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Linebacker Nathaniel Ozdemir, is a hard hitting throw back ball player. The 6-foot-2, 225 pounder, who also has double duty chores at fullback for Winter Garden (Fl.) West Orange High School could intensify an already deep rooted rivalry between Army and Navy. You see, Ozdemir has already extended his pledge to Navy, but said Wednesday's turn of events has changed his recruiting strategy.
"I got the official offer from Navy the day before Thanksgiving, but the Army offer happened today," declared Ozdemir, who was preparing for the East-Metro All Star game later in the evening. "We (Army) have been talking for awhile and I was expecting it. He's a good guy (Coach Clarence Holmes) and I knew it was coming. He came to my school today to visit me, we talked for awhile, he said he knew it was coming ... that it was probably going to be coming today. I guess he was waiting for a phone call from somebody, which I think was the head coach, Rich Ellerson. So he left the school and about an hour later he gave me phone call and told me it was official ... I'm really excited about the offer."
Although Ozdemir did not attend the Army-Navy game on Saturday, he was front and center watching it on the tube at home. "I did, I did watched the game," he confirmed. "I enjoyed the game, I thought it was fantastic and at the end Army had Navy by the throat."
My interest in both school (Army & Navy) is currently even. But on the other hand, I do believe that West Point is little bit more prestigious.
- LB prospect, Nathaniel Ozdemir
"Since I am committed to Navy, I did have to pull for Navy and Army had them against the wall, but turnovers will kill," says Ozdemir, who laughed a being in the caught in the middle while watching the game.
So with a verbal commitment to Navy, where does Ozdemir's fall when it comes to Army" "My interest in Army is extremely high and West Point is an extremely prestigious school," adds Ozdemir, who offered this insight. "I've been playing G.I. Joe in the backyard since I could walk and I've always wanted to jump out of airplanes, kick down doors and serve my country, while at the same time play football .... and get a good education."
According to Ozdemir, the Black Knights are looking to bring him up sometime in January for an official visit, which will allow him to objectively compare both academies. "I visited Navy a couple of times and my best friend (Winston Chastang), he's a defensive end and he's also committed to Navy," shared Ozdemir, who turned his conversation back to what he deemed to be a much needed trip to the West Point campus. "I am going to take a visit to Army and I'm very interested. I want to look out for myself to make sure that I am making the best decision for me."
"My interest in both school is currently even. But on the other hand, I do believe that West Point is little bit more prestigious and I'm going to the military to do something serious. I'm not going to the military to play games, sit on a boat a couple of years and like I said, I'm going to jump out airplanes and kick down doors. And therefore, I want to make sure I get the best training possible so that I can do that effectively."
Army and Navy aren't the only school that Odzemir has heard from, although some have tailed off somewhat. "I have been hearing from schools like Florida Atlantic," he said. "Last year we played a pro-style offense and we ran the ball and I got a lot of looks at fullback. I was getting looks from UCF, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Miami and Purdue. And this year we went to the spread and didn't get too many looks a fullback and my options got a little bit smaller. That's okay because all along I wasn't really interested in those schools, I've known for a long time that I wanted to go to the academy. I didn't push hard for the other schools, but I did push real hard for the academies and I got just what I wanted more than anything else."
Ozdemir and Chastang, along defensive end Jock Petree, make it a trifecta for Navy as all three players from West Orange that have given their verbal commitment to the Midshipmen. Although presently, there is still some uncertainty surrounding Petree's pledge to Navy.
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