Player Spotlight - Nate Salley (1/31/02)

Nate Salley, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound defensive back from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. recently became the 22nd member of Ohio State's recruiting class. But just three weeks ago, Salley wasn't seriously considering the Buckeyes.

"Ohio State's wasn't even in my top three. But they just kept showing so much interest and finally I decided to take a visit up there just to check it out," Salley said.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

"I just had a great feeling while I was up there. The people and the coaches made me feel welcome and it just felt like the right place for me."

Salley, who is also a basketball standout at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, was recruited to OSU by recruiting coordinator Bill Conley.

"Coach Conley is a great guy. He came down here to see me a few times. I also really like (defensive backs) Coach (Mel) Tucker. We've talked on the phone a lot and I've gotten to know him really well. That's one of the things that was different about Ohio State - I got to know all of the coaches. Some of the schools that were recruiting me, I never even got to meet their DB's coach. Ohio State was more like a family," Salley said.

Salley also considered North Carolina, North Carolina State, Miami and Michigan State.  

The Florida native isn't too worried about adjusting to the cold winter climate of Ohio.

"I think I'll be all right. It was cold when I was up there two weeks ago, but I'm ready for something different. I've lived in Florida my entire life."

Salley is listed as one of the nation's top 20 safety prospects, but actually played more at cornerback this year.

"I played a lot of corner this year, but I played safety as a junior. I like both of them."

The OSU coaching staff told Salley he could play either position.

"They said it could go either way - they want me to come in and see where I fit best. They did mention there was more of a need at corner though."

Salley was the leading scorer on St. Thomas' state championship basketball team last year and is planning on joining Jim O'Brien's squad at OSU.

"I am definitely playing basketball at Ohio State. I've already talked to the coaches about it and they said there will be a spot for me on the team after football season."

A first-team D-IV All-Florida performer in both football and hoops, Salley will be considered a walk-on on the basketball team.

As for football, Salley is excited to be a member of one of the nation's elite recruiting classes.
"That makes me feel real good - it sets up great things for the future. It also makes for a more competitive environment at practice and competition makes everyone better."

Any goals for his first year?

"I just want to get on the field a little bit and contribute. But even if I redshirt, that's fine. I just want to be successful in everything I do on and off the field. I want to be a successful person - that's my biggest goal."

Salley said one of the things that really stood out about Ohio State was the rich football tradition. "You can tell they have so much tradition there and I love that. My high school is the same way. There is a lot of tradition and people are used to winning. And the stadium is amazing. I got goose bumps just looking at it."

Salley carries a 3.5 GPA in high school and will major in business at OSU.

"I was very impressed with the new business school."

Off the field, the two-sport star enjoys listening to music (Outkast and Tupac are two of his favorites) and has one other interesting hobby.

"I like to write poetry. The girls seem to like that," he said with a laugh.

Special thanks to Nate for the interview!

Buckeye Sports Top Stories