"He's A Football Player"

Martinsburg High School head football coach Dave Walker says that Mountaineer commitment Nate Sowers will be a competitor no matter where he is on the WVU roster.

"No matter where he plays, he's a football player," Walker said of senior quarterback Sowers, who has verbally committed to WVU. "It doesn't matter who they have at quarterback. Nate is a great QB, and he will compete hard."

Walker's comments come in response to analysis of the rather deep QB position at WVU. The Mountaineers have three scholarship underclassmen on this fall's roster and another at prep school. However, Sowers doesn't appear to be afraid of the challenge of competition, as he became WVU's fifth verbal commitment in the class of 2005.

"Nate is a great player and a better person," Walker continued. "He comes from an excellent family, and from an athletic background. He knows what it means to compete. He's a team captain for us this year."

Many Mountaineer fans believe that last year's commitment of All-America wide receiver Brandon Barrett might have had some influence on Sowers' decision, but Walker doesn't see that as the case.

"If Brandon's decision had any sort of influence, Nate never mentioned it to me," Walker said. "Of course, they were a very productive combination, but I think this was all Nate's decision. He's always liked WVU. He also got along well with Coach Rodriguez, and the offense that WVU runs suits him well too."

Walker has been in something of a unique situation for high school coaches in the Mountain State, having had two highly recruited athletes on his team the past two years. Add to that defensive lineman Steve Roach (who was not offered by WVU and wound up at Penn State), and Walker has a lot of experience with players and Division 1 offers.

Walker sees earlier commitments "becoming the norm" in high school, and thinks it's of beneift to his team.

"Brandon committed later, but both Steve and now Nate have committed early. I think it's good for Nate to get it out of the way," Walker said. "Brandon got some hassle as the year went on, with so many calls and people asking him what he wanted to do, that it was a bit of a distraction.

"If you know where you want to go and what you want to do, there's no need to wait," Walker summarized.

Sowers has done just that, and after a busy senior season where he will play quarterback, safety, and perhaps even punt for the Bulldogs, he'll be off to Morgantown to compete for the quarterback position.

Helping Sowers ease the transition will be assistant coach Bill Stewart, who was Sowers' primary recruiter and will be his position coach at WVU. Like many other coaches, Walker finds Stewart to be the genuine article.

"Coach Stewart did a great job recruiting Nate," Walker relates. "I've know him and the coaches at WVU for a while, and I trust them. They also trust me - we are honest with each other, and when we talk we know we can believe what the other is saying.

"Kids pick up on that too. They can tell when a coach cares for them, and it's plain that Bill cares about the players. He is a good person with a good heart, and he makes the kid know that he cares about them."

Walker knows that a number of people believe Martinsburg will drop off dramatically without Barrett on his team this year, but he thinks that Sowers will keep his team in the thick of the playoff picture.

"We don't have anyone like a Brandon Barrett at receiver, and we have a few holes to fill, but we have some good receivers that Nate can get the ball to," the coach said. "Nate will be an important player for us this year."

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