There is a common theme for teams that have won at the highest levels of high school football over the last decade. They may or may not have great talent on the outside but they are definitely dominant in the trenches.
Basha could be a player in division I in 2015 with the return of Ryan Kelley under center going into his junior season along with a big and very talented offensive line.
Joining the line as a starter next season is another player going into his junior season. The 6-5, 270 pound Jonathan Nathaniel is a presence with his great size and ability for his age and is looking to provide a big spark at the right tackle spot along side veterans Nick Silvestro, Anthony Personale and Colton Dunkle. Last season as a sophomore, he played mostly on junior varsity and was his first year playing on the offensive side of the ball.
“Honestly, I learned all kinds of stuff because I started high school as a defensive lineman,” said Nathaniel. “My buddies have been helping me out a lot so I’ve learned a lot about the offensive line, how to play and how to protect Ryan (Kelley).”
Nathaniel has really filled out going into his junior year preparing for his first varsity season ad has lathed onto his fellow o-line teammates to take his strength to the next level.
“We compete and we encourage each other,” explained Nathaniel. “I lift with Nick and Dunkle, Anthony lifts with some more of the defensive lineman so all together, we just try to compete and make each other better.”
Quarterback Ryan Kelley has had a monster off-season from a recruiting stand point with schools all over the nation offering him scholarships. Kelley’s success in 2015 will be aided by the play of his offensive line that could be one of their biggest strengths. Nathaniel knows that this is a crew protecting Kelley that could make the Basha Bears a serious threat offensively.
“We’ve been through so much together,” mentioned Nathaniel. “We all have good size and good talent and we’re all buddies so we all love each other. The offensive line, we are all one piece.”
Nathaniel is yet to receive his first offer from a school at the next level but once programs begin to see some varsity film to go with his already impressive size, he could end up being a hot commodity in the already very talented 2017 class in Arizona.