LB Nate Ozdemir talks commit to Navy

For Nathaniel Ozdemir, Navy was always where he wanted to play his college ball. When the 6-foot-2, 225-pound middle linebacker from Winter Garden, Fla., was extended an offer by the Midshipmen staff after months of recruiting him, it didn't take him long to accept and make his commitment.

"It was Coach Nua, who recruits my area, who called with the official offer," said Nathaniel Ozdemir. "The next day Coach Green called me. I guess he didn't know that Coach Nua offered, but he told me I had an offer and they'd love to have me come play for them. Since I had him on the phone, I went ahead and gave him my commitment.

"I've known for awhile [Navy] is the place where I want to be. Throughout the whole recruiting process they made a big push for me. Following my two visits to Annapolis, I started to think Navy was right for me. I loved the Academy and the city. I loved the energy I felt when I was there and the entire coaching staff. I was up there for a summer camp and for the FAU game this year. When I was little, I remember playing with G.I. Joe all the time. Going into the military has always been something I wanted to pursue. When I'm finished at the Academy, my plan is to go into the Marines."

Ozdemir plays with Navy pledge, Winston Chastang at West Orange High School. He said the duo's commitment to the Naval Academy has gotten his classmates in the Orlando area enthusiastic about the Midshipmen.

"Winston is one of my best friends," Ozdemir said. "Many of our buddies didn't really pay much attention to Navy in the past, but we've changed all that around. People were coming up talking to me about the Army-Navy game. The support has been great. We may have a third teammate, Jock Petree, come too, but right now he's still figuring things out."

In his senior year at West Orange, Ozdemir said was his "big coming out" season. He helped anchor the Warriors defense which made it to the first round of the Florida 8A playoffs.

"I was the team captain this year," explained Ozdemir. "I called out the adjustments and acted like one of the coaches on the field. This season I improved most on my speed. I haven't missed a down in three years as a starter so having that knowledge helped with making reads quicker. I also improved as a tackler and all-around playmaker. I led the team in tackles with 104."

Ozdemir was named to the Orlando All-Metro All-Star team where he served as a team captain. He plans now to watch Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and then take his official visit in January.

"I'm going to be there on January 18th," Ozdemir said of his next visit to Navy. "My plan is to go to prep and use it like a redshirt year so I can work on grades, get comfortable with military life, and get ahead with knowing the playbook.

"I received an offer from Army just last week and Air Force offered me today. I'm solid to Navy, but I'm going to check out the other two service academies. I think it would be dumb not to."

Ozdemir started out on varsity at offensive line then moved to linebacker in his junior season. He said his father, originally from Turkey, is "jacked up" about his commitment to Navy. In the winter, Ozdemir will wrestle and then weightlifting competitively in the spring. Top Stories