"Coach Beatty kept coming after me," Spain said of one of the biggest reasons he chose to make an early commitment to West Virginia. "He was the guy who talked with me the most, kept seeing how I was doing in school."
Beatty, who has taken maximum advantage of his high school connections in Virginia, thus scored another early coup. Last year, he got commitments from Logan Heastie and Tajh Boyd in his area, and although Boyd eventually bailed out, that wasn't any reflection on Beatty's talents. He got onto Spain early, and his continued work resulted in an anchor for WVU's offensive line class for 2010.
Spain, a huge player (6-6, 345 lbs, 5.2) isn't just a big body. He is a mobile athlete who also plays basketball, baseball and puts the shot in track. As a junior, he had 64 pancake blocks and 50 knockdowns as an offensive lineman, and 32 tackles (six for losses) four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a defensive lineman. He's ticketed for a spot on the offensive line at West Virginia.
"Our high school (Petersburg) runs the ball more than it throws it, but I can both [run and pass block]," Spain said. "I want to keep working on my footwork, but I can run well now."
Spain, who held his own against Meadowbrook's Morgan Moses in a head to head matchup a year ago, said that he plays the other sports to "stay in shape and stay out of trouble". That outlook is part of a realization that came a year ago, when the light came on for him in terms of his potential, and what he needed to do in order to maximize it.
"My coaches started pushing me really hard," Spain said of the transformation, when he began taking his academics and athletic potential more seriously. "They stayed after me. I think I started to become a leader, and I have been working hard in practice every day."
Spain, who plans to major in sports management, took an unofficial visit to West Virginia for the Rutgers game last year. He listed the campus and the locker room as two things that stood out to him on that trip, and added one other factor that also was an important one.
"I loved the fans. That was great," he noted of the crowd on game day. "I didn't know anyone there before they started recruiting me, but I had watched them on television, and I liked the way Pat White played."
Spain plans to attend a Nike combine, and will also be a participant at West Virginia's football camps in June. His Petersburg team can be "pretty good", and he hopes to help them get to a spot in the state playoffs in his upcoming senior season.