WHEELING - Believe it or not, college football season is but 75 days away.
That's good news for Ohio Valley fans who will no doubt be tuning in regularly to every game possible. And when we do, there will be a good chance we'll be able to follow the careers of several former Steubenville Big Red standouts who will be on television nearly every week.
When you play big-time football like they do in Steubenville, that's just one of many rewards for your hard work.
No matter what team you cheer on, it's hard not to get excited watching one of our own make it to the big time. In terms of Big Red, that includes the likes of Shaq Petteway, Dwight Macon, Najee Murray and Marcus Prather.
Macon will be a sophomore this season at Toledo and the former Steubenville all-stater completed 2 of 3 passes for 21 yards in limited action as the Rockets' third-string quarterback in 2011. But he was asked to move to receiver this season and is flourishing.
During Toledo's Blue and Gold Spring Game, Macon hauled in four passes for 114 yards including a 70-yard touchdown on the game's first play.
Petteway, a two-time All-Valley captain, is in his second season at WVU after registering eight total tackles in 2011 while playing the Spur safety. With the Mountaineers retooling their defense and playing a 3-4, 4-3 hybrid this season as they move to the Big 12, Petteway has been moved back to outside linebacker and is excelling. He laid a thunderous hit on Andrew Buie in the spring game.
Petteway is expected to back up Travis Garvin but see considerable playing time.
Murray went to Ohio State's Senior Advanced Camp last year and walked away with an offer, which he immediately accepted, after earning Defensive Back MVP honors. One of the hardest hitters the valley has seen in quite some time, Murray made 62 tackles, grabbed two interceptions and forced a pair of fumbles.
Murray was rated by one Internet site as the No. 7 recruit in Urban Meyer's first Buckeyes class and could see early action.
A safety for the majority of his career for Coach Reno Saccoccia at Steubenville, Murray could play cornerback at the collegiate level.
In Prather's one season as Big Red quarterback, he did plenty enough to attract the attention of recruiters. On his way to to garnering All-Valley Big School status, Prather completed 65 percent of his passes for nearly 1,900 yards and 20 touchdowns.
A preferred walkon for new coach Terry Bowden, Prather expects that he'll have a scholarship by January. Prather will get an up-close view of Macon when the Zeps travel to Toledo to close the regular season in a Nov. 20 game that will be featured on ESPN2.
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net