It’s an unusually breezy, cloudy Saturday morning in early September. Tents are lined up in the parking lot of the southwest entrance of Ohio Stadium.
It’s the calm before the big storm: the Ohio State football team’s home opener vs. Hawaii.
Within hours, the tents are filled with tailgaters covered in scarlet and gray or green and black resembling the team being cheered. Speakers are on, bumping hype music to prepare fans for intense cheering.
Among the crowd, opposite the southwest entrance, is 23-year-old red-bowtie-wearing Isaac Oyer, also known as Mr. Ohio State. He acquired the nickname Mr. Ohio State after receiving screen time on national television during the OSU vs. Alabama Sugar Bowl game in January.
“People I didn’t even know would message me. The amount of Twitter notifications, text messages and Facebook messages I got from people being like ‘dude you’re all over TV’ was unbelievable,” Oyer said.
By 10 a.m on Saturday, Oyer was with his crew of friends joking around before leading his peers into the ‘Shoe for work. His job is more fun than tough. He’s the president of OSU’s Block “O” student section.
“I’m in charge of basically the whole organization, making sure everyone is doing their job … and honestly just to make it the best experience we can for our student athletes,” Oyer said.
Block “O” is the official student section of OSU athletics. The organization is made up of an executive board and committees for all sports teams.
Being from Springfield, Virginia, and in a brand new element in Columbus, Julia Schwabenbauer, a third-year in business, said Block “O” helped her get accustomed to life at OSU.
“I didn’t know a lot of people coming from out of state, but standing in Block “O” I felt super-connected to the school,” Schwabenbauer said. “I became friends with everyone around me. It felt like home.”
Becoming the president of Block “O” was unexpected for Oyer. With no family ties to OSU, he didn’t pay attention to Buckeye sports teams, nor did he ever see sports in his future, despite being a three-sport athlete in high school.
“I actually wasn’t an Ohio State fan growing up in Columbus. Neither of my parents went to Ohio State. After coming here, I don’t know, Buckeye Nation takes over you,” Oyer said.
He said his plan was always to attend OSU to get a degree in engineering so he could follow in his father’s footsteps, but his plan didn’t go accordingly.
“I wasn’t really doing well with my chemical engineering and chemistry classes. I was really struggling. (My) GPA was super low,” Oyer said.
After struggling with his then-major, he did some thinking as to where he’d want to end up later in life.
“I never thought sports would be a thing, and even being in Block “O,” heavily involved in Block “O,” I never thought of sports. And then after struggling with engineering for so long and being into sports as I am, it clicked,” he said.
Things clicked for Oyer when he realized he should get involved in the sports world. Step one, he said, was to change majors from engineering to classics as a way to have an easier courseload. The next step was to focus on Block “O” and gain experience with internships to get real-world experiences.
“I knew a lot of people from the Blue Jackets, like in their front office, from playing hockey when I was like 5 or 6 years old … so I reached out to them and set up a meeting and kind of got me an internship with the Blue Jackets,” Oyer said.
Michelle Bucklew, marketing director for Block “O,” said she sees excitement through her friend Oyer.
“Obviously he gets a lot of TV time, but if you ever see him on TV, you know he’s excited about Ohio State, his job and what he’s doing,” said Bucklew, a fourth-year in marketing.
Though Oyer is always in the frontlines leading the pack to cheer for OSU athletics, Bucklew said he has not yet joined the superfan ranks attained by fans such as “The Big Nut” and “Buck-I-Guy.”
“I think he created an image for himself the last year or so, but I don’t know if it’s superfan material,” Bucklew said.
All in all, Oyer said things have come full circle from his time as a high-school sophomore aspiring to be a general manager for a sports team to now.
“It’s just nice doing something that I love,” he said.