RECRUITING: Odrick's Choice A Family Affair

Jared Odrick of Lebanon, Pennsylvania can write his own ticket to college. He's got grades to go with the kind of size, speed and athletic ability that make him one of the top recruits in the nation as a defensive lineman. He's narrowed his choices down to five teams and when he makes his final decision, it will be a family affair giving him the advice he needs.

(Jared Odrick profile)

Where he goes to school will be largely his decision but when he looks to guidance he says it's simple: ""My mom and my step dad."

He relies on his coach for advice too, but admits that the decision is "mostly up to me and my family."

Odrick has scholarship offers from just about every top football program in the country, but he's narrowed the choices down to five that he feels fit his needs. He has a supportive family so there are no worries.

"They will be happy with whatever I decide," said the 6-6, 285-pounder. "We have discussed it and there is really not a bad decision I can make. We are looking for the best decision. We always talk about it and read about this team and that team, talking to the coaches and finding out what is happening. That is all stuff I am looking at. At the same time it's just a feeling that this is the place."

Florida, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Penn State, and Georgia will get his five official visits. He talked about the reasons he likes this final five.

FLORIDA: "I like the relationships I have with Coach (Urban) Meyer, Coach (Steve) Addazio and Coach (Greg) Mattison. They have been coming at me from the start. They definitely have a need for me where they want me to play. They told me they want me to play where I want, and I wouldn't mind playing the strong side defensive end and defensive tackle. They said they will have me coming off the rush end every now and then. My visit at the Tennessee game will be my first visit to Gainesville. Coach Mattison, with our conversations on the phone, he's a good guy. I know there is a good situation down there. I only hear good praise from the beginning of the season and all summer about Florida and they are a team to be reckoned with this season with Coach Meyer coming in. The first coach to call me in the new contact period was Coach Addazio. He told me he actually arm wrestled Coach Mattison to see who would call me. He said he won so he got to call. They wanted to know what was up and how everything was going, that it was game week and everyone was excited about the game."

VIRGINIA TECH: "I was looking at them a lot earlier but they came in a little later. I was getting some general mail from them early but nothing personal, no contact. Then all of a sudden it started to come … It looks like a good situation to walk into. They will contend for a BCS and are one of the top teams in the nation. They think I will be playing defensive tackle and I will have a chance at the end."

VIRGINIA: "They were one of my real early visits. I always liked Virginia but was skeptical of the 3-4 defense and what they would do with me at the defensive end spot there. That spot picks up blocks for linebackers and that is one of the things the defensive end has responsibility. I saw that the D-ends do more when they put in a nickel package. I am looking forward to seeing them in action again."

PENN STATE: They are losing a lot of seniors. They have one of the best defensive line coaches in the nation. There is a lot of talk about them coming back and becoming a major program and turning things around. It's a good situation for a defensive lineman right now … they are losing six guys. I always liked Coach Johnson. We have always had a great relationship throughout the whole process."

GEORGIA: "When I went down there I felt like I really fit in with the players. I can see myself going there and fitting in there. I liked the campus a lot although it is muggy down there … very humid. I went down there and Coach Harvin was great. He and I went out to eat and had a good time with my family. I hung out with Cade Weston and Jeff Owens. They will only have two defensive tackles after this year. I would go down there and play the 3-spot and a chance to play some strong side defensive end too."

There is some variance in where his top five schools say he will play. Basically, he just wants a chance to get on the field.

"Penn State is strictly defensive end … Virginia strictly defensive end," he said. "Florida … they have been saying defensive end but whatever I want on the line. The other two are D-tackle but a shot at D-end."

Now that school has begun, he's already putting his nose to the books. He has a busy schedule but he has no problems keeping up with the work.

"I have a lot of my tougher classes in the second half with Physics and Marketing" Odrick said. "I probably want to major in sports marketing or sports management."

Football season has begun in earnest, too. He had a pair of scrimmages to warm up but this past Friday was his first chance to go for real.

"We had two scrimmages and had a game on Friday," he said. "The first scrimmage was good … it was the first time our team got to taste someone else's blood. We kept score and won 7-6 but the first team only played like 20 plays. The second scrimmage was against Mechanicsburg and that went real well actually. Our defensive line came off the ball real good and we had a good pass rush. I had a sack on the first play and a bunch of hurries, one more sack and two pass deflections. I had a total of about eight tackles. I was mostly at defensive end but a little at defensive tackle. All of that was in one half."

In game one, Odrick got the first taste of what will probably be an oft-repeated scenario this season. season started Friday night and he and his Lebanon teammates got off to a good start against good competition.

"We won what is called the Cedar Bowl, 14-13," he said. "I did okay. They play a wing-T offense and a lot of times they audibled away from me but I tried the best I could to make plays. It was Cedar Crest. Traditionally they are a good team."

Odrick thinks teams will be caught off guard by what he and his teammates will do this season.

"I don't think a lot of people know about the different training we go through and the physical condition we are in," he said. "I think this is the first time our team has really lifted all summer and been here all summer. I think I helped get after everyone and we have a new strength and conditioning coach in Coach Watts. He has been a tremendous help to the football program. When he first came to the school he showed how his methods would work and I was like his lab rat. He is going to be like a personal trainer for me to prepare for college."

Part of the preparation for college will be making his official visits. During the visits he expects that his final choice will become crystal clear.

"I think it is just me feeling while I am there at the game or on campus that it is the place I have to go or be," he said. "Whether it is just the atmosphere or a feeling when I get there, I am looking for that feeling. If it is the best place for me and I fit in there that is where I will go. I could commit on an official visit, but I am going to try and stray away from that."

He will get a good look at Florida's game day atmosphere on September 17 when The Swamp is rocking and the Gators are playing Tennessee. Florida fans are hoping that this is just the atmosphere that he finds most appealing.

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