There are very few football families like the Olsens.
University of Miami football fans know former Hurricane tight end Greg Olsen best. Greg was a star at UM and would go on to play on Sundays in the NFLU. He was selected by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft and spent four years with the Bears.
Before the 2011 season Greg was traded to the Carolina Panthers where he joined another former Hurricane TE in Jeremy Shockey and was coached by yet another former UM TE in Rob Chudzinski who serves as the Panthers' offensive coordinator. All Greg did in 2012 was set a new Panthers receiving record for tight ends, which we hear made his coach very proud.
Greg's older brother Christian Olsen was talented enough to be offered a scholarship to attend Notre Dame in 2002. He originally signed with the Irish but would later transfer to the University of Virginia where he was a back-up QB for the Cavaliers from 2004-2006 and was named a team captain for the '06 season.
Now it is Greg's younger brother Kevin Olsen (seen below wearing #19 at the UAAA game practice) that is stepping into the spotlight for the University of Miami. Kevin, a highly rated QB from Wayne Hills, New Jersey (#65 in the ESPN top 50), has verbally committed to "The U" and will now become part of the Olsen legacy at Miami.
Here is what Gerry Hamilton from 247 Sports had to say about Kevin Olsen's performance in practice this week in Orlando: "The Miami commitment impressed with his overall command again on day two, along with his compact release and ability as a natural passer. Despite a breeze at times during the workout, the 6-foot-2.5, 190-pounder made sure throws in the intermediate game, and down the field in general. He also showed impressive pocket presence in the team portion of the practice."
Kevin had a challenging 2012 season after breaking his foot in the first game of his senior season and missing several games in what would be his father's final season. That's right, in case you didn't know, Kevin was being coached by his father Chris Olsen who ended a very successful 38 year high school coaching career at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
Chris was on hand as one of the volunteer coaches at the Under Armour All-American game practices in Orlando as was Kevin's mother Sue Olsen. I had the chance to casually chat with her about the Olsen football family and Kevin's choice to attend Miami.
Our conversation reminded me about when UM head coach Al Golden talks about recruiting "not just the player, but the entire family" he is talking about a family like the Olsens.
"It was Kevin's choice all the way" Sue Olsen said. "Sure we always loved Miami and we loved it when Greg was there. We offered some guidance but it was completely Kevin's decision to go to Miami. He was fortunate to have many offers and opportunities and could have gone to many different schools. But he went on an official visit to UM and just fell in love with the campus."
She continued, "I mean even the weather is great. Being from New Jersey where it is cold and there is snow on the ground right now we are standing here in Orlando wearing T-shirts and just loving it! But most importantly, Kevin loves Al Golden and has a really good relationship with the offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. We know he will be successful at Miami."
We talked about the recent ESPN special about Greg Olsen and his newborn son's struggle with a heart defect at birth that would require several surgeries. "ESPN just did a fantastic job. It was a very sensitive subject and an extremely difficult time for our family. Kevin was injured, it was Chris's last season as head coach after 38 years and Greg was dealing with the medical issues surrounding his son. But everyone from ESPN was very professional and made Greg and his wife feel comfortable sharing their personal stories."
She brought up Greg's relationship with fellow former Hurricane and Chicago Bears teammate Devin Hester. "They were very close and became good friends both at Miami and in Chicago. Even after Greg was traded to Carolina last year they have stayed in touch. They still talk all the time."
With Kevin committed to Miami and his father Chris now retired from coaching, Sue (a retired teacher) told me that the Olsens plan on spending a lot of time in South Florida over the next few years attending UM football games and enjoying the warm weather.
We can't wait to see them at our Canespace tailgate parties and to see their son play for the Hurricanes while wearing the familiar "U" on his helmet.
You see, with the Olsen's, just like at The U, football is all in the family.