Bank Talks With Bucks: Jaamal Berry

The signing of Jaamal Berry ensured the tradition of great tailback play at Ohio State would continue. Berry, one of the top running backs in the country, became yet another Florida high school player to head north to play for the Buckeyes. Bill Greene spoke with Berry on Media Day and filed this report.

Freshman tailback Jaamal Berry is excited to begin his career at Ohio State. He spoke to Bill Greene about this, and other subjects, at Media Day.

Greene: What has been the biggest adjustment from high school to Ohio State?

Berry: "The biggest adjustment will be learning the offense at Ohio State. This system is so much more complicated than anything we ran in high school. I know I can compete physically but I need to catch up mentally to the older running backs. I feel comfortable in the running game but the passing game is so new to me. I have to learn to run better routes and be a better pass protector. I can't be the guy who gets Terrelle [Pryor] killed back there."

Greene: What about catching the football? Have you done a lot of that in 7-on-7's this summer?

Berry: "I really wasn't doing the 7-on-7 work because of my ankle injury. I was mainly doing rehab work on getting my ankle healthy enough to be ready to contribute this year. I feel pretty good catching the football so far but I didn't do a lot of it in high school."

Greene: How is your ankle and how much do you weigh right now?

Berry: "My ankle is nearly 100 percent. It doesn't bother me too much out on the field but it's pretty sore after practice ends. Today I weighed in at 192 pounds. I'd like to play at between 195 and 200 pounds."

Greene: Right now, you are probably third or fourth on the depth chart. Do you see yourself playing this year, or would it be best to sit out a year?

Berry: "I feel I'm going to be out there. I've been making plays in practice and I know the coaches have noticed that I'm ready to contribute right now. The coaches have told me they want me to play this year. They said once I prove that I know the playbook, I will be out there. I don't want to redshirt at all."

Greene: You reported to camp after running into some trouble back home. How have your teammates treated you?

Berry: "I'm glad you asked me that question. Danny Herron has taken me under his wing and has been like a big brother to me. He said that Beanie Wells did the same thing for him when he was a freshman. He's really looking out for me and he tries to help me get better every day. I owe him a lot and I really want people to know how great of a person he is, and he's a great player. He's also my roommate in camp and he's been a huge help to me. It was hard for me to understand how a player would help me so much and I'm trying to take his position, but that's the Ohio State way. It's all about getting the best players out on the field and we compete with each other like brothers. We both want the best for each other."

Berry: "I also want to say that everybody on this team has been great to me and so have the coaches. I was kind of worried about coming up here after I messed up, but they just accepted me into their family and I love being a part of this program. I really want to help the seniors win every game and go out with a national championship. I don't care what my role is and I will do anything they ask me to do."

Greene: "So there are no second thoughts and no regrets about leaving Florida and coming to Ohio State?

Berry: "No sir. This is my home now. I just can't wait to run out of the tunnel for the first game against Navy. That is going to be the best feeling in the world. I love being at Ohio State and I knew this was the place for me the first time I visited here. That has never changed."

Greene: Tell me about your relationship with Brett Goetz and how he's helped mentor you.

Berry: "Brett is someone that has been very helpful to me, and my mom as well. I first came to Ohio State for the spring game after my junior year, with Brett and a few other players from Florida. I also played on his 7-on-7 team and he's been a good man for me to learn from. He stood by me when I messed up and I know how much he cares for all the players coming up through the youth program in South Beach. I consider him a family friend and a mentor for me to look up to."

Goetz has befriended many high school players in the Miami area. Goetz, a successful businessman in Miami, runs the Miami Beach Youth Football League and mentors many of the players throughout their college careers, including Berry.

"Jaamal is a great kid, first and foremost," Goetz said. "He didn't play in my youth league but I got to know him when I coached him on my 7-on-7 team. I had so many college coaches speak so highly of him before I got him on my team. Once I got to know Jaamal I saw how competitive he is and how much he loves to win. He's a kid that Ohio State fans are going to love. He will play hurt and he will give 100 percent all the time. He comes from a great family and his mother, Eartha, is the best. As much as I loved having Jaamal on my team, I loved having his mom around more, because she's the best cook in Miami. I have no worries at all about Jaamal being a great player, and more importantly, a great person at Ohio State."

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