McKivitz Takes Youngsters Under Wing In Third Year On Campus
By Brian McCracken
It was just two years ago that Colton McKivitz, a tall, lanky former basketball player, arrived on West Virginia University’s campus.
At 6’7 McKivitz had always towered over opponents on both the football field and the hardwood, but becoming a full fledged Division I offensive lineman was going be a challenge. After his first week of summer workouts, it became clear just how daunting the task was going to be.
“The first week I got here it was pretty tough getting up at five, working out at six and then eating lunch in the weight room,” remembered McKivitz. “There was a lot of ice in the afternoons and I wondered if I made the right choice. Looking back on it I know I did.”
McKivitz, like most collegiate offensive lineman, redshirted in his freshman season and spent his share of long nights in the weight room trying to add some much needed muscle to his frame. While Mike Joseph’s program certainly helped him get the look of a Division I tackle, it was the example set by upperclassmen that enabled him to step into a starting role during his first year of eligibility.
The offensive tackle’s rise has been well documented, as he filled in for an injured Yodny Cajuste and dominated Missouri defensive end Charles Harris in the season’s opener. From game one on, McKivitz was a stalwart along the offensive line and didn’t relinquish his starting position for the remainder of the season.
Now, in his redshirt sophomore season, McKivitz is one of Joe Wickline’s most experienced linemen, and by default he has seemingly become a role model for younger and inexperienced players over night. Although there aren’t a ton of new faces (West Virginia only signed three offensive linemen in the 2017 class), he is still taking players under his wing and providing a blueprint for how to become a successful player.
“I tell them to trust the process. It’s going to take a year to build that confidence and your body to get to where you can play consistently. Last year I was finally there to where I could play a full year. Now I tell them to get in the film room, study and then get with the older guys and we’ll show them the right technique, drills and footwork.”
McKivitz figures to be a day one starter regardless of fall camp, but that hasn’t slowed his work. This summer he has made a concerted effort to stay on campus and not miss any voluntary workouts over the summer, something that should pay major dividends in the fall.
“Seeing it now and being a starter, you start to wonder what extra you can do that will make you better and push you over that edge.”
If West Virginia’s new crop of linemen can follow in his path, the Mountaineers should be sitting pretty up front for years to come.