Lakewood St. Edward DB Nate Oliver was the first commitment to Ohio State in the class of 2008 and he is set to participate in the 62nd Annual North-South Classic tonight.
Steve Helwagen caught up with him for more on the game.
Lakewood St. Edward defensive back Nate Oliver is among four Ohio State signees who will be on display in Saturday’s Ohio North-South Classic Saturday at Crew Stadium (7 p.m., ONN).
The 6-1, 205-pound Oliver will be joined by Cleveland Glenville linebacker Jermale Hines on the North squad.West Chester Lakota West defensive end Solomon Thomas are on the South team.
“I’m really excited to play in this game,” Oliver said. “It will be cool to play against Rocco and play against Solomon. We’ve been talking about it all year. It’s going to be really fun.”
Oliver said there has been some trash talk about which part of the state produces the best teams and players.
“Rocco and Solomon talked about how the South has won the state championships, but I say everybody knows that the North produces the best athletes,” Oliver said. “Everybody here is a good athlete, so it’s going to be a great game.
“There is a lot of competition here and a lot of good guys here. I want to show Columbus what I can do.”
Oliver was the first member of Ohio State’s 2007 football recruiting class. He committed to the Buckeyes nearly a year-and-a-half ago on Feb. 1, 2006. But after this game tonight is complete, he will move into his OSU dorm and enroll in classes. The start of his college career is right around the corner.
“It’s been a while,” Oliver said. “I just can’t wait now that it’s coming. It’s going to be a dream come true. I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life. For it to be here now, it’s really exciting.
“I’ll be there on Sunday for orientation and then Monday is my first class. I think I am ready. I know you’ve got to work hard. It’s going to be worth it.”
Ohio State’s secondary is flush with impressive athletes. Some of the key names at safety include junior Jamario O’Neal and sophomores Anderson Russell and Kurt Coleman. But Oliver is hopeful he can make his mark this fall.
“I would like to go in and try to earn some time as a backup,” he said. “But right now, I think I may fit in better on special teams. Maybe I could be on the kickoff team or the punt team. We’ll see. I’ll just go in wherever I can.”
Oliver told reporters earlier this week he figures to wear No. 14 at Ohio State. Corner Antonio Smith vacated that number this past year.
“I originally wanted 13, but Andre Amos has it,” Oliver said. “I was talking with the coaches and Antonio Smith told them he wanted to see 14 stay with an Ohio DB, so that’s why I took it.”
Oliver talked about what drew him to Ohio State.
“At Ohio State, it’s not all about football,” Oliver said. “It’s about the person. Before they ask about football or anything else, they ask me how I’m doing and how are my grades and how is my family. I liked that.”
Here are video highlights of Thomas in action from ScoutingOhio.com:
More On The Game
The Ohio North-South Classic is in its 62nd year. It is the nation’s longest continuously running high school football all-star game.
The game will again be played in Columbus Crew Stadium, where the game has been played since 2001. The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission and Columbus Crew Stadium worked together to move the Ohio North-South Classic to Columbus in 2001 after it was held in Northeast Ohio from 1977 to 2000. Columbus-based Grange Insurance extended a title sponsorship agreement in 2005 that will keep the Ohio North-South Classic in Columbus at least through 2007.
The game will feature 29 Division I-A signees, including 12 headed to Big Ten schools.
Tickets are available for $10 by calling Crew Stadium at (614) 447-CREW.
ONN will televise the game live at 7 p.m. ONN will preview the game with an edition of Sports Site at 6:30 p.m.