If redshirt senior Colton McKivitz gets his wish, this won’t be his final season of football.
West Virginia’s new left tackle has big shoes as a redshirt senior, but he knows another successful season could take him to the NFL — a level every player wants to reach.
“No player I’ve ever met would want to sit there and say, ‘I don’t want to play anymore,” said McKivitz at Big 12 Football Media Days.
The native of Jacobsburg, Ohio went from playing in front of just a couple hundred fans on Friday nights at Union Local High School to playing in front of thousands on Saturdays at Milan Puskar Stadium. This season, he will be West Virginia’s most experienced offensive lineman and one of the team’s most veteran players overall.
That experience has led to bigger expectations and a revised role: McKivitz will anchor the offensive line at left tackle this season, moving from right tackle to replace Yodny Cajuste, the Patriots’ third-round draft pick.
“I would have never thought it would have gone this far, coming from a small town,” said McKivitz. “I think [fellow offensive lineman] Josh [Sills] is gonna be on that same journey, he’s gonna have that decision coming up. So I think sometimes you’ve got to step back and look, but you’ve also got to keep that focus to keep going.”
Left tackle is a position McKivitz has only played a handful of times before out of necessity, but he wants to follow a path forged by Cajuste. McKivitz will match up with the top pass rushers in the Big 12 this season, and if he succeeds, it’ll lead to more victories for WVU, and a better shot at making it to the next level.
“Me and Yodny are pretty close,” said McKivitz. “We usually text back and forth every once in a while, and I know last year we were working on techniques, learning from each other and what he did, just trying to emulate his pass [protection], the speed off it, how fluid he was with it. Just trying to emulate that and using different techniques he used.”