Since he backed off his early signing and spring enrollment Dec. 5, Doug Nester’s status with Ohio State was in speculation for two months.
On the morning of National Signing Day, Nester’s future became concrete.
The four-star offensive guard committed to the Buckeyes since Aug. 5, 2017, told the Huntington (W.Va.) Herald-Dispatch that he had flipped his pledge to Virginia Tech ahead of his Wednesday ceremony at 5 p.m.
“I love it there,” Nester said. “It’s almost like a small little Huntington away from all the bad stuff. It’s a great place to live and there’s a really great group of guys coming in. I just feel like they work hard and know what to do.
BIG BOY ALERT 💪
Welcome aboard, @Freshie74
— Virginia Tech Football (@VT_Football) February 6, 2019
The 6-6 1/2, 305-pounder from Huntington (W.Va.) Spring Valley’s recruitment is one of the wilder rides college football in Columbus has seen.
Among the 23 offers he accumulated throughout his process, Nester landed a scholarship March 9, 2017, from Ohio State after an unofficial visit to campus Jan. 28, 2017, for its Junior Day.
Nester trimmed his list down to five — the Buckeyes, Hokies, Alabama, Florida and West Virginia — top choices June 19, 2017, before he announced in favor of OSU that August.
Nester became Ohio State’s first addition to the 2019 recruiting class and never seemed to waver in the spring of 2018 despite offers from Georgia (Jan. 22), Penn State (Feb. 14) and Oregon (Feb. 20). He made multiple two-hour drives up from Huntington to Columbus, counting down the days until his spring of 2019 arrival for early enrollment, which had already been mapped out.
When whispers of then-head coach Urban Meyer‘s departure from the Buckeyes popped up, Nester continued to take game-day visits but began looking elsewhere with trips to see VT and the Nittany Lions in action on two separate weekends. OSU announced Dec. 4 that offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ryan Day would replace Meyer, who was retiring, and Nester shared his plans to reconsider all options as he delayed signing early Dec. 19.
Throughout December and January, Nester returned to Ohio State twice for a pair of official visits — Dec. 7-9 and Jan. 18-20 — where he reconnected with his fellow future Buckeyes and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, a key cog in the offensive guard’s original pledge, who was eventually retained officially Jan. 23.
Nester unofficially visited PSU the weekend of Dec. 14-16 and returned to Happy Valley for an official visit Jan. 25-27 as OSU’s main competitor appeared to be its Big Ten opposition, but Virginia Tech earned an official visit him Feb. 1-3 and made the most of its last shot. Nester is the 247Sports composite’s No. 106 overall prospect, No. 6 offensive guard and No. 2 player in West Virginia.
“Ohio State is always the best of the best and they continue to get great talent and great guys, but it’s a big city and I don’t know if I would fit in well there,” Nester said. “Penn State is a great place — a small kind of town that is a city built around its campus. The town life is great and the guys are great, but it’s a little too far. I feel like Virginia Tech is that happy medium. It’s three hours away and only an hour away from my sisters.”