MEDINA — If things work out perfectly for St. Ignatius junior Kyle Berger, he’ll go from winning a high school state football title to a college national championship.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound outside linebacker Monday made a verbal commitment to attend Ohio State University, which beat out approximately 35 big-time suitors for the Medina resident’s gridiron services.
“Everything,” Berger said when asked what he liked about Ohio State. “I’ve developed a really good relationship with the coaches over the past several months and there is a family atmosphere there. I visited two weeks ago and absolutely loved it.”
Berger, who carries a 4.0 grade-point average and plans to go into pre-med, spent most of his official visit with head coach Urban Meyer, who led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season in his first year at the helm.
“He’s real genuine,” Berger said. “He’s honest. He’s real intense. He’s great. I love him.
“It makes you want to help out and get another undefeated season and hold up that crystal ball (representing a national title) in the next couple of years.”
Before Berger worries about helping Ohio State win a national championship, he’s got another season to play at St. Ignatius, which lost 57-56 to Mentor in triple overtime in the 2012 Division I, Region 1 title game to finish 11-2.
The 17-year-old, who owns 4.6-second speed in the 40-yard dash and can bench press 300 pounds, saw spot action as a sophomore when the Wildcats won their 11th state title and wants to help legendary coach Chuck Kyle make it an even dozen.
“I wanted to get the signing out of the way so I didn’t have to talk to (college) coaches during my season,” Berger said. “I want to focus on getting that 12th state championship for St. Ignatius and Coach Kyle. That was the biggest reason I committed now.”
Berger, who had 44 tackles for loss and 11½ sacks last season, talked to more than 30 colleges, including Michigan, Tennessee, Arkansas, UCLA and Stanford.
Now that he’s chosen the Buckeyes, he’s anxious to return to the high school playoffs and help the Wildcats win it all.
“The experience was great,” Berger said of the triple-OT loss to Mentor. “Obviously, the outcome was not what we wanted, but it was a learning experience to give us a little bit of juice going into next season.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.