By Gary R. Rasberry
NEW BREMEN -- Growing up, Marcus Overman knew a lot about the University of Dayton football team.
His father, Howard, played for UD after graduating from Marion Local in 1976, where one of the coaches was Mike Kelly.
Through the years, father took son to many Flyer sporting events and occasionally chatted with Kelly, who has become one of the most successful head coaches in college football.
Kelly will now have the son on his team after the New Bremen lineman committed to go and play for the Division I-AA power. The football program does not offer scholarships.
"It's a great school," said Marcus, who will go in as an education major with the goal of being a teacher and coach. "Good academics; Great football team with winning seasons over the past 20 years; Great coaching staff. I guess when you put them all together with a great college atmosphere, it's a place where you want to go." Howard Overman, who also was the head coach for the New Bremen Cardinals until stepping down after this past season, is happy to see his son go to his alma mater, although he wanted to point out that Marcus worked hard to be selected on his own merits.
"He made his own road," said coach Overman. "I was fortunate enough to play (at UD). He has worked and always had a goal to play at the next level. This is his path. Hopefully, he enjoys it and gets a chance to play.
"(Kelly) brings in 25 (freshmen) a year. Look at his track record. He has quite a history. You have to recruit athletes, but you also have to recruit those who are going to be there four years. Hopefully, Marcus will do that and commit to the UD program. (UD) was Marcus' first choice. Coach Kelly was coaching when I was there. I told him 'This is your decision. Don't base it on me because of what I say.' "
The younger Overman heads to Dayton after helping the Cardinals post their greatest season in school history. The Cardinals went 7-3 in the regular season and earned the first playoff invitational since 1988 as well as the first-ever home playoff game.
New Bremen romped over Troy Christian in the home game and beat Mechanicsburg a week later to advance to its first regional final.
The Cardinals lost to eventual state champions Hardin-Northern at Wapakoneta to end the season at 9-4.
"It started last summer with all the hard work and the talk that this year we would make the playoffs," said Marcus. "We knew we had a good team and we had to break out. This year it all came together."
Marcus, who had been a center his first three years, moved to a tackle spot last season. Overman earned first-team All-MAC honors as both an offensive and defensive lineman and was the Northwest District's Lineman of the Year before being named first team All-Ohio, joining his dad, who was named co-Coach of the Year.
Overman will get the chance to move back to center as Kelly looks to have Overman work as a center and long-snapper or possibly moving to the guard spot in the lineup.
"I moved to tackle this year due to size," said Marcus. "It won't be too hard to move back over."