MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Offensive linemen prefer to go unnoticed, but in this case Colton McKivitz is surely willing to make an exception.
West Virginia’s senior left tackle earned an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl, game organizers announced Thursday.
McKivitz took to Twitter to thank Senior Bowl organizers for the invitation.
Another step in achieving the ultimate goal! Thank you 🙏🏻 https://t.co/sbd4dCoCf6
— Colton McKivitz (@CMcKivitz) November 7, 2019
West Virginia coach Neal Brown tweeted for the first time since Aug. 25 to show his support.
“Proud of [Colton McKivitz]. Well deserved honor,” Brown wrote.
Few if any current players are held in higher regard inside the Milan Puskar Center than McKivitz, who has made 43 consecutive starts.
Redshirt freshman left guard James Gmiter calls McKivitz “Mother Duck” and the rest of the offensive line “The Ducklings.”
“When the new coaching staff came in, he kept us all in line,” Gmiter said. “He led by example. It was just him leading us.”
Offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Matt Moore said there is good reason for McKivitz to have the attention of NFL scouts.
“He’s definitely the best player on the field when you flip on our film offensively,” Moore said. “He’s a lot more aggressive than he was in the past. He plays a lot harder. He’s really developed his leadership skills.”
McKivitz, who redshirted as a freshman, contemplated entering last year’s NFL draft having already put four years into the program. Instead, he elected to play another season at West Virginia even though it meant coming back for a new coaching staff and a depleted roster. That’s especially true on the offensive line, where he’s surrounded by four first-year starters.
McKivitz has aided his draft stock by showing he has the versatility to protect the blind side, but most of the progress for the natural introvert has been as a leader.
“I’ve become more of a vocal guy this year because that was asked of me from Coach Brown and Coach Moore,” McKivitz said last week. “I harp on the younger guys a lot — every chance you get, hit someone. Learning that way, it’s kind of cool to see.”
The 2020 Senior Bowl will be held in Mobile, Ala. on Jan. 25. The game and week leading up to it is considered the top NFL scouting showcase outside of the draft combine — and perhaps even better given that it provides actual game situations for players to show off their skills.