When Tyler Harrell got up from his seat in the cafeteria at Olde Sawmill Elementary last Thursday, six pairs of eyes followed his 6-foot, 4-inch frame as it unfolded skyward.

When Tyler Harrell got up from his seat in the cafeteria at Olde Sawmill Elementary last Thursday, six pairs of eyes followed his 6-foot, 4-inch frame as it unfolded skyward.


"He's so tall," said second-grader Saleh Kaei, who had just scored the autograph of the tight end on the Scioto High School football team.


Harrell, a senior at Scioto, and four of his teammates, along with head coach Karl Johnson, visited the Olde Sawmill students during their lunches Sept. 18. This was the second year for the visit, arranged by the social committee of the school's PTO.


The visit was a prelude to a cookout Friday night at Olde Sawmill before staff members, kids and their parents traveled to Scioto for that night's football game.


"It went great last year," said co-chair Debbie Dyson. "It really helped promote the kids coming to the high school game. We're trying to build camaraderie between the elementary school up to the high school and what better way then to have the football players come here. To our kids they are like giants."


"They are also role models," said Tyler Wolfe, Olde Sawmill's principal. "Our kids look up to the older kids a lot. It's nice for them to be able to interact with them."


"My kids don't see themselves in that role, but the younger kids do," Johnson said.


"It's neat having them here. I told him I could beat him in soccer," said first-grader Aidan Bunner, who was referring to senior kicker Rainer Duzan.


"It's really exciting being here and hanging out with these kids, particularly since I went to school here in third to fifth grade," Duzan said.
Second-grader Scotty Lininger spent his lunchtime getting autographs on his arm cast.


"It's neat meeting them. They're all my favorites," he said.


Senior lineman Jason Tiemeier said he can remember visits from the football team when he was a kid.


"When they came to my school they were like celebrities. Now it's my chance. In high school you don't get this kind of happiness like you used to. To see the joy on their faces is great," he said.


Harrell said he spent time telling the kids to "work hard and never give up."


"This is my first time doing this," he said. "It puts a smile on my face to see their enthusiasm. Seeing them so happy makes it all worthwhile."


Joining their teammates at Olde Sawmill were senior lineman Yuta Tsuji and junior fullback Alex Gordon.