Own Decision

Offensive lineman John Bassler is following in the footsteps of his older brother Chris, but his decision to attend West Virginia wasn't influenced by Chris' choice.

"Not at all," was John's answer when asked whether his older brother influenced his decision. "I knew some of the coaches and had been to a lot of games, but that didn't have any effect. It was purely my decision as to what was most comfortable for me."

In the end, John's decision was made as most of this sort – based on the people involved.

"It is just the kind of people the coaches are," he explained. "Coach Greg Frey, I really like him. And Mike Barwis, the strength coach, I am really confident with him. I like what they can do for me, and I feel like I can take advantage of that. As I was about ready to make up my mind, I couldn't think of any reason not to commit, so I went ahead."

One of the other players in his recruitment, WVU coach Bill Stewart, was also a major factor.

"Coach Stewart is easily one of the greatest human beings I have ever met. I was looking for good people during my recruitment, and he was always good to my brother. He was very good to work with, and I'm looking forward to being at West Virginia with him."

Obviously, it didn't hurt that John had been to West Virginia several times with his brother and parents during Chris' recruitment and career.

"My parents went down with me when I committed, and we have been down there as a family a lot. I talked with Chris a lot about the decision too. He has always been very supportive with me."

Chris will be moving into a different role with John this year, as he has completed his college degree and taken a coaching job at the Bassler's high school, Francis Scott Key. Thus, Chris will be John's coach for his final high school season.

"I am really looking forward to that," John said. "We have talked about that relationship, and how it will be different from the brother relationship. I am sure we can keep that under control, and keep it more like a coach and player than brothers on the field."

John, who plays right tackle on offense in high school, will get his first look at the same position in college. In addition to preparing for his senior season, he is also emphasizing work on his quickness and footwork in order to stay at that position.

"I do have to get stronger and adapt to the speed, but I think I have the athletic ability to play tackle in college," Bassler said. "I have to work on my quickness and be more aware of what defenders do so that I can react to it. I can handle taking the right steps and getting into good position."

Bassler, whose father is an agricultural engineer, plans to major in mathematics as an undergraduate. That could lead to a career in teaching, or perhaps branch off into the engineering field. Although he hasn't firmly decided what career to pursue, his focus on academics is certainly strong, and he has set several goals for his final year of scholastic play.

"I want to work on my GPA," said Bassler, who will have no trouble qualifying but still wants to improve his academic standing. "I want to enjoy my senior season all the way around. On the field, our team has had success in the past, and I want to continue that and be a part of it."

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