Peter Gwilym, the 2010 Fitzpatrick Trophy winner from Cheverus, had his choice of colleges after graduating from high school with high honors. He considered playing Division III football at Bates or Colby, or at Division II Bentley.

Instead, Gwilym went with his heart and chose Ohio State.

“I’ve been a Buckeyes fan my whole life,” said Gwilym, whose paternal grandparents both graduated from Ohio State.

When Gwilym picked Ohio State, most figured that was the end of his football career. Not so.

Gwilym recovered from a shoulder injury suffered in the Lobster Bowl after his senior season, and made the Buckeyes as a walk-on as a sophomore.

On Monday night, Gwilym will be in uniform (No. 87) when the Buckeyes (13-1) play Oregon (13-1) for the national championship, the first under college football’s new playoff format. Gwilym, a senior wide receiver from Freeport, hasn’t played in a game this season and won’t play against Oregon.

Still, he has contributed to the success of the team over the past three seasons by helping the starters in practice as a member of the scout team.

“I’ve worked hard and made a place for myself on the scout team,” Gwilym said during an interview by phone last week. “I play wide receiver and run their plays.”

Even though he won’t play Monday night, Gwilym is as jacked as any of the starters about the matchup with a fast and talented Oregon team.

“I can’t wait for Monday night,” said Gwilym. “I couldn’t draw it up any better, that’s for sure. I love going to school here. The football has made it awesome. The national championship game is a culimination of an experience I’ll never forget.”

Gwilym said if he had gone to the other schools he was looking at, he probably would have played four years, but, “It wouldn’t have been as exciting.”

ENJOYING THE EXPERIENCE

The Buckeyes list 106 players on their roster. Approximately 80 will dress for the title game. Gwilym is one of 25 walk-ons, not all of whom are in uniform for games.

Gwilym didn’t play in any games his sophomore year, but saw action in two games his junior season – against Florida A&M (a 76-0 win) and Penn State (a 63-14 win). He was on the field for six plays against the Nittany Lions. Asked if he had any passes thrown to him, Gwilym said, “We were running the ball at that point.”

His high school coach, John Wolfgram, has remained close to Gwilym and his parents. Wolfgram attended this year’s game against Michigan at Ohio State where all the seniors were honored before the game. Gwilym’s parents, Jim and Jennie, were on the field with their son in front of 106,000 spectators.

“It’s really kind of unbelievable what Peter has accomplished,” said Wolfgram. “He doesn’t have exceptional size or speed like great athletes, but Peter has a huge competitive spirit and he wanted to play at the highest level.”

Gwilym has been a part of a program that has gone 37-3 over three season (in 2012 Ohio State was 12-0 but ineligible for the postseason). This fall, he was named to the Big 10 All-Academic football team.

PART OF SOMETHING SPECIAL

And now the national championship.

The Buckeyes’ quarterback situation has been well-documented. Starter Braxton Miller injured his shoulder in preseason and was lost for the season. J.T. Barrett replaced him and set records before breaking his ankle against Michigan. Cardale Jones, who began the season as the No. 3 quarterback, replaced Barrett and led the team to a 59-0 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game and then a 42-35 win over Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

While admitting that it’s been fun to watch, Gwilym said he’s not surprised by Jones’ play.

“I think that anyone recruited to play quarterback here is going to be very good. Cardale has been around for three seasons. Cardale won the backup job to Braxton in spring practice. J.T. beat him out for the backup job in the fall. I wouldn’t want to make the decision on the starting quarterback.”

That falls to Coach Urban Meyer, who has built the Buckeyes into a facsimile of a Southeastern Conference team with tremendous speed at all positions.

“He’s a really good coach and a good motivator,” said Gwilym. “His teams are well prepared. Although we meet with our position coaches most of the time, I’ve been in meetings with Coach Meyer a lot.”

Although Gwilym has another year of eligibility and could be on the team next season, he has chosen to end his football career Monday night. He will graduate this spring with a degree in finance with a GPA slightly above 3.5.

For Peter Gwilym’s Buckeye Biography, tap here.