Overstreet was diagnosed with Graves Disease during his senior season at Boyle County in 2002. That thyroid problem limited his play, especially early in the season. Just when he overcame that problem, he discovered he had a detached retina. The eye problem required several surgeries and he was not cleared to play football again until last spring.
"I didn't get released to lift weights and run until I went to college last August," Overstreet said. "Then I finally got released this spring to practice."
Overstreet made good use of his time off the field. He says he's not only "bigger, stronger and faster" than he was at Boyle, but that he took advantage of not playing last season to study Wake Forest's offensive line system from a different perspective.
"I tried to watch the team every day in practice and learn as much about the offense as I could," Overstreet said. "That was a big help for me because most freshmen just get on the scout team and really don't get to learn as much as I could by standing behind the huddle and watching our varsity practice."
Overstreet said spring practice gave him a "measuring stick" for what college football is like. He quickly learned he had to get stronger and faster.
His weight, which once reached 320 pounds, is down to 288. He's also improved by about 30 pounds in all his lifts.
"I was decently strong, but not as strong as I could have been considering the thyroid problem I had when I lost a lot of weight and strength," said Overstreet, a two-time all-state selection. "I put on weight after my eye surgery, but now I have added muscle. It's also helped that I only play one way now instead of both offense and defense like I did in high school. The college game is so complicated that you need to really concentrate every day on what you are doing."
Overstreet has had no regrets about coming to Wake Forest. He knew the football would be fine and is looking forward to his first game Sept. 4 against Clemson as well as future games against nationally ranked teams like Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech, Maryland and North Carolina State.
"Everything here has been great," said Overstreet, who spent most of the summer at Wake Forest attending summer school and working out with teammates. "The academics are highly regarded, which is one reason I wanted to be here.
"I have a pretty decent shot at getting playing time, too. I'm already on some special teams and our coaches like to rotate offensive linemen. Hopefully I can prove I deserve to be in that rotation."
Despite the physical problems he's endured the last two years, Overstreet said he never seriously considered not playing.
"I just took it one day at a time. I hinted around that I thought about quitting, but I never did," Overstreet said. "I always figured I would be fine. I'm competitive. There's no way I could just walk away from something I love. There are always going to be hurdles in life to overcome, so I just had to take things one day at a time and wait for everything to get better and it has."|None|***