By WALTER DOERSCHUK
It's only the end of July, but the Ohio State Buckeyes can already hear "OH-IO" as they prepare for the upcoming college football season.
Devon Torrence, a 2007 Canton South High School graduate, is entering his senior year on the Ohio State football team. He has thoroughly enjoyed his time as a Buckeye.
"It's been a great opportunity for me," Torrence said. "I am truly blessed to play at Ohio State."
"It's crazy it has gone so fast and I'm looking forward to another great year with those guys."
The guys Torrence will take the field with may feel an extended amount of pressure this season as many have predicted Ohio State to contend for the National Championship. The Buckeyes will feature Heisman hopeful Terrelle Pryor on offense as well as All-American candidate Cameron Heyward on defense.
Torrence noted his team's expectations are to compete for the crystal football.
"We're going to compete week in and week out, have a fun year and compete for the National Championship," he said.
A potential benefactor for the Buckeyes is the BCS National Championship game will be held in Arizona, a location Ohio State has played their bowl game in five out of the past eight years.
In the meantime, Ohio State will face a tough schedule that include games against Miami (FL), Wisconsin, Penn State, Iowa and of course Michigan.
Torrence realizes the Buckeyes will have "to stay humble" over the course of the 12 game schedule. He noted what his team learned when Purdue upset Ohio State last season.
"We feel we overlooked them a little bit," Torrence said, "and that's the biggest thing we learned from that game."
During his high school career, Torrence played in the friendly confines of Canton South's Clyde Brechbuler Stadium which holds around 3,000 people. Now playing in front of over 100,000 people and a national audience has little effect on the 6-foot-1 senior.
"I don't even notice the people at the game," Torrence said. "I'm too focused at what's going on on the field."
Torrence has made a few changes to his football skills at Canton South. While playing for the Wildcats, he was one of the main offensive weapons and gained more than 3,000 all-purpose yards. On defense, he played the safety position.
Canton South head football coach Moe Daniska has watched Torrence make the move to cornerback under Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Daniska noted his former player's athletic ability has helped Torrence move to cornerback.
"His overall athleticism has enabled him to play any position in the defensive secondary," Daniska said. "His defensive ability has made him an outstanding corner for Ohio State."
In addition to playing major college football, Torrence has also played minor league baseball in the Houston Astros organization.
Torrence said he is still involved with the Astros, but he is focusing on enjoying his last year with the Buckeye before possibly going back to the Astros.
If a career in professional sports does not work out, Torrence noted he would like a job that requires a special skill such as acting. He is currently working to obtain a degree in communications.
"I don't really want to work a nine to five job," he said.
For now, Torrence will take the field with the Ohio State University Buckeyes who kick off their season in Columbus on a Thursday night primetime game against Marshall University on Sept. 2.