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 Mention

Xavier Lopez (Robert C. Byrd)

Rhett White (Herbert Hoover)

Dalton Malcomb (North Marion)



#5 Will Hackney

Photo Credits: Charleston Gazette

School: Sissonville

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’1 / 190 lbs

Sissonville had a pretty great 2017 season thanks to some big-time performances by Will Hackney.  Hackney has been a consistently good passer and honorable playmaker.  He makes a lot of good decisions but can go on streaks of turnovers.  However, when Hackney has time and gets hot, few put up the numbers he does.  He has another year under his belt and will definitely be slinging a lot of tuddies for the Indians this year.



#4 Connor Neal

Photo Credits: Times West Virginian

School: Fairmont Senior

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’0 / 200 lbs

Connor Neal took over after a quarterback that had led his team to the state finals.  Neal, as a first-year starter, did the same thing including a 300+ yard performance in the title game.  Though he lost a valuable threat in Bryson Gilbert, he still has his favorite receiver in Antonio Parsons.  The Polar Bears will light up scoreboards as Neal has elite confidence and decision making with a good enough arm to slice it up.  Big things to come.



#3 Jacob Hartman


School: Petersburg

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’2 / 205 lbs

Hartman is one of the most physically intimidating quarterbacks in the state.  He’s tall, lengthy, and thick.  His numbers are shockingly impressive with seasons of 2,500+ yards passing and near 1,000 yards rushing.  He can outmuscle many defenders while also having a rocket arm.  Petersburg has been on the rise in recent times and that will come to a head this year with many weapons around Hartman.  Should be awesome to watch.



#2 Curtis McGhee III

Photo Credits: WV Metro News

School: Wheeling Central

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’2 / 180 lbs

A complete unknown to us even two-thirds of the way through 2017, McGhee made his mark in the playoffs.  On a red-hot Maroon Knight offense, McGhee displayed big-play ability.  Whether on the ground or passing, he could strike from anywhere at anytime.  He has great speed and ability alongside some good passing mechanics.  His creativity in making plays puts him in positions to destroy defenses.  A big reason Wheeling Central rolls in as the Single A favorite.



#1 Cason Payne

Photo Credits: The Point Pleasant Register

School: Point Pleasant

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’2 / 205 lbs

Payne remains the state’s best kept secret.  The lefty has size and athleticism.  His numbers are great both passing and rushing.  He has every charactersitic you want with good decision making, an incredibly strong arm, and respectable accuracy.  Payne can also pull it down and gain tough yards.  The Black Knights are in a great position to take AA by storm this year.



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 actually be Tuesday and we will take on the returning tight ends/fullback of the state!  Let us know who should be in there!

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