RECRUITING: Wenger Gets Offer From Florida

A funny thing happened to Daniel Wenger on the way home from spring football practice at St. Thomas Aquinas Thursday evening. His cell phone went off and there was a text message from Florida offensive line coach John Hevesy.

"The UF offensive line coach was actually at our practice," Wenger recalled. "After practice I received a text message on my cell phone and it was the o-line coach asking me to call Coach (Urban) Meyer and himself after. I talked to Coach Meyer and he said, 'I talked to the o-line coach, Coach Hevesy, and he liked everything he saw and the way you played and we want to offer you a full scholarship.' He congratulated me for my achievements and told me to keep my grades up and everything else. He said they look forward to recruiting me and keep my interest in UF."

While Wenger isn't ready to make a commitment yet, there's no question that he will "definitely consider" the University of Florida.

Every day is a whirlwind of recruiting activity at Aquinas, the Fort Lauderdale high school that boasts top notch academics to go with a powerhouse football program that yearly produces some of the top recruits in the country. Aquinas has an offensive line for 2005 that will have three Division I prospects. In addition to Wenger, who is a 6-4, 285-pound center, there are tackles Marcus Gilbert (6-6, 280) and Sam Young (6-7, 280). By some recruiting services, Young is the top high school player in the state of Florida for the recruiting class of 2006.

Wenger is getting his share of scholarship offers, so many that he can't keep up with all of them.

"I don't seriously know the number but there is a lot," said the 4.0 student who scored 1550 on his SAT.

Wenger tries to pattern his game after an NFL Hall of Famer. He has been playing center position for four years and this will be his third year to start in the middle of the line. His role model as a player is one of Pittsburgh's all-time greats.

"I am a big Steelers fan," he said. "So I liked Mike Webster from back in the old Super Bowl days."

Playing on an offensive line that has a couple of other big time players has its advantages. Wenger is the one who makes the line calls from the center position, but out at the tackles, he has a couple of bruisers who can handle just about anything.

Young, perhaps the most highly recruited offensive lineman in the country, is a real warrior who gets the job done.

"He is a good ball player," Wenger said of Young. "Good athletic ability. Just a big guy out there that takes on defensive ends."

As for Gilbert, Wenger says he's a bookend to Young and another big time player.

"He is pretty athletic and he is able to get off of people and keep his feet going," said Wenger.

As for his own skills, Wenger believes what is most noticed about his game is "my intelligence and ability to be quick off the ball and leg drive on the opponent."

While most colleges are recruiting Wenger as a center, he could also slide over and play guard. Wenger said he could handle either position. When it comes to where he plays he is flexible. When it comes to where he goes to school, the flexibility ends. He's got a priority list that any school that lands him will have to meet or exceed.

"Definitely education," he said of his top requirement. "The competition in the school there (is also very important). I also want to look at the number of linemen they recruited. I don't want to choose a school that last year just had a big year of recruiting linemen, because where am I going to fit in there?"

Wenger's favorite subject in school is math. In college he will likely major in business or sports management.

Daniel Wenger is and will be a hot commodity this recruiting season. The University of Florida has a huge need on the offensive line for the 2006 recruiting class and Wenger would certainly fit into their plans. Look for his recruitment to get hot and heavy before signing day.

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