RECRUITING: Gators Pursue Big Minnesota OL

In the normally cold stretches of the state of Minnesota lies a beast of an offensive lineman that has college recruiters from the sun and snow calling to gain his services. Matt Carufel is a 6-5, 288-pound behemoth from St. Paul (MN) Cretin Derham Hall, the target of nearly every Division I coach nationwide including the Florida Gators.

Matt Carufel will be taking the next couple of months to narrow down his list of candidates for official visits in the fall. He told Gator Country that he is interested in Florida, but not so ready to cut down his options and make plans to visit Gainesville. As he was preparing for finals, we had a short conversation with him about the recruiting process, in particular how the Florida Gators rate among his many suitors.

"Yes sir, the Gators have offered," he said. "I am being recruited by the defensive line coach (and co-defensive coordinator) Greg Mattison and a little bit from (head coach) Urban Meyer. The phone is always ringing. I have 14 offers and just got the latest from Arkansas today."

He plans on having a final visit list set up by the end of summer and will go through that process with his parents over the next two months. He probably won't see many schools in person.

"It is going pretty good," he said about the overall recruiting process. "I am just in the process right now of sitting down and figuring out what the top five is going to be. I am looking at going to camp at USC, but I am not sure. If I don't do that, then I probably won't go to any camps."

He is a team player and a captain this year. He wants to be there for his team instead of taking road trips in the fall. Therefore he will wait until after his season to make his official visits.

"I will try and wait till late on my trips," he said. "I am a captain on my team and I need to be around for Saturday morning work outs after our games."

Carufel plays four different positions on the line, both guard and tackle spots at different times. His versatility makes him a huge commodity at the next level.

"Everyone on our line switches from the left to the right side depending on strength of the formation and depending on what we want to do with the ball," he said. "The reason I switch between guard and tackle is because I am one of the better run blockers on the team. When we need yards I slide inside and grind it out, when we need to protect the quarterback I slide out to tackle."

The world of college football is fast approaching the star lineman and he is already making his list of things that he will be looking for in the college of his choice. As the choices grow more and more with each offer, the decision will get tougher. But he seems to be setting his priorities in order.

"I want to know how the football team is going to turn out, he said "I want to know about the depth chart, am I going to get lost if I play there. Definitely the biggest thing is the academics. Distance will not be a factor."

Redman Reaction: He is a very bright sounding man with his head on straight. Carufel should be one of the elite offensive linemen in the country this year. We will call back in a couple of months and see if the Gators made the cut with their huge need on the offensive line.


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