INSTITUTE, W.Va. — Ty Bartrum’s football career at Spring Valley High School wasn’t a lengthy one.
Yet the mark made by Bartrum, who will soon begin playing college football at Harvard, won’t soon be forgotten.
In addition to being named the 2021 Huff Award winner as the state’s top defensive player, Bartrum was the recipient of the Carl Lee Award, given to the state’s top defensive back. He was also captain of the Class AAA first-team all-state defense after finishing with nine interceptions and 77 tackles.
For all his success in his lone season at Spring Valley, Bartrum says his recruiting picked up while playing two seasons at Cherokee High School in New Jersey, which came after playing one year for his dad, former Marshall and NFL tight end Mike Bartrum, as a freshman at Meigs High School in Pomeroy, Ohio.
“When I moved to New Jersey and was there my sophomore and junior years, the recruitment kind of opened up for me,” Bartrum said. I never had a dream school. Recruitment kind of started with a couple MAC [Mid-American Conference] schools like Bowling Green and Toledo. Then the Ivy League started recruiting me and once you get one Ivy League offer, they all kind of come in. That opened my eyes and I started learning more.
“I got on some Zooms with guys from Harvard and once I went up there and met the coaches and some of the players, I realized it was definitely the spot for me. It got to a point where I was like, ‘this is a no brainer.’”
Bartrum was all over the east coast throughout his childhood before coming to Huntington when his father accepted a position on the Thundering Herd football staff in February 2021 as senior analyst/special assistant to the head coach.
Prior to his senior season, Bartrum, who was born in Philadelphia while his dad was playing for the Eagles, spent the majority of his upbringing in Ohio. He was in New Jersey for his sophomore and junior years after Mike Bartrum landed a job on the Eagles’ coaching staff, before joining one of the state’s top football programs at Spring Valley to conclude his prep career.
“It’s definitely hard and moving from your friends in high school is the hardest thing,” Bartrum said. “But all those different moves and transitions helped me so much because you have to meet all these new people and all these new cultures. Without that, I don’t know how good I’d be at football or as a person in a sense.”
Bartrum will represent SVHS for the final final time at noon Saturday as a member of the South Cardinals, who will take on the North Bears in the North-South Football Classic at South Charleston High School.
In addition to finishing his career with Timberwolves’ teammates Jace Caldwell and Ben Turner, Bartrum has the luxury of getting to play for Spring Valley head coach Brad Dingess, who holds that same title for the South, and Trevor Stacy, a Timberwolves’ assistant who will serve in the same capacity Saturday.
Although Bartrum will begin a college football career in the near future, he didn’t think twice about playing for the South after receiving the OK from the Crimson coaching staff.
“I actually called the coaches two to three months ago and said, ‘what do you think about this?’ They said, ‘go for it and have fun.’ It’s been great, especially with coach Dingess as a head coach,” Bartrum said.
Bartrum is soaking in his last high school experience and forming new friendships in the process.
“I had never met any of these guys in my life because I’m new here,” he said. “Some of these guys know each other. We’ve all bonded like no other. Every night, we’re in a meeting room in the dorm. We moved two couches in there and we’re all chopping it up. We watched the [NBA] finals game the other night. We’re having a great time.”
For all the expectations that come with being the son of a former professional player, one who played 13 seasons with four NFL teams, Bartrum says he’s never felt pressure to perform at a high level on the gridiron. Yet he has done just that, and it helped lead to a bevy of Division I offers — 14 in all — before a player known for his academic and athletic prowess settled on one of the most prestigious colleges in the world.
“People set the bar high, but it doesn’t matter what people think. I just try to learn from him as much as i can,” Bartrum said. “He hardly brings up a conversation about football. I bring it on him. He doesn’t want to push it on me. If I want to do something else, he’s supporting me in that. It’s never been, ‘you’re going to do this and do that.’ He’s the best — no doubt.”