This winter Oren Wilson left Teaneck High School in Teaneck, New Jersey where he was ranked the #23 football prospect in the state and presently lives in a dormitory room as a student at the Harmony School in Roselawn. The 6' 2"/ 270 pound defensive lineman hopes the change of scenery will help prepare him academically for fall enrollment into the University of Cincinnati. "I came here to get better and be closer to the college and to get my grades better."
Big athletes like Oren, who reported an estimated 4.8 forty yard dash, don't go unnoticed by college recruiters. "Minnesota, Michigan State, Rutgers and Kansas all made offers. There were some others, but I don't remember all of them." Despite the national interest, Oren made only one visit. "When I visited Cincinnati, they talked about academics, and I didn't go anywhere else."
At Teaneck High School, Oren played a number of positions including defensive end, defensive tackle and linebacker, but he said he has no preference. "I don't really care where I play. I just want to play." Actually, his statement isn't entirely true. After being asked about possibly switching to the offensive line, he replied, "Offensive line-I don't think so. I would not be interested in that. No thanks." I know of no plans to switch Oren to offense, but I wanted to have a little fun with him.
Oren identified his strengths as his knowledge of the game and the ability to play hard. Like many of the big guys moving from high school to college, Oren feels he'll have to get stronger to compete on the college level.
When asked about his recent academic progress, Oren reported, "At this school I'm getting A's and B's. I took the SAT and got an 840." The sliding NCAA scale for eligibility indicates that Oren would need only a 2.45 GPA including his core classes to be academically eligible next year.
Oren is making some sacrifices now in the hope that he'll be eligible to play at UC in the fall. "I live in a dorm with about 30 guys, but I miss my family. That's been the hardest part." At this point in the interview, some of his roommates began making a lot of noise, presumably teasing him, but one stern word of warning from the big guy restored the order pretty quickly.
If Oren doesn't qualify for enrollment at UC for the fall, there is a Plan B in place. Oren will play football for Harmony in 2006 and graduate in December. He will then enroll at Cincinnati. Let's hope we see Oren as a Bearcat, sooner rather than later.