Nester shines in U.S. Army All-American Bowl

January 8, 2019

HUNTINGTON — Spring Valley High School standout offensive lineman Doug Nester had cemented himself as one of the top Class of 2019 college prospects before being chosen to play in Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

After his performance in Saturday’s all-star game in the Alamodome, he re-asserted his stance among the elite unsigned offensive line prospects for National Signing Day in February.

The 6-foot-7, 315-pound prospect is softly committed to Ohio State, but teams such as Penn State, Virginia Tech and Georgia are hot on his trail. He showed why with several powerful blocks and a solid week growing in pass protection while helping the East to an easy 48-14 win on Saturday.

“He played really well,” said Spring Valley head coach Brad Dingess, who was at the contest. “He picked up a couple pancakes (blocks) and in pass pro he didn’t give up anything and (the defense) did a lot of stunts. For that stage and that level of talent, I thought he performed really well. They were very pleased with him there and he started. Every drive he was in on, they scored. That says something right there.”

For Nester, the performance was crucial to showcase his abilities because, other than individual combines, he doesn’t often get the chance to go head-to-head with elite-level competition on the national stage.

Even during the West Virginia high school season, when elite level competition was present, teams often didn’t match their best on Nester in an effort to try and gain an advantage with their best elsewhere, Dingess said.

Also, because of Spring Valley’s offensive scheme, all-star game scouts wanted to see Nester’s abilities in pass protection and how he would grow with coaching throughout the week.

“Really, the big question marks were, where he’s from West Virginia and the level of talent that we play, how was he going to perform against all these other guys in a game-like situation,” Dingess said. “You get in the combines and it is just one-on-one. It’s not game football and you sort through the pieces. In a real game, he did really well and he got to work on his pass sets a lot because we don’t do it much. He didn’t really see a great pass rush all year because teams tried to squeeze us where we run power and trap.”

One of the things Dingess said Nester was the level of nastiness he brings to the table once the lights go on for a game. On several occasions, Nester was seen finishing plays out and, when things got chippy, he was in the thick of it going toe-to-toe with the nation’s best.

The performance springboards Nester into the final month of his recruitment, which could see him stay committed to the Buckeyes or land with another of the schools that he schedules to visit. It is likely Penn State will receive one of those visits and Virginia Tech and Georgia are also schools who could see him make a trip to campus to learn about their program.

With Nester and Huntington High’s Darnell Wright being the top-rated unsigned offensive linemen for the Class of 2019 left prior to February’s National Signing Day, Dingess said the Tri-State will be buzzing with championship-caliber FBS coaches trying to lure the two prospects to their programs over the next few weeks.

“That’s going to happen when you’ve got two Top 100 kids and two Top 20 linemen in the nation unsigned,” Dingess said. “I think they are the two highest-ranked linemen who aren’t signed yet, so that’s crazy. It’s just crazy.”

National Signing Day is Feb. 6 — less than one month away.

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