RECRUITING: Q & A Session with Frank Cushing

SAN ANTONIO --- If Frank Cushing is grinning ear to ear these days, it's because his son Brian keeps turning heads everywhere he goes. Brian Cushing is a five-star linebacker who is expected to be the anchor for the East defense in Saturday's US Army All-American Bowl Game.

Gator spent a few minutes with Frank Cushing Thursday afternoon for a question and answer session that covered a variety of subjects including Brian's interest in Coach Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators.

Q: What is it like seeing your son participate amongst the best players in America in a game like this?

"I think it is an unbelievable happening. We never thought this would be happening as a seventh grader. With all the adversity he had going through high school, the injuries and just getting to the point he is right now with his size, weight and strength. He is self-driven and self-motivated, he did it all himself. He put on fifty pounds of muscle between his sophomore and junior years. When he started high school he was between 155 and 170 pounds. Now he is up to 235 and pushing 6-4. He is a gym rat, always working out and has his personal players."

Q: How about other sports?

He is an outstanding baseball player. I played college baseball at Seton Hall. He has a cannon of an arm from center field. We could talk about his speed all day. We sat down years ago and talked about baseball and football, but his best sport then was basketball. We knew he wasn't going to be 6-8, the doctors told us he would be between 6-2 and 6-4. Baseball up in the northeast, well it isn't Texas. So the odds of getting ahead playing baseball in the northeast aren't very good. So, we concentrated on playing football and he works at it all year long.

Q: How about his academics?

He is a good kid academically with a 3.3 average. He is solid. He's sound. Right now the biggest decision is trying to figure out what university or college to go to.

Q: Is location going to play a factor in the decision, and what other factors are there?

Well, that is part of the equation when you look at the prospects of a school. There are other things: the academics, the coaching, the opportunity to play there, the opportunity for the NFL. In my mind the most important thing is the academics. I am going to be very strict to that because even his high school coach told him that one play or one injury and you are just Joe Schmoe. That is what I am pushing him for and if he can go further in football, well God bless him.

Q: What about an intended major?

He is talking business and sports medicine.

Q: What about his college favorites?

USC, Miami, Florida, Notre Dame, Boston College and even Penn State. Over the next two weeks we will see. We are trying to get to USC, Florida, Virginia, along with Boston College. BC is only three and half hours away. We have seen Penn State. They have visited and it is a fantastic facility along with a legendary coach. We don't have much time. The clock is running. We are trying to get all of the officials set the end of the week.

Q: Tell us about the visit with Coach Meyer?

Urban Meyer … after the Heisman ceremony, we met him that Sunday. We had a family wedding and we met him at a hotel in North Jersey, close to the airport where he had the Gator jet. We sat down with Urban for three hours and had a fabulous conversation. Brian's coach knows him because he recruited Matt Lavecchio at Notre Dame, so that was the connection. We sat and had a fabulous conversation with Coach Meyer for three hours. There is a lot in common with all of us being Irish Catholic, very intense, very business-like. He is one terrific guy and coach. Very impressive and that is where a connection was made.

Q: Are depth charts and playing time going to weigh in the decision?

Yes that is part of the criteria. I think he can come in and be an impact player at all of those schools. The neat thing about Notre Dame is they have offered him a chance to play both ways. Coach Weiss has a couple of players at New England with the Patriots that already do it.

Q: What about his offensive abilities?

"He has the ability to do it that has been hidden until the end of the year. They finally gave him the ball and he had 633 yards in three games with nine touchdowns. He just tore the place apart. He is just a beast with the ball whether he is running with it or as a receiver. As a junior he touched the ball 17 times in 10 games and scored seven times. If he is going to get the ball he is going to go."

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is played in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome on Jan. 15, 2005, and broadcast nationally on NBC at 1 p.m. EST. is a sponsor, the official selection partner and exclusive on-line partner of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, as well as the associated U.S. Army Combine for underclassmen.

Brian Cushing

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