High School Sports

Irmo QB making up ground

(August 2009) Irmo head coach Bob Hanna, left, talks with quarterback David Olson during practice.
(August 2009) Irmo head coach Bob Hanna, left, talks with quarterback David Olson during practice. gmelendez@thestate.com

David Olson has taken the adage of making the best of your given opportunities and turned it into his personal motto.

The Irmo senior quarterback is in his first year of starting on the varsity level but that hasn't kept him off the radar of several Division I recruiters.

Olson used the summer before his final season to make a name for himself.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-hander took a tour of the Southeast and went to camps at North Carolina, N.C. State, East Carolina, Wake Forest, Tennessee and Florida State. He impressed coaches enough at those stops that they wanted to see game film on him as soon as it was available.

"A lot of quarterbacks already have offers before their senior season so I knew I had to go out and do the best I could against good competition," Olson said as the Yellow Jackets (4-1, 1-0) prepared to face Aiken on Friday. "I wanted to make the most of my spring and summer, and I think I did that."

Olson doesn't have any offers on the table because of the lack of game film on him. Brian Hill was the quarterback for Irmo last year, and Olson had to wait to take the reins. Now that the season is nearing the halfway point, Olson has sent out film. What it has shown is a player who directs an explosive offense and protects the ball - two characteristics that impress recruiters.

Olson is 41-for-82 for 518 yards and eight touchdowns. More important, he has yet to throw an interception or lose a fumble.

"He's a highly intelligent football player," Irmo coach Bob Hanna said. "He's got a good, strong arm and has great pocket presence. He knows what to do with the football in pressure situations. He is probably the best pure passer we've had since Todd Cunningham played here."

The sudden burst on the scene shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who knows the Olson family.

His dad, Bruce Olson, was a quarterback at Minnesota and his older brother, Aram Olson, signed with Ohio State as a part of the 2006 recruiting class. His brother's college career ended before it got on track because of a navicular stress fracture in his foot, a condition that makes it impossible to play football.

David Olson observed the recruiting process for his brother and hopes to use some of what he learned in his own process. Aram Olson was a highly sought-after prospect who started four years at fullback while at Irmo, so the circumstances are different.

"Aram had schools all over the country giving him offers," David Olson said. "My situation is different but just by watching what he went through has made me better prepared for this."

Last weekend, he went to N.C. State with his teammate, highlytouted running back Mustafa Greene. Playing with Greene, who is 16 yards shy of 1,000 yards in five games, has taken a lot of the focus off Olson.

Hanna believes someone will take a chance on Olson and will not regret it.

"David is a kid that has been in our feeder program for the last five years," Hanna said. "He's a leader and it's rare that we have someone named captain that didn't start the year before. We probably should throw it more because he throws a nice ball and doesn't put in danger. He's going to make someone a pretty good quarterback on the next level."