West Valley Linemen Nick Haviland One To Watch
By Coach Demian Walter; Eastern Washington Football Analyst for NWPR
I love offensive lineman. They are the heart and soul of a football team. To find a great offensive lineman you need to find someone who has the girth to forcefully move an opposing player out of the way for his running back and yet also must have the nimbleness to move laterally to keep an opposing player off his QB. He must have the smarts to know all blocking assignments and calls at the line of scrimmage when the defensive front is identified. Finally, an Offensive Lineman must play with a sense of nastiness and violence (within the rules of the game of course and between the lines of the field only).
Today I met for a Q&A session with an under the radar gem who fits the characteristics that I listed in the previous paragraph. Nick Haviland is a class of 2018 6’2” 300-pound Center who plays at West Valley High School in Yakima, WA. He is a throwback type of guy as he is a FOUR sport athlete (football, track, wrestling, and rugby). Nick was a First Team All-League selection at OL from the Big 9 Conference last year in his junior season. This is my first of hopefully a handful of articles on The Best Offensive Linemen east of the Cascade Mountains.
Off the field, Haviland is an animal in the weight room, recently recording max lifts of 565lb squat and 365lb bench press. Nick told me that his core beliefs about the weight room are simple, “if you want to be good, you have to be committed to the weight room.” You took the words right out of my mouth Nick. As we all know it is just as important to succeed in the classroom as it is on the field. This guy fully embraces that concept. Haviland said, “Academics is the most important thing to me”, his transcript is proof of that. He carries a 3.7 GPA (with AP classes and college level courses) and 1390 (two part) SAT score. No problem at all with this guy qualifying academically for most universities.
When I reviewed Nicks junior season highlight film, it is really evident that his work in the weight room translates directly to the football field as evidenced by the fact that he has 11 total plays on the highlight film and 10 of those 11 plays end up with him either bench pressing the defensive player on to their backsides or bull dozing the defensive player straight into the ground with ferocity. As Nick puts it, “I love to play mean on the field, even though I would like to consider myself a nice person off the field.” I love that perfect balance in a football player. It appears evident to me that Nicks main goal on each snap is to ultimately make sure the man he is blocking ends up flat on his back, no matter what. Just as important as the aggressive physical style Nick plays with is that he does a great job keeping his feet active throughout the play and keeps a great base. In pass protection, he has great lateral movement, something that he said he worked on with his own free time to excel in that area. In the run game, he stays on his blocks very well and has great strength to physically dominate the defensive players.
Nick said that one of his best attributes he brings to the game is that he finishes plays and plays to the whistle. Nick told a great story of how he is having to harness that recently, “when I was a freshman and sophomore I was not good at finishing plays, but then last season I really took pride in that. This summer during spring practices I got chewed out a few times because I played on the borderline of “through” the whistle a little bit too much. So, I am working on not crossing the line”. Most coaches would love to have a player that they must harness a little bit from playing past the whistle, we can always work on that and correct that but those players that do not have the inner pride to play to the whistle often we as coaches can’t work with those kinds of players.
On the recruiting side of things, Nick said that he has had the most consistent and serious interest from Carroll College. Some of the other colleges that have communicated with him are University of Montana, Montana State University, University of Wyoming, Central Washington University.
My hour-long meeting with Nick was an enjoyable time, full of heavy laughter and some serious discussions as well. This is a very well rounded, self-motivated, hardworking young man who is headed 100% in the right direction in life and in football. At the college level, all football players are obviously good but coaching staffs also want guys who they know will get the job done academically, as well as guys who will sacrifice and commit to do what they must do personally to improve as a player each year that they are on campus. Nick Haviland checks off both of those boxes and I believe he will be a great asset to a college football program and we wish him a great upcoming senior season.
I am on the hunt for the best offensive lineman in the Eastern Washington region. If there are any O-Lineman or any players on both sides of the ball and special teams who want an evaluation, please email me the link to hudl highlight film at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give it a look.
Here is a link to the hudl highlight film for Nick Haviland: