Filling The Trenches

West Virginia's latest verbal commitment has the athletic and technical skills to fit the demands of the Mountaineer offensive system, according to his high school head coach.

Justin Buttermore, who heads the Tri Valley High School football program in Dresden, Ohio, sees several qualities in lineman Ryan Spiker that make him a great prospect for West Virginia's spread offense.

"He's a great athlete," Buttermore said of the six foot, four inch, 295-pound lineman. "He has great hips, great hands and feet. He is big, but he can move. We're really fortunate to have him."

Hand positioning and technique are usually advanced skills that are under-taught at the high school level, but Buttermore said that his star lineman is already far along in his development in that area.

"He works hard on that, and his hand work is very good. He plays both guard and nose tackle for us, and his technique is really advanced."

Spiker's fit with West Virginia is also helped by the fact that Tri-Valley runs a spread offense similar to that of WVU. Mountaineer assistant coach Steve Dunlap, who was Spiker's primary recruiter, was thus able to see his skills displayed in a similar picture two what he will encounter in college, thus making it a bit easier to project his fit when he moves up a level following his senior season.

With offers from "12 or 13" BCS schools, Spiker was a prized target for a number of top tier institutions. Michigan State, North Carolina State, Cincinnati, Wake Forest and others were chasing Spiker, but after three visits to WVU the Mountaineers' call proved to be the most enticing.

"I think he handled the whole recruiting situation very well," Buttermore said. "He took his time, visited a number of schools, and then narrowed it down before making his decision. Going through the recruiting process can be tough, because it's something new, but he did a good job with it. He has been to West Virginia three times, and Steve Dunlap did a good job in recruiting him.

"I think it's a perfect fit," Buttermore continued. "He really felt comfortable there. He met a lot of people at West Virginia, and they are similar people to those around here in our community."

Buttermore was also complimentary of Dunlap, who is making his first inroads in Ohio with the recruitment of Spiker.

"I know he was at Marshall before, but he didn't recruit up here, so this was the first time I've met with him. He really did a good job in telling us about the merits of West Virginia."

A three-star prospect rated as the #48 guard in the country by, Spiker is just as impressive off the field as on.

"He's a very good kid that is stepping into a leadership role for us," Buttermore explained. "We had a number of good senior leaders last year, so he is moving up in that area. He's more of a lead by example type, but he works hard and earns respect. We are looking forward to a great senior season from him."

Spiker is the fourth offensive line commit in West Virginia's class, joining Pat Eger, Jordan Weingart and Cole Bowers as the foundation of future Mountaineer offensive fronts.

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