


#5 Logan Osburn


School: Cabell Midland

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’4 / 285 lbs

Osborne stock rose throughout the back half of the season last year and is now peaking going into his senior year.  Overshadowed by several all-state lineman next to him last year, Osborne is our top rated center coming into to the 2018.  Possessing awesome size, he has flourished inside the run-happy Cabell Midland offense.  Agility is his biggest frame of work, but his role on the interior allows him to still be a shoe-in washer this fall.


#4 Max Howell


School: Huntington

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’4 / 265 lbs

Howell has been overlooked repeatedly, even by us.  Partnering an offense with the MSAC leading rusher and #2 player in the country might be to blame.  After watching Howell’s film, he is definitely a top five lineman coming in.  In other classes, probably #1.  His build is his best feature.  Strong longs that can also move.  He’s a devastating blocker off the ball and down the field.  A great talent that has picked several D1 offers thus far and will most likely gather more.


#3 Zach Williamson


School: Spring Valley

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’6 / 275 lbs

Williamson falls in the same boat as Howell as being overshadowed then catching fire in the recruitment game.  Up to over a handful of D1 offers including WVU, Williamson has elite size and potentially great mechanics.  Of the list, Williamson could be considered the most violent with his explosion and relentless drive.  Tagging him with #2 on the list and a returning star-studded backfield, and these Timberwolves might continue their dominant reign.


#2 Doug Nester


School: Spring Valley

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’7 / 315 lbs

It should be come as no surprise Nester comes in at two.  Many could argue he is #1.  Saying Nester is a grown man assumes grown men can do what he does.  Pushing 300, he might be the most athletic lineman on the list.  Group that in with long arms and that Spring Valley grit, it is no wonder he is going to play for the Buckeyes after high school.  He has one more year of domination to go and cement one of the most storied legacies in school history.


#1 Darnell Wright


School: Huntington

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’6 / 275 lbs

Wright has become a national commodity.  There isn’t one school in the entire nation that wouldn’t take him making one of , if not the, most recruited players in state history as some having him at #2 in the US.  His lankiness yet undeniable strength and agility give him elite potential on the next level.  For now, he is responsible for anchoring one of the most consistent cores in the state.  Wright is great to watch mostly due to his high motor that further increases his level of play.


Who did we miss?  Let us know!  We never shy away from people telling us we’re missing out on kids!  Our next Feature Five Friday will take on the top returning offensive lineman in AA/A (combined).  Let us know who should be in there!


  1. You have missed a few from cabell midland guard Levi Kessler,honorable mention msac as a junior,needs to be a little taller at 6 foot,plays with heart an works harder than some of your top 5 An also braided Simmons 6 4 hard working young man with. Great work ethic

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