Focus '06: Minnesota OL Matt Carufel

"I'd say my aggressiveness is my best strength, especially in this past year when I gained a lot of strength and realized that when I became the aggressor, I have the ability to dominate. I really began to make my downfield blocks, and just finish blocks altogether." Those are the words of Minnesota junior offensive line prospect Matt Carufel, teammate of 2005 Iowa commit Rafael Eubanks. In this 2006 update, Matt talks about his visits to Iowa and his recruitment in general.

It seems every year when considering the top offensive lineman in the midwest, you have to give Cretin-Durham a strong look. In the past, we've seen Ryan Harris (Notre Dame), Scott Stephenson (Iowa State), and just this past year we witnessed Rafael Eubanks (Iowa).

In the Class of 2006, perhaps no lineman in the midwest will be as highly regarded as Matt Carufel, who received scholarship offers from Iowa and Minnesota as a junior.

"I have offers right now from Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin," said Carufels. "I'm also receiving strong interest from Michigan, Notre Dame, Miami(FL), and Ohio State. I have taken three visits previously to Iowa, and visited Minnesota just the other weekend. I'm planning on making a trip to Wisconsin on March 5th."

Carufel made his first visit to Iowa City to watch the Hawks host the Ohio State Buckeyes. He returned for a second visit to watch them defeat Wisconsin to earn part of the Big Ten championship.

"The first visit all I really received was a tour of the facilities, but the second visit was a real special feeling. I got to see them defeat Wisconsin, and then Rafael and I got to go down to the locker room. The Big Ten trophy literally was walked right past us, and we got to touch it. The whole team was out of their mind for what they had just accomplished."

"On my third trip, it all become a bit more personal being there without Rafael," continued Carufel. "I got to sit right next to Coach Ferentz, and chat with him during the game about any concerns and etc."

Carufel walked away believing the hype.

"Everyone talks about how great of a guy he is, and that is why it is such a great program. That was so true as I couldn't even have imagined I was talking with a big-time million dollar head coach. It just feels like a big family down there," said Carufel.

Despite his praise for the Hawkeyes, Carufel certainly is not a lock.

"I'm certainly not attached to Iowa," stated Carufel. "I've got to go through this whole process, myself, and come away making an informed decision."

One program certain to recieve a lot of consideration from the Carufel family will be the Minnesota Gophers, who badly felt the loss of Eubanks this past year.

"Coach Browning, the offensive tackles coach, has let me know how important he feels I am and how much he believes I belong in the Minnesota program. Hey, they are right in the backdoor, which some consider important when choosing a school, and it's not like they haven't made any bowl games. I have a lot of interest in Minnesota, right now," said Carufel.

Speaking of Eubanks, Carufel warns Hawkeye fans to not gain the perception that Eubanks is just another wide body.

"Rafael is a pretty athletic kid," said Carufel laughingly. "We are the same weight, and we ran each other in the forty yard dash last summer, we were stride for stride. It kind of upset me as just looking at him I thought I'd win the race. He is real agile compared to most lineman, and has real good footwoork."

Lastly, Carufel says he has no timetable in making a decision.

"I'm going to make my decision whenever I know that I'm ready to do so," added Carufel, who carries a 3.7 GPA. "I don't have any date set on when I make my decision as I'm just leaving my door open to all options right now."


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