Earning Notice

The brother of a former WVU footballer is beginning to earn notice in his own right.

Offensive lineman John Bassler of Francis Scott Key H.S. in Union Bridge, Md., made a visit to West Virginia's Junior Day on Mar. 3. It was a familiar trek for Bassler, whose older brother Chris was a member of the Mountaineer team for two years.

"The last time I was there was in 2005," said John, who accompanied his older brother on several trips to West Virginia during Chris' recruiting process. "They are doing a lot of facilities improvements, and there is a lot of new stuff since the last time I was there. I know they are renovating all the academic areas, and they have some new coaches too."

Bassler, who plays both offensive and defensive tackle, is, like his older brother, being recruited on the offensive side of the ball.

"I met the new offensive line coach, Greg Frey, and he seemed like a very nice guy. He knows what he is doing. He seems very excited about coming in and helping West Virginia keep it going."

Bassler (6-4 1.2, 285 lbs., 5.4) has good quickness, and possesses the same quick feet that made older brother Chris a prized prospect. However, John certainly isn't resting on any of the accolades he has earned to date, or riding Chris' coattails. In fact, it's just the opposite. It's tough to get the rising senior to identify anything that, in his opinion, he does well.

"I guess my strength is one of my advantages, but there are a lot of things I am still working on. I haven't figured out what I am good at yet. I am just trying to eliminate weaknesses. I am trying to concentrate on becoming a more complete player. I am working on my speed and agility, and trying to get myself physically better. And as a senior, I want to work on my leadership."

Such an attitude is rare from any high schooler, let alone one that hasn't started his senior season yet, but even the briefest of interviews reveals Bassler to be a thoughtful person that is striving to improve himself. That's not limited to on the field endeavors, either.

"I think that [my attitude] is to put myself in the best position no matter what, whether it's football, academics, or keeping in shape," Bassler noted. "I just keep looking for all of those things that I need to improve on."

After missing some games as a sophomore, Bassler was a bit under the radar going into his junior season, but his performance on the field has him making up ground in a hurry. After earning all-conference and all-county honors in 2006, he will in all likelihood attract a number of offers this year. West Virginia and Maryland are the first two schools to recognize his potential, and he has visited both. Those will likely be the first of many for the hardworking lineman.


Chris Bassler decided to give up football to concentrate on his schoolwork, and will graduate this spring from WVU, according to John. He has been a big help in the recruiting process.

"He has been a big help in talking about the recruiting process. About all things, really," said John of his older brother. "I talk with him about everything."

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Playing on "a run-oriented team with the ability to pass", Bassler is getting good experience in both phases of offensive line play. He evinces the same type of attitude about positions and playing styles as he does toward his self-improvement: Whatever needs to be done, he will do.

"I really don't know what they need me to do, but I can fill a need at tackle, guard or center," he said. "I can do whatever they need me to do."

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