Wyatt Milum fills leadership role for West Virginia football

The West Virginia native looks to help reload after WVU loses potential NFL talent to graduation.
Wyatt Milum blocks against Kansas State.
Wyatt Milum blocks against Kansas State. / Peter G. Aiken/GettyImages

West Virginia senior Wyatt Milum has big shoes to fill.

Last season, the Mountaineers were led on the offensive line by top NFL Draft center prospect Zach Frazier and fellow pro prospect Doug Nester. Now, with both off to future careers at professional level, Milum will be expected to fill a leadership role on the line as a multi-year starting offensive tackle.

”So Wyatt is really starting to come out of his shell,” offensive line coach Matt Moore said recently. “He's always been a real shy, humble, unassuming kid. He's really starting to come out of his shell this off-season with Frazier and Doug leaving, because Doug was kind of the mouthpiece, and Frazier was kind of the, ‘hey look what he's doing’ guy. Now, Wyatt has learned from both of them to where he's doing a little bit of both now.”

“I'm vocal when I have to be, but I'd say vocal is not really my leadership style,” Milum said when asked of his leadership role. “I like to lead by example…if people need help, I'm always there for them. When I need to be vocal, I can be vocal.”

Milum has gone through a similar scenario before, however. He actually had to fill a leadership role for Nester once prior in their careers. The pair played together in high school at Spring Valley (WV), where Milum stepped up as a junior on the line after Nester graduated.

“Me and Doug have -- I love Doug,” Milum said. “But yeah, me and Doug always used to have a good connection when we were playing together. Hopefully one day we get to play again together.”

According to Moore, Milum certainly has brought the correct attitude to fill the void of two NFL prospects this off-season.

“Wyatt gets here before six am on practice days, two hours before he has to, and gets his body ready,” Moore said. “The other guys see him doing that and that is how you build that culture.”

Moore also noted that Milum and fellow veterans on the offensive line have matched the void left by Frazier in the strength and conditioning aspect of their training as well.

Wyatt Milum and [Brandon] Yates and [Nick} Malone and {Ja’Quay] Hubbard are doing a really good job stepping up and have had a great off-season,” Moore said. “They have really set the standard in the weight room like we did before with Frazier.”

Another reason why Milum has felt it easier to slide into the role is watching those before him. Following the model set by Fraizer and Nester has proven priceless for Milum as he learns the ropes of leading a locker room and playing at an elite level on the offensive line.

“Talking about Doug, I grew up with Doug, I played with Doug in high school my sophomore year,” Milum said. “Then coming here, and having [Frazier] and Doug since I was a freshman. They helped me grow as a player, I really competed with them, and they taught me a lot about the game, and stuff like that.”