College Football Junkie

An admitted college football junkie, Cottage Grove (Minn.) Park linebacker Tom Busch is enjoying the recruiting attention afforded to a big-time linebacker who is one of the state's top high schoolers.

The 5-foot-11, 230-pounder has no favorites and appears to be playing a field that includes Iowa State, Iowa, Minnesota and California, all of which have offered him scholarships.

"I have no idea where he's sitting," said Park High head coach Doug Ekmark. "He's very non-committal. He's really a college football fan and is looking forward to the recruiting process to visit some of these places that he's heard about so long."

Although he plans to hit a few Minnesota games this season and is planning a trip to Kansas State in the near future, Busch has taken particular interest in what's going on south of the border in Iowa. He has seen the Cyclones in action twice, once against Nebraska and the other when they faced Iowa, and will head to Ames next weekend to watch the Texas Tech game.

Busch has picked no favorites, but would have to say that both Iowa programs are currently at the top.

"There are no pro teams and that's probably why," said Busch. "People go crazy for college football. I don't have a leader, but I really do like the two Iowa schools. It might even come down to those two schools, to be honest. Those are two schools rated at the top of my list."

There are a few more reasons why ISU and Iowa rank so highly with Busch, and it starts at the top with the two coaches leading the respective programs.

"I love (the Iowa State) coaches and head coach. I think Coach McCarney is the best coach in the nation right now. My family and I think he's the best coach. I like that about them and their whole staff are great. I could kind of tell when I was down there that the team is close knit. I was in the locker room for a little bit and it seemed like a high school team with how close everyone was. I loved the atmosphere down there.

He added this about the Hawkeye staff: "I really like their coaches, too. Coach Ferentz is a great coach and motivator. I like the college football atmosphere in the state of Iowa. There is no professional team, so that's what everybody looks forward to. I couldn't even get into Iowa City for the Iowa game, because there were so many people coming in from all around Iowa."

Busch also had some positive things to say about Minnesota and Cal.

On Minnesota: "They're a home-town team," Busch said. "I wouldn't have to go too far away for school. The coaching staff is a plus. Really what I like about them is I wouldn't have to have my family driving far from home. It would be really convenient."

On California: "I like their new head coach and he's gotten them on the right track," Busch said. "They were ranked there for a week. They only won one game all of last year, so he's got them working pretty good. And it's in California and the San Francisco Bay area—you're not going to get a nicer place to be. I'm definitely taking an official visit there."

He will most likely end up playing inside linebacker at the Division I level, but Ekmark said not to underestimate Busch's ability to move around at the position.

"He's very physical and instinctive as a football player," Ekmark said. "The one strike against him is that he's not real tall. He's probably 5-11 at best, but plays like he's 6-4. He's not very tall, but is tremendously explosive and tremendous in the weight room. He legitimately benches over 400 pounds and has a 350-pound power clean. He did that as a junior in high school.

"I would think he's more of an inside linebacker, although he runs well too. We have timed him consistently in the 4.6 range. The best hand-held time I have gotten on him is 4.53. I know when Iowa State had him in camp they said they had him at 4.6. That's pretty fast."

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