Sam Webb: Before we talk about recruiting, just kind of look back over the season and tell me how it went for you. I know you had some big goals about improving your game. How do you think things went for you on the football field this past year?
Sam Mustipher: "Definitely reached some of the goals I set for myself, but the most important goal is to get back to a WCAC championship with my team, and win another one. We got the four-peat under our belt this year, first team in the Washington area ever to go wire to wire four years in a row as the number one team, so that’s a great accomplishment for my team. A few of my other teammates, they also improved their game, and right now the way I feel and the way I see it, the sky’s the limit for us. We have four returning on our offensive line; our whole defensive line is returning, so people are sleeping on us; they see DeMatha as the favorite next year. They see different team in Maryland, and nobody’s really giving us respect right now, but I have confidence in my team, and I also have confidence in those other teams, and I’m interested to see how things shape up next year."
Sam Webb: When we talked back in the winter, you were a guy who said ‘hey, I’m playing on both sides of the ball, offense and defense’. Was that the case for you this past year as well?
Sam Mustipher: "Early on during the season I would play defense in key games. I played the first half of Gilman game on defense, and against Bishop Gorman I got in on defense a few series. It was just two series where they needed somebody to go in on defense, and I would go in, because Coach (Bob) Miloy is more of an offensive type guy, so he’s like ‘we need to rest our left tackle.’ I understood."
Sam Webb: You were 6-3, 280-lbs last January. Where are you now, height and weight-wise?
Sam Mustipher: "6’4”, 285-lbs."
Sam Webb: So where do things kind of stand for you now from a recruiting standpoint, like how many offers do you have right now?
Sam Webb: How did you find out about the offer? How did you get word that Michigan was ready to extend the scholarship to you?
Sam Mustipher: "Actually, Coach Mallory came down to my school two weeks ago, and he called today, well, I had to call him, so when I spoke to him, he told me, he was kind of like ‘you know, I can’t contact you’, and when we’re in school, he can’t tell me directly to my face, like ‘you have the offer’. Really I’m only supposed to introduce myself, so when we were on the phone today, he just confirmed it, he was just like ‘I wanted you to know that when we talked before, I just wanted to confirm and let you know that you had the offer’. You know, it’s kind of complicated with the NCAA rule and things like that, so it was definitely nice. He spoke to me about a bowl game, getting down there, so I’ll definitely stay in touch with him, call him. He said he’ll come down once a week during January, and I’ll probably call him, like once a week or every other week."
Sam Webb: That's an impressive offer list that consists of a number of teams that have Good Counsel guys on them. I know it’s early for you, but is that something that you’re really going to look at… the fact that there are so many schools where you have guys that you know going there already? Clemson, Maryland, Michigan, Florida… there are Good Counsel guys at all those schools.
Sam Mustipher: "Yeah, I mean, it definitely helps. Actually, I was talking to my trainer the other day, and he was asking me about the recent Florida offer, and he was like, ‘you know you have Jelani Jenkins there. Have you thought about calling him up and seeing how he likes it down there?’ So, things like that for me, the connections I have, I can call different guys, and be like ‘alright’, and they’ll be real with me as far as that standpoint goes. Like, a coach can tell you whatever he wants to tell you, he can feed you whatever you want to hear, but you know, these guys are – I played football with these guys, they’ve become like brothers, so you know, when I talk to them and ask them ‘what’s the deal with this school; do you like it down there, and how is it?’ And then when I got on my visits, I can go hang out with them while I’m down there, so that’s nice too."
SamWebb: How much have you talked to Blake Countess about Michigan?
Sam Mustipher: "I talked to him when he came down for homecoming, but other than that, I haven’t really talked to him, but his little brother, he’s trying to sell me on it even more than Blake does, so I’ll be at school and his little brother will be decked out in Michigan gear, and he’ll be like ‘Sam, you need to join the crew’. Yeah, so when I was up at the Ohio State v Michigan game, he was texting me during the game telling me ‘you look good in the blue and gold’."
Sam Webb: What do you think about Michigan currently? What do you know about the Wolverines?
Sam Mustipher: "It’s a great school, academic-wise, football-wise, it doesn’t get much better than that. They’re competing in one of the top conferences in the country, I don’t know if conferences really mean anything now with all the realignments, but Maryland is moving into it, Rutgers is moving into it so that gets them in the DC area, and then the New York area as well. I just have a feeling that conference is going to expand, and we’ll probably get a lot more variety of players from different areas. The tradition is something special. I love the way they were going with the direction of the offense. Offensive line-wise, I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that. I mean, you have one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL right now who’s coming from that school in Jake Long, so you know, I watch his games, try to use some of the moves he uses when he plays on Sundays, so it’s a great school, definitely one I’m going to consider."
Sam Webb: Do you anticipate visiting Michigan before the summer, or is that something that’s going to have to wait until the summer months?
Sam Mustipher: "No, I plan on visiting them before the summer. I would love to get to a spring practice, and go to team meetings, and things like that, get a feel for how the coaches and players interact. That would be something I would be very interested in."
Sam Webb: How about this, you have some schools that offered you long before Michigan. Have any of those schools kind of started to stand out with you? Not to say that you have any one leader, but do you have a top group, and if so, where does Michigan fit into the picture for you?
Sam Mustipher: "No, no top group right now. Kind of waiting to see if I get any more offers, that’s the hope, that I do. I mean, the more options the better, so I’ll wait to see if I get any more offers, but I mean, right now, Michigan is one of the top programs in the country, so you know, they’re always going to be a good option. Coach Hoke is a great coach; Coach Mallory’s been down to my school a lot, so I’ve gotten to really know him. The close connection with the Countess family, that definitely helps a lot, so I feel like those are all factors that are going to play into my recruitment as far as Michigan goes. They’re in good standing with me right now, and I hope it stays that way."
Sam Webb: Have you and your parents kind of sat down and game planned your timeline? I mean, are you going to want to wait until after your senior year to make a decision? Are you going to want to do it before your senior year? Signing day? Have you guys kind of talked about that yet?
Sam Mustipher: "You know, I was hoping to make it maybe during my senior year. I have a feeling there’s going to be one of those spontaneous type things where I just know when it feels right. I’ll have it probably in my mind already set about where I want to go, then sometime early spring hopefully I’ll come out with a top ten, narrow it down to five at the beginning of summer, and then just go from there. I have to be respectful each and every school that recruited me during this process. So, you know, throughout the process I’ll be thinking about it. It’s definitely crossed my mind, but I have a feeling I’ll wait until my senior year. I’m not – with the signing day and all that, like, I don’t need all that attention, so actually I might end up just making a quiet commitment, letting people gradually know as time goes on."