It turns out that one of the motivators behind Jake Butt’s football career was a Buckeye.
Butt, who was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the NFL draft, posted a letter he wrote in sixth grade on Instagram this week. In the note, the Pickerington, Ohio, native thanked an Ohio State football staffer who addressed Butt’s class on career day in May 2007.
“Now I’m sure what I truly want to be when I grow up, a pro football player,” Butt wrote. “After you came into talk to us about what it’s like, I know it’s gonna be a lot harder (than I) thought to reach my goal, but I’m going to try my hardest.”
A family friend just dropped this off and man it's a hell of a gift. This was at the end of my 6th grade year during career day almost 10 years ago. A classmate of mine brought his dad in, who was part of Jim Tressels staff at the time. This was after my first year of playing football. He spoke on what it takes to become a successful student athlete and play at the college level. I still remember that speech like it was yesterday and carry many of the lessons with me through everyday life. Here we are 10 years later and he returned my thank you letter as a gift. Mr Gillum, thank you for helping me spark a career long before I had any idea what the game would mean to me.
The letter appears to have been sent to Greg Gillum, an Ohio State staffer under former coach Jim Tressel. Butt, of course, went up north and played for the Buckeyes’ archrival for four seasons and turned into one of the best tight ends in the nation.
His draft stock took a hit after he tore an ACL in the Orange Bowl, but sixth-grade Jake would still be very proud.