MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – If the WVU offensive line continues to perform at a high level, it could lose three of its starters to professional football.
Senior center Zach Frazier left his draft status up in the air Monday, and right tackle Doug Nester is on the final stretch of his career, but junior left tackle Wyatt Milum is trending towards prospect-level status every week.
Milum flipped from right tackle to left tackle before the 2022 season, and he has started 19-of-20 (missed Houston in Oct. 2023 with an eye injury) games since. His 36 knockdowns were the second-most on the WVU offensive line last season.
This fall, Athlon Sports placed him on the All-Big 12 Preseason Second Team.
Now two-thirds of the way through Milum’s season, WVU head coach Neal Brown and his staff voice their pleasure for the junior’s nearly every week. The 6-foot-6-inch, 310-pound West Virginia native has three Offensive Lineman of the Week awards and an Offensive Player of the Week nod from the coaching staff so far this season.
“He’s gotten way better at his hands,” offensive line coach Matt Moore said in August. “[With] his striking on his pass pro, and [with] his run game, [he is] just playing with better pad level, and just being super aggressive in the run game. He’s got some really, really nice footwork and explosion and power in his lower half, and we got to continue to work the upper half.”
WVU’s nine sacks-allowed are tied for the 15th-fewest in the FBS, and the 12th-fewest in the Power-Five conferences. Opponents recorded multiple sacks against WVU in just two of the team’s first eight games.
Per Pro Football Focus, Milum was the highest-graded WVU offensive lineman in three of the seven games he played to start the season. One of those games was against Penn State, a team that currently leads the Big Ten in sacks.
Against Duquesne, he was the highest-graded offensive player on the whole team with a grade of 85.6.
He suffered an eye injury against TCU and missed the loss at Houston, but in his first game back, Milum’s 90.6 pass-protection grade from PFF was the highest on the team.
“Basically, [it’s] our standard,” Milum said. “We don’t want our quarterback to get hit.”
For Milum and co., it’s easy protecting junior quarterback Garrett Greene. The upbeat attitude and constant positivity that exudes from his signal-caller rubs off on both the offensive line and the entire offensive unit.
“He really just gets us going,” Milum said. “You never see him down. That’s one of the great things about him. He’s always pushing us, encouraging us, so having him as a quarterback is great.”
In some ways, Milum is at the center – metaphorically – of the close-knit and high-performing WVU offensive line. He and right tackle Doug Nester played together at Spring Valley in high school, and they now anchor the edges of the WVU offensive line. More recently, WVU has used him as a chess piece by swinging him to the right side of the line in unbalanced formations.
Left tackle is arguably the most crucial position on the offensive line, and the coaches don’t appear to want anyone else occupying that spot if they don’t have to.
“He’s played really well,” Brown said. “I think he should be a first-team all-conference player.”