Catch Tavarez's Act, On and Off Field

Chris Tavarez

Chris Tavarez is one 17-year-old that has options after high school. He can play multiple positions on the football field, excelling as a linebacker at Westlake High School in Atlanta last season. He also has a 3.7 grade point average and has scholarship offers from two Ivy League schools. But he's also a talented young actor who will be featured in a Disney Channel movie later this year.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Tavarez said Tuesday that he has already received six scholarship offers and has been hearing from Oklahoma State in recent months.

"I get mail from Oklahoma State if not every day, it's every other day," said Tavarez, who had 120 tackles (60 unassisted), two fumble recoveries and a touchdown as a junior last season.

OSU assistant coach Glenn Spencer began corresponding with Tavarez in the spring and planned to watch him during Westlake's spring practice. However, Tavarez was in New Zealand for more than two months (he didn't return to his home in Atlanta until June 5) for the filming of "Avalon High" for the Disney Channel.

"I missed him so he said they'd probably be back to check me out during a two-a-days," Tavarez said. "He made it sound like they were really looking forward to seeing me in the spring and whether to offer or not.

"They haven't offered yet but I was getting the feeling they were going to do it in the spring but since they couldn't see me … Coach Spencer told me they want me at linebacker or because I've got great hips they could also see me playing safety."

Oklahoma State already has commitments from two linebackers (Demarcus Sherod from Decatur, Ga., and Nico Ornelas from Richland Hills, Texas) and one safety (Isaac Maselera of Glenpool, Okla.).

Tavarez said he has offers from Maryland, Duke, Tulane, Kentucky, Harvard and Princeton.

Does he want to play major college football or continue to pursue his acting career? Or both? "I can't really put my hand on which type of specific school I'm looking for. I'm just looking for a school basically that will be a second home, a home away from home. I'm looking for a place where the coaches want me for me, specifically as a student-athlete and not just my (football) skills," said Tavarez.

"The whole acting thing won't be a factor. I'm getting scholarships to college for football, and not acting. I may try to do a little acting but it'll be secondary to my playing football. I'm an academics first guy, and academics will come first for me. Whatever choice I make I just want a school where the coaching staff understands that and supports that," added Tavarez, who carries a 3.7 GPA and scored 1330 when he took the SAT as a sophomore (he plans to retake it this fall).

Tavarez says it would be difficult to decide between football and acting? "There's not one that is more than the other. I have a passion for both of them. I started football about the same time I started acting when I was younger. It's kind of a toss up. I'm going to try to ride both of them as long as I can," he said.

He got into acting after starting out as a child model when he was 5 years old. He was just 12 years old (the youngest contest ever) when he appeared on the Discovery Kids network's "Endurance: Tehachapi" in the summer of 2005 (a kid's reality show similar to Survivor).

Several years ago he had three lines at the beginning of the "Big Momma's House 2" movie starring Martin Lawrence. He also will appear in three episodes this fall of "Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns" on TBS this fall.

But Tavarez got the biggest break of his young acting career when he was cast to play the role of Lance, the best friend of one of the movie's main characters, in the Disney Channel movie.

"At first they were looking for kids in Los Angeles and they couldn't find any that fit the character, so they decided to check out Atlanta. I auditioned and they loved me but they said, ‘We love you but is there any chance you play football?' I showed them my highlight tape and they thought I was perfect," he said.

Tavarez says much of the movie is based on Avalon High School's football team and star quarterback Will Wagner. But the theme follows the character Allie Pennington as a new student at the high school, and she is shocked to learn that many of her new classmates are reincarnations of King Arthur and his Court.

Chris Tavarez highlight video

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