AU One of Three Favorites For Weekend Visitor

A football recruit discusses Auburn and his other two favorite colleges and when he will be ready to make a decision on where he will sign.

Columbia, S.C.--A football prospect making an official visit to Auburn will have a familiar face to welcome him to the campus this weekend.

Aram Olson, a fullback from Irmo High School who says he is very interested in Auburn, will get a chance to talk to former high school teammate Leon Hart, a reserve sophomore offensive lineman for the Tigers.

"He went to Spring Valley High, too," notes Olson, who played at that school before transferring to Irmo as a junior. "He was a senior there when I was a sophomore. I am really good friends with him."

Another Auburn player, 2005 All-SEC senior linebacker Travis Williams, was also a star at Spring Valley High. Olson notes that he has never met Williams, but knows his reputation. "Everybody said he was probably the best linebacker to come through there."

As a junior at Irmo, Olson settled into one position, fullback, which he has played since then. "I never stayed at one position for more than two weeks," says Olson, who notes that he played tight end, linebacker and defensive end that season in addition to fullback.

"My senior year was actually my first being a full-time starter," Olson says. "I transferred schools after my sophomore year so they (Irmo) weren't really sure if I could play or not. I played about half time with another fullback and this year I played full time. I started my first varsity game as a sophomore."

Last weekend the fullback took an official visit to Ohio State and says he enjoyed the trip. "That was a good visit," he notes. "It was my first one. I really enjoyed myself the whole time there. You would expect the academic side of it to be kind of boring, but actually I learned a lot by sitting down that day when they explained to me everything that I would need to do in college. The visit was good."

This weekend's visit will be his third in the past month to the Auburn campus. He made an unofficial trip to Auburn to meet with assistant coach Eddie Gran and other AU coaches in December and also caught an Auburn practice on campus during an unofficial visit before the team traveled to Orlando for the Capital One Bowl.

"Coach Gran, the running backs coach, had just gotten my tape and told me he had seen it and he really wanted me to get down there so all of the coaches could meet and he could get an assessment about what type of person I was," Olson says of his first trip to AU.

"He got me down there and the first thing I noticed is how incredibly personable Coach (Tommy) Tuberville, Coach Gran and all of the other coaches are, even the weight-lifting coach, Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall). They are all really good people.

"They are very honest with you," he adds. "They don't try to embellish anything. They don't try to make their football program seem like anything it is not so when you get there you are saying, where is this thing they were talking about. They are really good people. They are easy to talk to. That is the most impressive thing to me now along with also having the incredible ability to coach their players up to a championship level.

"I haven't even got a hint of what campus is like," he says of Auburn. "I have been around there, but I have yet to see the things they are going to show us. I am sure I am going to be impressed by that."

"As far as the rest of the schools go, there is no way I can go wrong," he says of his top three choices that include FSU along with the Tigers and Buckeyes. "These three schools probably have the best programs in the nation and the best coaches in the nation. It is impossible to go wrong with the decision. My visit this weekend is probably going to put Auburn up there on how I think about them.

"Everything right now is set out pretty evenly on the table," adds the fullback, who is an honor student at Irmo High. "I am not leaning towards any school right now. Auburn can still get the initiative if they want to if they can impress me any more than they have, if that is even possible. That is pretty much how everything is going now."

Olson notes that he wasn't receiving recruiting attention until he sent out videos to colleges near the end of his senior season. He says his first offer came from East Carolina.

Aram Olson

Prior to that he went to a combine in Athens, Ga., and football camps at Maryland, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, South Carolina and Clemson. "Those schools haven't really shown interest, but I did that to try to get some attention," he says. "Nothing really happened between the (combine) until almost the end of the season, which was around the first of November."

The fullback got plenty of chances to show he can block this past season for Irmo, which finished with a 9-3 record. He ran for right at 400 yards and averaged seven yards per carry. "We ran the ball about 85 to 90 percent of the time," he says. "We were always in the ‘I' formation except when we were really far down and trying to manage the clock we would go to three wideouts. We had a fullback and a tailback in at least 75 to 80 percent of the time."

The strategy of sending out videos was successful additional offers began coming in after the one from the ECU Pirates. "I was a nobody after my junior year," Olson says. "As far as football went, nobody knew who I was outside of my school."

The fullback says that three official visits should be enough to allow him to make a choice. He had considered an offer to leave from Auburn and go to Texas A&M for a Monday visit, but decided not to take that trip.

He says his last visit is scheduled for next weekend to FSU. "Everybody knows who Bobby Bowden is," Olson says. "He is probably the most prestigious coach, not in just football but in sports, who is alive right now.

"He is a big reason why a lot of athletes want to go there. Not only that, despite their young team they have come around and had a really good season. They are kind of building right now and are going to have a good team down the road in years to come. Whoever goes there in this recruiting class is really going to have a good time winning football games."

Olson says he plans to decide his college destination well before the Feb. 1 national signing day.

"I am making my decision probably after the Florida State visit or probably after the Auburn visit, depending on how things go," he says. "If Auburn really impresses me, I could just commit right there on the spot. You never know."

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