Bulked-Up Moeller Ready For North-South Game

Tyler Moeller was an outstanding playmaker at Cincinnati Colerain. But at 195 pounds, many wondered if he would be big enough to play linebacker on the college level. Well, the Ohio State commitment has added 25 pounds over the last seven months and could see the field for the Buckeyes this fall. We caught up with him at at the North-South media day on Monday for more.

Linebacker Tyler Moeller from Cincinnati Colerain is one of the marquee prospects that will play in the Ohio North-South Classic at Crew Stadium in Columbus on Saturday.

Moeller – an Ohio State commitment – has bulked up quite a bit since his final prep season ended. He now stands 6-1, 220 pounds, 25 pounds more than he weighed in November.

"I've been doing a lot of lifting and running," Moeller said. "I've been trying to put on weight. I've been eating a lot and working hard in the weight room. I've been drinking a lot of protein shakes and eating a lot more. I never used to eat much. I didn't think I'd be able to put on 25 pounds this quickly, but it's worked out pretty good."

The logical wisdom was that Moeller would likely redshirt in 2006 so he could get bigger and stronger. But since he's already added a lot of weight, OSU could decide to play him as a true freshman.

"I just want to play hard and try and get a spot," Moeller said. "Whatever the coaches want me to do is what I'm going to do. I don't know if I'll play, or redshirt, but I'm just going to come in and work hard and play hard. That's all I can do."

Moeller is looking forward to playing in the North-South game. He is on the same team with two of his former teammates at Colerain: offensive lineman Connor Smith (Ohio State) and linebacker Cobrani Mixon (Michigan).

"It is fun," Moeller said. "I've got Cobrani right next to me and this is going to be the last time I play with him. It's just fun. And this might be the last time I see him in Ohio for a while."

Moeller was asked if he and Mixon might trade some verbal jabs if their paths cross in the future.

"Yeah, I told him I'd give him one of my necklaces (gold pants) if we go 4-0 or 5-0 against them while we're there," Moeller said with a grin.

The players on both sides were having a good time at media day on Monday at Otterbein College. But when Saturday rolls around, make no mistake that these players (and coaches) want to emerge victorious.

"It's just a fun game, but you want to win though," Moeller said.

A lot of incoming freshmen enroll in school during the summer to get a head start on their academics. But Moeller is going to enjoy his summer, then arrive at OSU when preseason camp begins.

"I haven't really set a date for that," he said. "I know I want to go up there and lift a couple times with the team this summer. But I probably won't actually move there until August."

Moeller is excited to play for OSU co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell, as well as the rest of OSU's staff.

"I really like Coach Fickell," he said. "He's a young guy – a former Buckeye player – and he's a really good coach. He's real intense and I like that. I know he's going to push me. And (defensive coordinator Jim) Heacock is also a great coach. There are a lot of great coaches and great players up there."

Moeller knows that the Buckeyes will likely open the season ranked in the top five.

"It's a lot more fun when you're on a winning team and it's exciting," he said. "That's one of the reasons I went there is because I want to play for winning team that is always up there in the rankings."

Moeller did not grow up rooting for Ohio State. But things slowly started to change once he got to high school.

"I was a Miami Hurricanes fan," he said. "In the (2002) national championship game, I was kind of being pulled both ways though since Miami was playing my home state. But I'm all Ohio State now."

Moeller, who will wear the No. 26 jersey at OSU, made the trip to Columbus to watch the spring game on April 22.

"Yeah, it was pretty good," he said. "Ross Homan looked good. Chris Wells … he's a beast."

Moeller knows that OSU is in the process of replacing strength coach Al Johnson, but he is not concerned about the situation.

"Yes, I heard about that," he said. "One of the people I train with told me about it. Ohio State is always going to have good people around them and I know the next person will be just as good as the last one."

About The Classic

This will be the 61st annual Ohio North-South Classic, making it the longest running high school football all-star game in the nation.

Four Ohio State signees are in the game. The three OSU signees on the South team are Springboro tight end Jake Ballard and the Cincinnati Colerain duo of linebacker Tyler Moeller and offensive lineman Connor Smith. Cleveland Glenville defensive end Robert Rose will be on the North squad.

Twelve players in the game have received Big Ten scholarships, while at least 41 of the 68 players in the game will play Division I football beginning this fall.

John Magistro of Bellaire coaches the South, while Vic Whiting of Canal Fulton Northwest coaches the North.

Players and coaches from each side are practicing each day this week at Otterbein College. They will also make a variety of public appearances, including visits to Children's Hospital, Columbus City Council and a Columbus Clippers baseball game.

Tickets for the game are $10. They are available by calling Crew Stadium at (614) 447-CREW or by going to the stadium box office on game day.

The game will be televised on a tape delay basis by Fox Sports Net Ohio. It is set to air Thu., June 22, at 8 p.m. on FSN Ohio. It will also be broadcast live by WCLT-FM (100.3) of Newark and on the Internet at www.broadcastmonsters.com

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