Some people thank their coach for getting them a scholarship at a major college sports program. Others thank their academic adviser.
Running back Eddie George has his mother to thank for his scholarship to Ohio State.
George, a running back out of Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, has verbally committed to attend Ohio State. A native of Philadelphia, George was sent to Fork Union by his mother, who thought he would never receive a scholarship unless he got serious about his academics as well as athletics.
"My mom saw that I had potential, so before my junior year, she sent me down here," George said. "Now I'm happy about it. At the time, I wasn't."
George graduated in 1991 but is spending an extra year at the academy to prepare himself for college, he said. The prep school is the same one that also produced Ohio State freshman basketball player Rickey Dudley.
Dudley went to Fork Union after graduating from high school in Henderson, Texas, but he went there to avoid sitting out a year due to Proposition 48.
George, however, has already satisfied Prop 48 requirements and is currently carrying a 3.13 grade-point average.
Regardless of how he got to Ohio State, though, George is a 6-3, 220-pound promising prospect for the Buckeyes.
In the past two seasons, George has used his 4.5 speed to chalk up 2,572 yards and 37 touchdowns for Fork Union.
Fork Union coach Micky Sullivan said he will miss his star halfback next season.
"I'd like to have him back for another year," Sullivan said. "He was the best back we had. He was captain of the team and played a great leadership role."
Sullivan said George was a do-everything type of running back.
"Eddie was the big-play guy when he got the football," the head coach said. "He did everything we asked him to do."
George could run the ball inside and outside equally well, Sullivan said.
Ohio State's extension of head coach John Cooper's contract was a major factor in his committing to Ohio State, George said.
"If (Cooper) would have left, I wouldn't have gone to Ohio State," he said. "When he first got his extension the Buckeyes were number one. At first I was looking at Penn State or Virginia, but after the extension, I chose Ohio State."
George said he was impressed with everything about OSU.
"I feel it's the best place for me to go," he said. "I see a lot of opportunities there for me both athletically and academically."
George, who plans to become an architect, is particularly pleased by Ohio State's academic program.
"The academics speak for themselves. OSU is ranked nationally," he said.
He added that his mother is proud of his decision to attend Ohio State.
"My mother feels wonderful about it," George said. "She was more excited than I was."
Sullivan is also excited about George's decision.
"It was great for him. He and his mother visited Ohio State and were happy," Sullivan said, "so that's where he should go. And if the boy is happy, I'm happy. He's going to play at a great football institution and get a great education."
George has already set some goals for his OSU career.
"I want to get a 3.00 (GPA) and go on the field and do the best I can do. I just want to contribute to the team," he said. "I also want to go to the Rose Bowl and possibly win a national championship."
Sullivan said George's success will depend on how quickly he is able to adapt to the college game.
"I think he can play. The biggest challenge is the mental aspect of the game," Sullivan said. "He can always get faster, and I think he will. He works hard, and he'll improve."
George said the only adjustment he needs to make will be to the football team, adding he has strong study habits and has gotten used to living away from home while at Fork Union.
Although George realizes the adjustment to college football could be made easier by redshirting, he's not interested.
"It would probably be better to get redshirted because I could get used to things, but I'd rather not. I would like a chance to play," George said.
With only Butler By'not'e, Raymont Harris and Jeff Cothran returning with any appreciable experience at running back, George may get his chance at playing time right away.
If he does get the chance to play next year, don't expect miracles, though.
"I really don't know (what to expect). I just want to do my best and show the coaches what I can do," George said. "I'm looking to get better. Every year, I want to get better."
George said his greatest asset is his running ability.
"(The thing I do best) is running the ball, running fast, powering through holes, giving a cut here or there," George said. "I need to improve my blocking, but I'm going to work on everything."
Asked how he plans to be remembered at Ohio State after his playing days are over, George said, "As a great student-athlete, with an emphasis on student."
Recruiting Flashback: Eddie George
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