November 11, 2010

Strobel moves on

Last June, Mentor, Ohio junior defensive end Tom Strobel burst onto the recruiting scene with some strong camp performances that led to an early scholarship offer from Cincinnati.

Later, Pittsburgh and Purdue joined the party and Ohio State has shown more and more interest in the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder, especially after he was among the top performers at the Buckeyes camp on June 13.

"Camp went very well. It was nice to see competition from all around," Strobel said. "As for coaches, I talked for a little bit; not much though. I hope they were impressed with my performance. I was fairly happy with what I did. I went all out the whole time."

Shining in Columbus during the summer earned Strobel a game invitation to the Miami game.

It was there, during the Buckeyes' 36-24 win, Strobel saw firsthand just how passionate Ohio State fans are toward their football program.

"Seeing all the Ohio State fans do the chants, and the student section was intense, that atmosphere was crazy," he said.

During the visit Strobel talked with several Ohio State coaches, including head coach Jim Tressel.

"They just asked about my game (that weekend) and the D-line coach asked how many sacks I got," Strobel said.

Since that visit, Ohio State has remained in contact with Strobel.

"I just recently talked to coach (Taver) Johnson, which is my recruiting coach, last week," he said. "They were just checking in to see how I was doing and said good luck for the Ed's game."

The Ed's game, a first round playoff game against Lakewood St. Edward, turned out to be the last game of Strobel's junior season. St. Ed's won, 35-21, in a rematch of a week 1 game, also won by Ed's, 35-28.

After losing to St. Ed's to open the season, Mentor went on to lose two of its next three games, both to playoff qualifiers. But, the Cardinals didn't hang their heads. They knew they had to win out to earn a spot in the post-season, and that's just what they did.

"We pulled through and did what most teams couldn't," Strobel said. "I was very proud of my team and what we accomplished. I still feel we were a great team and wish we had another chance, but St. Ed's a great team, I'll give them that."

During both games against St. Ed's, Strobel had the opportunity to match skills with Ohio State commit Kyle Kalis, a junior offensive tackle.

"I felt I did OK against him; he's a great tackle," Strobel said. "I did a few good things. I felt we were a good match-up."

Going head-to-head with some of the top players in the state is something Strobel really enjoys. It helps him to improve his skills and provides a challenge he expects to see every week at the next level.

"I liked going against him. It was a challenge, definitely, but I love challenges," he said. "I know I could always do better. As for that game, I was pleased with my performance."

As soon as his junior football season ended Strobel turned his attention to the hardwood, where he hopes to again lead the Cardinals to the state tournament. Last season, Mentor reached the state Final Four, where they came up short against Cincinnati Moeller.

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