Terrell West is only 11 years old, but he's old enough to know that getting to take part in the Ohio State football youth camp is a golden opportunity for a youngster.

Terrell West is only 11 years old, but he's old enough to know that getting to take part in the Ohio State football youth camp is a golden opportunity for a youngster.

"The coolest thing about it is, I've never actually been to a college stadium," West said after yesterday's session in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. "This is a new experience for me in life, and I love it."

Such comments were music to the ears of William White, a standout defensive back at Ohio State in the mid-1980s who went on to spend 11 seasons in the NFL.

White, 46, serves as a celebrity spokesman for a Columbus Recreation and Parks Department program for youths from low-income families.

Rather than be a spokesman yesterday, however, White's role was fill-in chauffeur as he transported a dozen youngsters to and from the camp, which ends today with a session in Ohio Stadium.

Among his passengers was Terrell, one of 49 youngsters on scholarship for this session of Urban Meyer's first camp as Ohio State's coach.

"I made them all understand when we started (Monday), all these other 600 kids in this session, they paid $500 or so to be here, and you guys are getting to come here for free, so appreciate it," White said. "They all got really big eyes, and I told them, 'That's why you need to work extremely hard.'

"But these are good kids. There was a criteria set forth, and they all met it."

Chosen by the directors at city recreation centers, the scholarship winners had to have at least a B average in school, White said, and be involved in community work through programs at the centers.

"These kids, they're me. It was parks and rec that kept me out of trouble growing up (in Lima), getting involved in programs in the summer, keeping me busy doing something that was structured," White said.

The program he's involved in, Champions for PLAY (Private Leisure Assistance for Youth), holds a benefit golf tournament each May. The proceeds fund grants that allow children to participate in an assortment of activities such as art and photography workshops, museum visits, theatrical performances and outdoor-education programs.

Meyer spoke at the banquet this year. Afterward, he told White that he wanted "to do something with this," and he set a goal of putting 50 campers on scholarship. White jumped at the offer.

"We've got 49 this time - kids who met the criteria we're looking for," he said. Scholarships are available only for students in eighth grade or lower, per NCAA rules, White said.

Former OSU coaches John Cooper and Jim Tressel attended the banquet in years past, "and to see that coach Meyer wanted to get involved, too, and make a difference in the community, that's special," White said.

Meyer said yesterday that he sees the scholarships as just the beginning.

"We've started to have conversations about a mentoring-type program," said Meyer, who was part of a similar program in his previous coaching job, at the University of Florida. "I wanted to do some here, but I don't know all the people yet."

Meyer thinks the experience for the kids is "absolutely priceless."

Another of White's passengers, 11-year-old Curtis Bush of Columbus, said there is much to like about the camp.

"It is very cool," he said. "We got to meet some of the Ohio State players, and we got to meet Urban Meyer. He seems like he's a good person."