Ratliff ready to go

Gilmer County grad missed last fall with injury

Photo courtesy of Glenville State College Glenville State College senior Austin Ratliff returns for the Pioneers after missing last season with an injury.

GLENVILLE — Absolutely.

That was the response given by Glenville State College’s Austin Ratliff when asked if he was ready to get back on the gridiron for his senior campaign.

A year ago, Ratliff was coming off a rather productive junior season in 2017 for the Pioneers as a wideout and sometimes tailback. Aside from a 94-yard touchdown run in front of the home crowd at Morris Stadium versus Concord, the former Gilmer County all-state standout finished the year with 50 catches for 507 yards and two scores.

“Not playing last year kind of was a bummer so I’m really getting after it this summer,” said the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder. “It was the week before our first game and our last scrimmage of the year. I jumped up, caught a pass, fell down and I was like ‘man, my shoulder kind of hurts a little bit’ and I went to the sideline and didn’t play the rest of the day.

“I started to rehab it because we were playing UVa-Wise a week later and I was thinking this isn’t getting any better. I went and got an X-ray done and found out I had a broken scapula. I’ve never even heard of somebody breaking their shoulder blade. You know, it happens I guess.”

With the injury long behind him and first-year head coach Mike Kellar leading the way, Ratliff is excited about his final year with the G-men.

“I really like coach Kellar, honestly,” he said. “I mean you look at his background and where he’s been at and he’s been pretty successful. The team and everyone has bonded with him and it’s gone really well.

“I think this year is going to be a pretty good year if we get some of the guys I think we got coming and we’re bringing back almost everybody.”

Always wanting to do whatever he can for the team, Ratliff is more than happy to play on special teams or wherever the coaching staff needs him.

“I’m trying to get in on defense every once in a while, but we’ll see if they let me,” quipped Ratliff, who is set to graduate this spring with his degree in athletic conditioning and coaching.

Despite having an offer to walk-on at West Virginia University after high school, Ratliff decided to stay close to home and it’s something he’s not regretted.

“I’ve really enjoyed it and I can’t complain,” said the ex-Titan. “I’ve been able to stay at my house all five years. My mom making me dinner and sleeping in my own bed and I can still get out and have that college life at the same time. All-in-all, it’s been a really good experience and I’m happy with the decision I’ve made.”

After graduation, Ratliff said he wouldn’t mind finding a home on a college coaching staff. If that doesn’t happen, “I’m probably going to go get a job out on the pipeline honestly.”

Even though the G-men were picked to finish seventh in the Mountain East Conference, Ratliff and his teammates have other plans.

“We lost a few starters, but I think we can fill those spots,” he said. “If we get things clicking early on in fall camp, you never know.”

Contact Jay W. Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com