Another week and yet another member of the talented St. Clairsville senior class has announced he'll be playing football at the collegiate level.
The latest to join the five previously announced is Jay Gossett, who has announced he'll continue both his academic and athletic careers at Waynesburg University.
This past season, Gossett was a key contributor for the Red Devils' 14-1 state runner-up squad. He played at defensive end and tight end.
En route to earning the team's Most Improved Award and all Times Leader, Gossett recorded 53 solo tackles, 14 assists and five sacks. He also caught 8 balls for 98 yards and three touchdowns.
"Jay was the silent assassin for us," St. C. head coach Brett McLean said on several occassions this season. "He led the team in sacks, made big plays in big games and earned his nickname as 'big-play.'"
A three-year letterman for the Red Devils, Gossett finished with 11 sacks and a total of five touchdowns.
Gossett came up big several times during the Devils' post-season run, including during the regional final when he had several key sacks to thwart Johnstown drives in the second half.
"We were 10 points away from a perfect season, but it just wasn't meant to be," Gossett said. "One thing I'll remember about this season is how unselfish each and every player was. We also had the hardest working and most dedicated staff around."
Looking ahead to his career with the Yellow Jackets, Gossett has been told by his future coaches that he could be a candidate at either outside linebacker or as a "stand-up" defensive end.
Regardless of the position, there are three key factors that Gossett admits he must improve before then.
"I need to get bigger, faster and meaner," Gossett said.
Gossett believes the goals and constant competitiveness between the members of the Class of 2013 is what led to so much of their athletic success.
"We set high goals for our high school career," Gossett said. "We have pushed each other for the last six years to be our best in every sport. What I look at the banners hanging in the gym, I think our class did alright."
Along with football, Gossett has been a member of the basketball and track teams and is a consistent member of the St. C. Honor Roll. He was on the Devils' 4x2 team that qualified for the state meet last season. He was named Most Improved on the track squad in 2012.
Jay, who is the son of Paul and Kim Gossett, plans to major in marine biology.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org