Leadership Qualities

When team leaders are discussed, it's usually a quarterback, running back, or perhaps a star linebacker that lead off the conversation. However, in the case of West Virginia's latest verbal commitment, that profile doesn't fit the bill.

Offensive lineman Donny Barclay of Seneca Valley High School is "absolutely the leader on our team" according to head coach Ron Butschle, who has noticed his star player do everything he can to fill that role as his senior season looms.

"Since the last whistle blew last year, Donny has become both a vocal and a lead by example guy, " Butschle told BlueGoldNews.com. "He has never missed a workout for me. He's the type of kid that doesn't let the guys around him do anything less than their best. He is the kind of guy that I can tell what I need to have done, and I don't have to be in the room to follow it through. I know it will get done."

While many high school teams are led by the person who handles the ball the most, Seneca Valley's leader toils in the trenches without ever seeing the pigskin. That's not a problem for Butschle, who isn't concerned what spot his leaders come from. What he is concerned with is the effectiveness of the people in that role – something he believes he doesn't have to worry about with Barclay.

"We don't look at a particular position for leadership -- on our team it just happens naturally," he explained. "For Donny, it's been a couple of years coming. He was something of a leader as a junior, but he recognizes he had to fill that role fully this year as a senior, and he's been working hard at it since the end of the season. All you need to do is look at the kid and his character, and you can see what kind of a leader he is."

While Barclay motivates his teammates off the field, it's also his on-the-field performance that provides another side to his leadership qualities. In addition to his well-reported athletic ability, he also has a determination that shows itself on every play.

"One thing I like about him is that he finishes his plays," Butschle said. "We try to instill in our players that they have to play to the whistle. He does that. He finishes plays strongly. That's one reason why he will fit in with WVU's offense."

Barclay's excellent feet and nimble movement skills also made him an attractive target for the Mountaineer program, which impressed Butschle when he made his initial trip to Morgantown for the WVU coaches' clinic this spring.

"This is the first year I came down to Coach Rod's clinic, and I have to say that I was really impressed with the intensity and the way the kids are coached the second they walk onto the field," Butschle said. "Donny went down a couple of times during the spring and got the chance to watch Coach Trickett, and you want to talk about an intense guy. Donny is looking forward to that. He is looking forward to the challenges in college, and I think he will fly in that environment. The way [West Virginia's] program was run, I was really impressed."

With his size, Barclay will likely get his first look at tackle, as West Virginia is thin at that spot. Butschle believes his rising senior has the ability to play there.

"He is extremely athletic for someone who is six-feet four and 285 pounds. His footwork and quickness off the ball are outstanding. I don't think he would have any problem playing tackle, because he is so athletic and has long arms. I think any quarterback would feel comfortable having him on his back side. Of course, he will mature over next couple of years. He's still young -- he just turned 17 over the summer. He's put on about 20 pounds of muscle in the past year, and it has not affected his quickness at all."

While West Virginia is obviously glad to have Barclay on board early, the thought that follows many early verbals is that the player, having secured an offer and a spot in college, might not be as motivated to play as hard during his senior season. However, Butschle doesn't have one iota of concern about that potential problem.

"I'm not worried about that one little bit," Butschle said forcefully. "He and I have talked a lot during the recruiting process, and I had a pretty good idea he was going to make his decision early. He wanted to do it to so he could focus on us this year. Winning games is his number one priority. His career at WVU will be the most important thing to him after our last game this year. But he wants to win games most of all."

An emphasis on winning, great examples of leadership on and off the field, and excellent academics all make Barclay an outstanding start in the group of offensive linemen that the Mountaineers will sign to national letters of intent a little more than eight months from now. Just like his role at Seneca Valley, Barclay is the leader in this group as well.

NOTES

Butschle, who coached at Sto-Rox before moving to Seneca Valley, is most impressed with West Virginia's coaches. According to Butschle, they don't put on any airs when making their visits to high schools.

"I have known Coach Gibson (assistant coach Tony Gibson covers western Pennsylvania for WVU) for four years or so. When I was at Sto-Rox he was recruited a player of mine. The thing I like about him and the coaches there is that they are very down to earth. They don't talk to me as a lowly high school coach. They are easy to talk to. Coach Rod and Coach Gibson are part of a great program there."


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