Local Quarterback On Cincinnati's Radar

The Cincinnati Bearcats are apparently looking at a lot of the local talent. This GCL quarterback could be exactly what they're looking for since he's been a starter since his sophomore year in arguably the best high school football league in Ohio.

The GCL south may be the best high school football league in Ohio. Because St. Xavier, Elder, LaSalle, and Moeller have an abundance of talent every year, most underclassmen have to bide their time on the bench until their junior or senior season. It is rare for a sophomore to earn a starting job in this top-notch league and even more unusual for that sophomore to become the starting quarterback, but that's exactly what Ross Oltorik accomplished at Moeller High School in 2005. Oltorik took the quarterback job after the Crusaders' fourth game of the year and will enter his senior season in 2007 as the incumbent. As a junior, Ross posted good numbers. He completed 126 passes in 216 attempts for a 58% completion rate. He threw for 1,603 yards and 11 touchdowns against 7 interceptions.

Bearcat assistant coach, Kerry Coombs, is well aware of Oltorik's talents. As Colerain's head coach last season, Coombs and his Colerain Cardinals played Moeller in the first round of Ohio Division I playoffs. The Cardinals prevailed in 3 overtimes by a 34-31 score, but the Moeller signal caller completed 25 of 39 passes for 236 yards and a score.

Bearcat Insider spoke to Ross a couple weeks after he visited the Cincinnati campus with his father for a junior day. Like just about every other player we've asked, things went well. "It went great. I really liked it." Ross wasn't the only Moeller player in attendance. Fitz Williams, a 6' 5"/275 pound offensive tackle, also visited on that weekend.

Ross was asked to describe himself as a quarterback. "I feel I'm a smart quarterback that can read defenses pretty well. I think I do well with my feet and can get out of trouble. I like throwing on the run. I also like playing in big games." Ross feels he'd be a good fit for Coach Kelly's spread offense for two reasons. He can run or pass well, and he got good experience running the spread offense last year at Moeller.

Like many of the better juniors in the area, Ross is hearing from a lot of schools. "Recently I've been hearing a lot from Nebraska. They want me to come out there. Their quarterback coach has been talking to me. Wake Forest and N. C. State came to our weight room and looked at me. Virginia's head coach came to our school and talked to me. Miami of Ohio, UC, and Louisville have been in contact, and Ohio State just asked for my films. I went down to the Florida camp last year and threw in The Swamp in front of their coaches. Connecticut has also been in contact a lot. Coach Tressel at Michigan State came to our school too. That's about it." Ross said he's talked to Coach Coombs "a little bit" but not too much.

As far as what Ross is looking for in a school, "I'm just looking for a school with good coaches that I like. I want a good relationship with them and a place where I fit well into their offense."

In preparing for his recruitment, Ross went to the Lone Star State. "In January, I went down to Texas for the U.S. Army All-American combine. I did pretty well down there. They did a U.S. East Region, and I got top 5 in the east. Coaches couldn't go so they (camp instructors) just watched us throw the ball for a day and watched us run. They wrote about me as one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the east so I was happy about that."

In addition to being named 1st team All-GCL and honorable mention All-District and All-City in football last year, Ross is also a fine baseball player. He's a left-handed pitcher and designated hitter and is attracting interest from schools for his baseball talent. "People have been talking to me a lot about baseball, but I really like football so I can't give it up. I'm just trying to work hard at everything and see how things play out." Ohio State and LSU are two of the schools interested in Ross as a baseball player.

This is a young man that also takes care of business in the classroom. When asked if he was a good student, Ross replied. "I'm pretty good, I guess. I'm not the best." When pressed on the issue, Oltorik revealed the facts. "My freshman and sophomore years, I had a 3.7 GPA. Right now I have around a 3.5." Ross will be taking the SAT for the first time this Saturday.

If Cincinnati decided to go hard after Oltorik, it sounded like they would have a good chance of landing him. "What I like about Cincinnati is there's something going on right now that's really positive and really good. The coaches are really enthusiastic and are bringing a winning mentality to the program. I think UC is going to rise quickly." The Oltoriks also have a bit of a history with Cincinnati. "My dad played for UC. He played quarterback in high school but DB at Cincinnati. He played in New York but loved it here and stayed in town."

The 6' 1"/208 pound quarterback would seem to have the necessary speed to make himself a legitimate dual threat quarterback. "In January, I ran a 4.59 with a bone spur in my foot." Ross was hampered during last season with a high ankle sprain but still managed to rush 84 times for 345 yards and 8 touchdowns in ten games. That rushing total is a bit deceiving because he lost 47 rushing yards due to 8 sacks. If those 47 yards are added to his rushing total, that would put his yard-per-carry average over 4.6 yards. Not bad for a guy nursing an injury.

Bearcat Insider will check back with Ross later in the summer.

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