Connellsville native has a passion for football
Jared Ozias is a young football player, but he definitely knows what it takes to be successful on the field.
Ozias, a soon-to-be seventh grader at Connellsville Junior High, recently attended the Dermontti Dawson Football Camp, a four-day camp hosted by the former Steelers center and Pro Football Hall of Famer.
The camp at Robert Morris focused on fundamental drills and agility training for players at various age levels.
Ozias not only participated in the camp, he excelled. Ozias earned the Outstanding Linebacker Award for his age group.
“They split us up by age groups,” Ozias said, noting that he took part in the 10-13 grouping.
“I was with the quarterbacks and linebackers. I'm better on defense, and I like it more.”
Ozias, 12, is a product of the Connellsville Booster Football League. He has played the past five seasons for the ICV Mountaineers.
This year, he'll be making the jump from the Connellsville Booster League to competition at the junior high level. Ozias is looking forward to the new competition, and he certainly has a linebacker's mentality.
“I like just crushing people and being able to read the quarterback,” Ozias said. “You have to know what everybody is doing and help everybody get to where they need to be.”
Ozias explained that in addition to Dawson, other Steelers on hand for the event were wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, defensive end Cameron Heyward and tight end David Paulson. Various college and high school coaches were also working with the players at the camp.
Ozias did some drills as a quarterback, but his heart is on the defensive side of the ball. Still, spending time under center may have helped him learn a valuable lesson in his development as a linebacker.
“As a quarterback, you have to fake out defenses, so it helps a linebacker to be able to read a quarterback's eyes,” Ozias said.
Ozias has a love of football, but he doesn't limit himself when it comes to other sports. He also enjoys baseball and has played shortstop and second base in the Dunbar Little League. He is also a talented wrestler and earned a top-four finish in at least three tournaments as a 90-pound grappler for the Connellsville Junior Olympic program during the 2012-13 season.
He has other hobbies as well.
“I like to swim and read, and I like to watch the Steelers,” Ozias said.
His favorite players are (former wide receiver) Hines Ward and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.