April 24, 2009
By Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information
Tight end Nathan Overbay may come from a baseball family, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a force to be reckoned with on the football field for the Eastern Washington University football team.
Overbay is the nephew of Major League Baseball player Lyle Overbay of the Toronto Blue Jays. Lyle is in his ninth MLB season -- his fourth with the Blue Jays -- and is hitting .282 in his career with 89 home runs.
Nathan himself was an accomplished baseball player at W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Wash., earning honorable mention All-Pac-9 honors as a junior and senior as an outfielder and pitcher. But where Overbay really excelled was on the gridiron.
As a high school senior in 2005, he caught 81 passes for 1,485 yards and hauled in 17 touchdowns. Fast forward to 2009, and Overbay has turned into a 6-foot-5, 270-pound professional football prospect. In his first three seasons as an Eagle, Overbay has appeared in 31 games and has 42 catches catches for 601 yards and with six touchdowns.
Overbay will be playing in the the annual Red-White Game this Saturday (April 25), beginning at 2 p.m. The game is followed by the Orland Killin Dinner, Dance and Auction taking place at 4:30 p.m. in partnership with the Michael Roos Foundation. Limited tickets are still available for $75 each by calling 509-359-2463. Overbay and his Eagle teammates will conclude spring practices every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday through April 30.
Q: How big is baseball in your family and were you pressured or did you ever think about playing in college?
A: "Baseball is huge in my family and all of us have played. I was not really pressured to play baseball but I always wanted to take after Lyle (Overbay) and follow him in what he did. But things happen the way they do. I love football and glad I made the move to play football instead of baseball."
Q: What are you looking to improve on most in this upcoming season?
A: "The thing I need to improve on is being more aggressive when I block and trust the things I have been taught."
Q: What would you say is your best attribute at tight end?
A: "I feel that I can do all the things a tight end needs to do -- catch, run and block -- so I can always stay on the field."
Q: What has been your best football moment in your four years at Eastern so far?
A: "The playoff win against McNeese State in 2007."
Q: How are your spring practices going so far?
A: "Spring is going really good. There are a lot of younger kids and they are really looking good at their positions."
Q: Who is one player on the EWU roster right now that fans may not have heard about yet that will end up being a star?
A: "(Wide receiver) Nick Edwards is an up-and-coming player. People will hear a lot about him -- he is very good and can make plays. He is fast for his size, has great hands and can block on the outside. He has a chance to make a difference next year for us and take the pressure off of Aaron (Boyce) and the other wide outs."
Q: Do you have any personal goals or team goals for the upcoming season?
A: "I would like to improve everything I did last year and just be more consistent in what I do as a tight end. As a team, we just want to win one game at a time and take it one week at a time."
Q: What is your favorite aspect of football?
A: "I just love the hitting and being part of a huge family with the players and coaches. I just love the game."
Q: Who has been your favorite professor at EWU and why?
A: "Doug Mitchell. He just tells it how it is and you can relate to a lot of what he says."
Q: What is one interesting fact about you not too many know about you?
A: "I have a lot of watches and pairs of shoes."
Q: What are your plans for after you are done at EWU?
A: "My plans are to see where football takes me, and then I would like to be a police officer in Washington or Oregon. I would also like to coach when the time comes."