Olson Gives Buckeyes A Bruising Blocker

Aram Olson did not have any scholarship offers until after his senior season. But once word got out about this talented lead blocker, the offers began to roll in. Ohio State was not expected to add a fullback to its 2006 recruiting class, but Olson was too impressive to pass up. We caught up with Olson, who reflected on his decision to attend OSU, and looked ahead to his college career.

Fullback Aram Olson from Columbia (S.C.) committed to Ohio State last week. The Buckeyes weren't expected to add a fullback to their 2006 class, but Olson (6-1, 250) was too impressive to pass up.

The punishing lead blocker explained why he wanted to go far away from home to play for OSU.

"Well, first of all, probably the most important thing was the quality character of (head coach Jim) Tressel," Olson said. "That's what got me when I went on my visit there (Jan. 6-8). He had a meeting with me and my parents and talked about what he does with his kids on and off the field and how he prioritizes. What he told us is what decided it for me."

Ohio State began recruiting Olson in October. In fact, he took an unofficial visit to OSU on Nov. 5 for the Illinois game. But following OSU's win over Michigan on Nov. 19, the Buckeyes decided to temporarily back off.

"At first it seemed kind of like a letdown for me because they had been talking to me and I'm thinking, ‘Oh, Ohio State, I really want to go there,'" Olson said. "But (running backs coach) Doc Tressel called me and backed down and told me they were not taking a fullback in the class. So, I'm thinking, ‘I'm going to let my options open up after this.' But later on (OSU) called after Florida State and Auburn had offered and we set up a visit with Ohio State and that was the visit that clinched it."

It came down to Ohio State and Auburn and Olson says it was not that close of a call.

"Well, Ohio State was my first visit and like I was saying, I met with Coach Tressel and after that I was thinking, ‘This has got to be the place.' I just decided that I was going to take one more visit to Auburn just to make sure I was feeling the right thing. And I definitely was."

Olson was a bit of a late-bloomer in high school, at least in the eyes of recruiters. He didn't have any scholarship offers until after his senior season. East Carolina was his first offer.

But he stayed patient and was rewarded for it in the end.

"I was just hoping for the best," Olson said. "I wasn't expecting much because I was playing such a low-profile position. Even fullbacks nowadays, they carry the ball a lot in high school, but the way they used me was more a college-style fullback. I was just waiting for anything, really."

Olson, who can clean 300 pounds and bench 400, is looking forward to clearing the way for the nation's No. 1 recruit – running back Chris Wells.

"Oh yeah," Olson said. "I haven't met him yet, but I watched him play in the Army (All-American) Bowl a couple weeks ago and that kid is amazing and I just can't wait to get in front of him. That's going to be a real honor and it will just be fun."

Ohio State has had success with the spread offense recently, but with Wells and Olson in the fold, fans can expect a lot of power football from the Buckeyes in future seasons.

"Oh yeah, that's what Doc Tressel told me after he called back with the offer," Olson said. "He said they're getting the No. 1 recruit tailback in the nation and he's a power runner and they figure why not just get someone to be his sidekick. So, they were really looking to go back to that with him."

The Buckeyes have two veteran fullbacks returning in 2006: Stan White Jr., and Dionte Johnson.

Olson will battle for playing time as a freshman, but he knows there's a good chance he will redshirt.

"Well, if I redshirt, so be it," he said. "It's not like I'm going to lose a year of eligibility. Whatever happens, however it turns out, I'm going to be happy with it. I'm just going to work hard and compete. They're going to give me a shot and whatever happens, I'm willing to accept."

Olson did not have a favorite college football team growing up.

"I was really never a fan of either of the in-state teams: Clemson or (South) Carolina," he said. "I never particularly had a favorite growing up. But obviously I do now."

His high school team – Irmo – went 9-3 in 2005 and made the state playoffs.

"My senior year, I don't think it could have gone any better," Olson said. "I had the best time that I ever had. I got to do what I love most out there: killing people out there while you're blocking them, running the football, and just getting to crash into people all the time. That's what I really like to do. That what I got to do all senior year and it was fun as mess."

Olson tuned in for OSU's 34-20 win over Notre Dame in the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl.

"Yes sir I did. That was probably the best game I had seen them play all year; that and the Michigan game," he said. "Notre Dame, early in the season, they went toe-to-toe with USC, who was ranked No. 1 in the nation. Watching the Buckeyes beat the tar out of them, that made me really happy."

The bruising fullback talked more about his relationship with the Tressel brothers.

"Doc Tressel, he's as good of a guy as Coach Tressel, Jim Tressel," Olson said. "He's been the one I've talked to all the time on the phone and the one that has been letting me in on what they are doing with the recruiting class. I've developed a really good relationship with both of them over the last two, three months."

Olson will not graduate high school early. He will move to Columbus sometime during the summer.

"That depends. The coaches have said they want the players reporting in August for preseason stuff," Olson said. "But I might just move there a couple weeks earlier to get use to it and will probably room with one of the players there."

Ohio State's 2006 recruiting class is shaping up very well. It now has 20 players and will end up among the top 10 classes nationally.

"I don't care how they rank it, but I think this is probably the best recruiting class in the nation right now," Olson said. "We're forming a huge running game. We've got the tight end commitments (Andy Miller, Jake Ballard), the huge offensive line commitments (Connor Smith, Bryant Browning), we've got Dexter Larrimore, the defensive lineman, we've got Scooter (Dublin), Chris Wells. Any of the guys you could mention and say good things about them. This is the best recruiting class that's coming in right now."

Olson is not playing any other sports this year in high school. He wants to focus on getting ready for Big Ten football.

"Well, I use to wrestle, but I don't anymore," he said. "This is my senior year and I'm about to go to college and I'm trying to do everything I can. I have a personal trainer and I'm working on my speed and overall football ability. So I'm just really trying to get ready this year for playing in college. Plus we're doing a lot of weightlifting at the school."

Ohio State could open the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the land. Early Vegas odds have OSU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame as the favorites to win it all.

Olson is excited to join such a highly ranked team.

"Oh, I mean, there's nothing better you can do when it comes to playing football anywhere," he said. "I'm looking forward to being around all the coaches and playing for them. There's not a better coaching staff to play for anywhere, any level. They just blow you away when you first get to know them. We're looking here for another national championship and that's going to be fun."

In a year with a lot of academic question marks, Olson is not one of them. He has a 4.5 GPA and scored a 1200 on the SAT.

"I've decided I'm going to major in exercise science," he said. "I'm still open with that. I could become a weightlifting coach, or pre-med. It opens a lot of options for you as far as where you can go after undergrad."

* For more on Olson, tune in to next week's Bucknuts Radio Hour.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories