Hoobler Excited About Opportunity At Tight End

Where Carrollton (Oh.) High School star Chad Hoobler would play at Ohio State was originally planned to be decided in practice, but the off-the-field problems experienced by Louis Irizarry means that Hoobler is going to get his first look as a tight end. Hoobler discussed that as well as tomorrow night's all-star game recently with Steve Helwagen.

Chad Hoobler is not the kind of person who would revel in the misery of another.

But it is clear that Hoobler, a product of Carrollton, Ohio, will not mind trying to pick up the pieces after Louis Irizarry's flame-out as a member of the Ohio State football team.

Irizarry's departure from OSU opens up an opportunity for Hoobler -- as well as fellow signee Rory Nicol -- at tight end. The 6-5, 225-pound Hoobler will participate in Saturday's Ohio All-Star Classic primarily at linebacker. But his future at OSU appears to be on offense.

"I'm at tight end right now," Hoobler said of his future at Ohio State. "Anything could happen. I guess this helps me out. Rory Nicol and I may be in the same spot to see who gets to play and maybe even be the backup tight end. Right now, he and I would be third on the depth chart without even being there yet. Whichever one does better will hopefully get a chance to be the backup."

Sure enough, Irizarry's departure leaves just projected starter Ryan Hamby, seldom used senior Jason Caldwell and walk-on Jordan Hoewischer at the tight end spot.

Hoobler said he is stoked to have a chance to play for the Buckeyes as a true freshman.

"It's awesome," he said. "You can't ask for anything better than that."

Hoobler said there are lessons to learn from the misfortune of other players who have found trouble away from the playing field. He understands how OSU players are under a microscope.

"Coming from a small town, it's like that for me already," Hoobler said. "I can't walk backwards without people asking why. I'm going to try and set an example down here as best as I can."

Hoobler said he will join other OSU signees in participating in summer conditioning.

"We move down to the dorms after this game on Sunday," he said. "We'll start summer conditioning and working out with them and seven-on-seven and all that good stuff. I'm excited for that. I'm finally here."

Hoobler said he also plans to play in the Big 33 Football Classic in July.

"That will give me a breather (from conditioning)," he said. "That will probably be easier than this."

Hoobler will be among 10 future Buckeyes on display during Saturday's Ohio All-Star Classic, sponsored by Grange Insurance.

"It will be a fast game with all the best people in Ohio," Hoobler said. "I look at it as a steppingstone toward my college career."

Also playing for the South team will be Alex Barrow (Dublin Coffman), Erik Haw (Columbus Independence), Jonathan Skeete (Gahanna Lincoln), Brandon Underwood (Hamilton), Ben Person (Xenia) and SirJoseph Welch (Columbus Beechcroft). The South squad will be coached by Steve Channell of Trenton Edgewood.

OSU signees on the North squad include Brandon Smith (Euclid), Shaun Lane (Hubbard) and Curtis Terry (Cleveland Glenville), who was a late addition to the game. The North will be coached by Mentor‘s Steve Trivisonno.

The Ohio All-Star Classic was played in Columbus Crew Stadium for the first time in 2001 after being held in Massillon or Canton from 1977-2000. The Ohio All-Star Classic was also held in Columbus in 1975 and 1976 when the game was contested in Ohio Stadium.

The players have a full week of activities planned. They will visit Children's Hospital, Columbus City Council, a Clippers baseball game and have a swimming night at a Columbus area pool. Plus, the annual Ohio All-Star Classic banquet is scheduled for Friday night.

Tickets are available for $10 at the Crew Stadium box office. Call (614) 447-CREW for more details.

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