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YSU’s Ogletree shines at Hula Bowl

Earned Player of the Game honors, hopes to continue football career at the NFL level

AP. Team Aina tight end Andrew Ogletree (81), of Youngstown State, catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown in front of Team Kai linebacker Drew White (40), of Notre Dame, in the Hula Bowl Jan. 15 in Orlando, Fla.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Though his time at Youngstown State has concluded, Drew Ogletree is hopeful that his football career has not.

The former Penguin tight end has been training in Fort Myers, Florida, and on Jan. 15 competed in the Hula Bowl, a showcase for NFL hopefuls. Ogletree had a strong showing throughout the week, and capped it with two impressive receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown during the game itself, in which he was given Player of the Game honors.

As such, his draft stock may be on the rise.

“Personally, I thought I had a great week of practice, a lot of praise coming from my teammates, my coaches, and then during the game, I hadn’t scored (for YSU) all year, so just getting in the end zone was a different feeling,” he said.

Originally, Ogletree thought he was headed to the College Gridiron Showcase, but a phone call the day before he left for Fort Myers changed that plan. So, on Jan. 9, he arrived in Orlando for practices and went to work with Team AINA.

It was a busy week. In addition to practices, Ogletree would have meetings with scouts and take cognitive tests. Some days, he said, he wouldn’t get back to his room until after 11 p.m.

When he met with scouts, Ogletree noted that it mostly was for them to gather background information about him.

“Just to clear up some loose ends they might have, or if they’ve never contacted you before, just to start that conversation to learn about your personal life,” he said. “They’re going to ask some football questions, so you have to know your favorite play, favorite games, best games to watch, your worst games to watch, too.

“There’s just a lot of getting to know you personally and what type of person you are, what type of leader you are, and what type of fit you would be in that team.”

Though he can’t specify who he’s spoken with, Ogletree did say he’s heard from “a good amount of teams.”

On the practice field, Ogletree enjoyed getting to know his teammates, which came from all over the college football landscape. He also spent the week getting coached by Jonathan Hayes, a former NFL tight end and coach who spent his playing career with the Chiefs and Steelers and coaching career with the Bengals.

Then, the week culminated in Ogletree’s performance during the game itself. In addition to his touchdown reception, the tight end snagged a hard-earned catch up the seam in the red zone.

When Ogletree scored, it happened to be in front of his mother and some other friends and family.

“Just to see that was amazing,” he said, adding, “Having a camera on me, I got to shout out my son and my brother and just tell them I missed them and wished they were down there. So I loved it.”

He also drew praise from his opponents.

“When I made that big catch up the seam, the linebacker that was guarding me goes, ‘Hey great catch.’ and I appreciated it. So just the love, the genuine love I felt from everyone was amazing.”

Now, Ogletree is continuing to train with Jordan Luallen at X3 Performance in Fort Myers with his eyes set on the NFL. He’ll have another chance to showcase his talents as part of a Pro Day in early March, too.

If it doesn’t work out, he’d like to get into some sort of investigative work with law enforcement, such as with the FBI or as a detective. His degree is in criminal justice. That said, he wants to cross that bridge when he gets to it.

“Just going to train, train, train until my Pro Day, and then see what happens there,” he said.

jwhetzel@tribtoday.com

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