Buckeyes Visit Their Biggest (Smallest) Fans - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/15/04-Gilmer

Buckeyes Visit Their Biggest (Smallest) Fans

When they're not hitting the books or the practice field, three teammates can be found visiting some of their favorite fans -- ones that go crazy every time.

"Who wants to be a Buckeye when they grow up?" Roderick McKnight, defensive tackle, asked a room full of 1st graders at Gilmer Elementary School.

The kids responded: "Me, me, me!"

McKnight, Matt and Ben Bryant have spent time reading to the kids this semester. And today, the 1st graders read back to them.

"Go Buckeyes," one of them read in a letter of appreciation. "We love you."

"It's great to have their support 'cause they mean the most to us out of everybody else," Ben, the younger of the two Bryant brothers and a defensive tackle-offensive lineman, said.

"We will pray for you," another girl read. "Buckeyes cannot be stopped. We love you. I'm 7 years old. I love you, too. Go buckeyes."

"That's so sweet," Matt, a left tackle-offensive lineman, said.

"That deserves a hug, don't it?" McKnight said. "Come here," he told the kids.

"When you're warming up out there on the field and then you hear one of the little kids say, 'Hey, there's Roderick McKnight,' you know, that just sends a warm feeling inside, and it's just wonderful," he said.

The children gave the players their weight-training for the day, asking the young men to lift the little ones up over their heads. And aspiring Buckeye cheerleaders put on a mini pep rally.

"When you're ticked when somebody gives you a cheap shot, a lot of times, you might want to get up and get right back in their face and maybe duke it out," Matt said. "Well, you think about that little kid, and you're like, no, I can't do that."

It's words of encouragement from voices and faces like these that these young men will remember when they're fighting for a state championship this Saturday.

No doubt some of the kids and other Buckeye fans will be at tomorrow night's pep rally. It's at Gilmer High School's New Gym at 7 p.m. KLTV will be there handing out customized Buckeye spirit towels.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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