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Koyack hits right tune on the football field

- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 1, 2010

OIL CITY, PA. (AP) - Ben Koyack hails from a family of musicians, complete with a music teacher as a mother.

As proficient with the trombone, piano and euphonium as he is with throwing, catching and running with a football, he was faced with a quandary as an incoming freshman three years ago.

Becoming the starting quarterback for Oil City High School's varsity football team would mean he couldn't be part of the marching band.

Three successful football seasons later, Koyack isn't regretting the fact he was deprived of the chance to march at halftime.

"It's one of those things that worked itself out," said Koyack, on The Associated Press East Region 25 list of top recruits. "It worked out nicely."

Koyack is one of the top tight ends in the country and will take his game to Notre Dame next year. But that's only part of his athletic resume.

The rare freshman who started at both quarterback and shortstop, Koyack was a state champion in the javelin last year. Koyack has played quarterback, tight end, defensive end, linebacker and wide receiver for the Oilers.

"He's 6-5, 235, runs a 4.5 and can throw the ball 70 yards," Oil City coach Matt LaVerde said. "Ben's just a really good athlete in whatever he does."

Since he was a little boy, Koyack has invariably been the biggest, strongest and fastest on the field. At the major Division I level, that won't necessarily be the case anymore. While, as LaVerde put it, "when he goes up against a big, 240-pound kid, he just destroys him," Koyack is committed to showing that intensity against even the most overmatched of defenders.

"I'm definitely concentrating on making sure I go my hardest every play, regardless of how big the big the guy across from me is," Koyack said. "I know I'll be doing that at the college level."

When Notre Dame hired coach Brian Kelly away from Cincinnati, Koyack was able to have the school with both the academics and offensive scheme he preferred.

"He was interested in Notre Dame as a school, and he liked Cincinnati's offense from watching them on TV," LaVerde said. "Once Coach Kelly took the job at Notre Dame, Ben was able to commit pretty quick."

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