For Jared Staub, attending McDaniel College was a logical choice.
It was close enough to commute from Union Bridge for the Francis Scott Key High School graduate. The closer move to college made it easier on himself and his family — perhaps most importantly, it became a good fit academically as a kinesiology major and athletically as a football player.
Now the 6-foot, 290-pound senior left tackle is one of the most experienced members on the Green Terror football roster, having started 23 games over the past three seasons.
But it didn’t come easy.
A Times first-team all-county selection in 2013, Staub anchored FSK’s offensive line at center — paving the way for the Eagles’ Wing-T offensive attack. The deceptive but proven formation relied on a run-heavy scheme, but the introduction of a new system at McDaniel provided a learning curve.
“In high school … we ran the ball 90 percent of the time,” Staub said. “I didn’t know how to pass set, how to do any of that so … that was difficult.”
Staub said he entered freshman camp as the fourth-string center and was shuffled around all five positions on the offensive line before ending up as the back-up left tackle.
Fortunately for him, there was familiarity in an unfamiliar environment.
Staub had the guidance of McDaniel offensive line coach Chris Bassler — a 2003 FSK graduate and a standout lineman at West Virginia University, where he was part of the Mountaineers’ 2006 Sugar Bowl-winning team.
Bassler recruited Staub, and it was more than just a connection through their alma mater.
“He’s always been a strong guy and I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with how athletic he is,” Bassler said. “That’s one of the things, I think, that makes him special. He’s a good combination of size, toughness, athleticism, and smarts.”
Staub said Bassler spent one-on-one time with him, teaching him pass-pro techniques. And the once run-oriented center started to become a well-versed lineman.
Staub started three games during his freshman season — at left tackle, center and right tackle. The Green Terror didn’t win a single game, but Staub’s versatility proved key.
“I knew when he did that,” Bassler said, “he’d have a chance to be a pretty special player.”
Since then, Staub has started every game at left tackle the past two seasons — arguably the most important position on the offensive line — securing the blind side for the quarterback.
Described as a reserved individual, Staub has a “lunch pail mentality.” McDaniel coach Mike Dailey compared him to the vintage E.F. Hutton television commercials; when Staub talks, people listen.
“When I first met him, he’s very quiet and he’s all about business and you don’t know how to take that,” Dailey said. “But as you get to know him, you realize he’s a work ethic guy. He’s going to show up every day, he’s going to work hard, he’s going to be about business.”
Staub admitted he’s working on becoming a more vocal leader this season, but still feels leading by example is one of his biggest strengths.
He, along with senior lineman Paul Flagg will anchor a Green Terror offensive line that allowed a Centennial Conference-low 11 sacks last season.
After earning an All-Centennial Conference second-team selection in 2017, Staub said his goal is to become a first-team selection this year, something that’s certainly achievable in the eyes of the ones who’ve coached him.
“He has grown into being one of the best offensive linemen in this conference,” said Bassler.
Whatever the season may hold, Staub wants to make the most out of what could potentially be his final experience on the gridiron.
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“I’m coming out here and I’m going to work the hardest I can, do the best I can and enjoy myself,” Staub said. “This could be my last year of playing and that’s what I really want to focus on. Just having fun with the guys and being out here doing my best.”