June 11, 2008

Wells ready for the next step

There are precious few days left for the remaining 14 members of the recruiting class of 2008 for Ohio State before summer quarter begins and so do their lives as college football players. While some players are in Hershey (Pa.) preparing to play in the Big 33 Classic on Saturday and report on Sunday the players who are not from Ohio nor Pennsylvania have a little bit more flexibility as to when they can show up in Columbus.

Defensive end Keith Wells is one of several out of state players who will be making that long drive to the Buckeye state and even with some nerves about the unknown it is hard to fight off a sense of excitement that has been building since national signing day.

"I will be up there Thursday," Wells said. "I am pretty excited and I will be really excited on the drive up there."

There will be no summer break for any of the players getting ready to embark on this journey and everyone has been spending their all too brief time off differently. How has Wells decided to spend his last couple of days at home?

"Mostly I have been chilling with my family," Wells said. "Because I know it is going to be a while before I can see some of my family members again. I won't be able to come home whenever I want."

Wells is not in that boat alone with more than half of the class (11 out of 20) coming from outside of the state borders of Ohio. One way to ease the transition is by developing the bonds with future teammates and that has been going on for some time with the class of 2008.

"I have been talking to all of them really," Wells said. "Trying to see when most of these guys are going to be up there and have been talking to my roommate Orhian Johnson a lot and seeing what he is thinking."

Six members of the class enrolled early and have already started making the adjustment from high school to college. Has Wells had a chance to pick any of their brains and get a preview of what to expect?

"Yeah, definitely," Wells said. "Michael Brewster, Etienne Sabino, Jake Stoneburner and Andrew Sweat and all those guys tell me that it is a lot different from high school. They tell me once I get up there this summer it is going to be real. These are all things that I expect and am looking forward to honestly because high school wasn't very challenging to tell you the truth. I know that I am going to start from the bottom and work my way up and I know it is going to be hard to make the transition from high school to college but everybody has to go through it so I am not too worried about it."

Wells checked in somewhere around the neighborhood of 211 pounds going into his senior season but has hit the weight room hard and now is up in the ballpark of 235 pounds. Have any goals been set for an ideal playing weight in college for the Gainesville (Ga.) standout?

"The coaches were talking to me and saying around 240-245 (pounds) or something like that," Wells said. "They haven't really haven't given me a set weight to try and aim for. They just mostly want me to focus on staying athletic and staying quick off the edge and using my speed. They don't want me to get too big and lose a step."

Speaking of numbers there always is a lot around what uniform number that the new freshmen will be wearing. Wells has a number in mind but ultimately admits that he is flexible.

"Right now it looks like I am going to be No. 94," Wells said. "(A number) doesn't really matter to me to tell you the truth. I kind of wanted No. 94 because that is the number that Mike Vrabel wore up there and he was a beast at Ohio State. I just wanted to make that number known again (laugh)."

Not only will Wells have to adjust to the weight program and time demands of football when he arrives but also taking college courses. Wells has an idea of what he would like to study while at Ohio State.

"For now I am thinking about going into some field of engineering," Wells said. "Which field I am not really sure yet but I won't probably have to declare until my sophomore year anyways. More than likely it will be mechanical engineering."

Trends have shown that more players than not are getting a chance to see action as a true freshman if the team feels that they can contribute. Approximately half of the class of 2007 saw some action for the Buckeyes last season. Has the coaching staff talked to Wells about the subject of redshirting?

"They haven't really talked about it a lot," Wells said. "Talking to (Jim Heacock) a long time ago he told me that he is going to play the best player. Basically I am just going to have to go in growl with the guys and show what I can do. If I do redshirt then I look at it as a win-win situation to tell the truth. They haven't really told me if I would or wouldn't redshirt."

The staff has made one thing sure and Wells is ready to give it his all.

"They want me to come in and work hard and we will see from there," Wells said.

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