Mountainous Tackle Has Good Trip

West Virginia continues its search for offensive tackles in this year's recruiting class, and one of the bigger prospects in the region took in the Mountaineers' win over Western Michigan on Saturday.

Joe Pachuta (6-8, 295 lbs.) of John Glenn High School in New Concord, Ohio, is a mobile lineman who has excelled at pass blocking during his career. He has been working to improve his run blocking, but the quickness and footwork required to be a good pass protector should stand him in good stead in a zone blocking scheme – which explains West Virginia's interest in him.

"Everyone that is recruiting me is looking at me as a tackle," said Pachuta, who plays the all-important left tackle position for John Glenn. "I think I am a better pass blocker, right now, because I move my feet pretty well. But I have been working on my run blocking, and I think I have made some improvements there. My feet are good, but I want to keep working on my overall quickness. I need to stay low, too. I played high at times last year, so I will keep working on that."

Pachuta, whose team runs the wing T, sees some similarities in his team's run game and that of West Virginia.

"We pretty much run the ball," he said with a laugh. "The techniques and the steps [West Virginia] takes on their plays, we do too. They run a lot of things similar to what we run."

Pachuta enjoyed his first visit to West Virginia for a game, and saw a lot of reasons to like the Mountaineers.

"I liked the coaches. They were laid back, but they were all about business and getting the job done," Pachuta said after returning home from his visit. "I like that. That's the way I feel about the games.

"The stadium was really loud, and had great fan support. I like it too because it is only two hours away from my home. Location is very important to me – that's one of the things that will play heavily in my decision. I want my family to be able to see me play during college.

"The other thing that really caught my eye was the renovations and construction on campus. They are really building a lot of new things there. That was a little bit of surprise."

Pachuta, who plans to major in the business or finance field, currently holds offers from Maryland and Akron, and is getting mail "every day" from West Virginia, Michigan State, Purdue and North Carolina State. The Mountaineers are evaluating his film and could offer soon.

"West Virginia said they are impressed with my film. Coach Bruce Tall, my recruiting coordinator, is going to call me this month and talk about a timetable for an offer."

Pachuta, like many seniors, is playing with scholarships hanging in the balance. Does that add any pressure to games?

"Not really," he replied. "My goal is to focus on my senior year. I've been playing with my teammates for ten years – since the third grade. I know I have a tough decision coming up, but I just want to play and do the best I can. Our goal every year is to be in contention for the league title. We have made the playoffs, the last two years, and we want to make it three in a row. We are 1-1 right now. We are coming off a loss, but I think we can run the table, which would get us back to the playoffs."

Pachuta learned a lot about West Virginia a year ago from teammate Aaron Bates, who was recruited by the Mountaineers. Bates was leaning toward the Mountaineers, but changed his mind late in the process and went to Michigan State when the Spartans made a late offer.

"I followed the process through him last year," Pachuta said of the recruiting ins and outs. "He told me a lot about West Virginia and that he really liked it there."


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