George Bush (Sugar Land, Texas) two-way lineman Mbi Tanyi recently added his third offer from Houston, and May 9 he took his first trip to the Cougars' campus. While it rained most of the day, precluding Tanyi from seeing the entire school, the Texas lineman said it hardly put a damper on the visit.
"The visit went very well despite the rain," said the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Tanyi, who holds verbals from Maryland, Louisiana Tech and UH. "We didn't really get to tour the campus too much because it was pouring, but from what I can tell it looked nice. Then when I talked to Coach [Tony] Levine, I was very impressed. He was talking about how his student-athletes excel not only in football but I life. [Levine] was very passionate about education, and seemed to truly want his guys to do well in the classroom. And the rest of the staff, I could sense their energy and they seemed like great people to learn from."
Interestingly, Tanyi said Houston isn't sure exactly what side of the ball they want him on. Right now, the Cougars may be leaning towards offering him as a center, according to the Lone Star State product.
"Coach Levine asked me what position I preferred and I said defensive line," Tanyi said. "But coach was saying how he actually saw me as an NFL center one day and thinks I might fit well there. But he said most likely I'd have my choice and we'll see how I develop if I go there. We'll be talking more about that in the future."
Tanyi's thoughts on the Terps were fairly similar to those on the Cougars. He visited Maryland for the first time in early April for the spring game, and admitted he was close to committing. But after returning home he decided to wait a bit just to see what others suitors might emerge. Houston eventually came through, but Tanyi said he still thinks highly of UMD.
"Some things that really stood out about Maryland were how close the coaches are, the family environment there, and how Coach [Randy] Edsall is into his program and wants to develop men who will get great degrees and be ready for the real world," Tanyi said. "He really cares about his kids having good careers, and he wants the best for each and every individual. I also really liked the players and their hospitality towards me when I was there. Everyone I met was very welcoming and humble. The academics are terrific at Maryland, and they have a great pharmacy program as well."
Even so, Tanyi said his trek to Houston put the Cougars on par with his previously stated No. 1 suitor. When asked if either school held a slight edge, Tanyi responded by saying it was a true 50-50 split in his mind.
"Right now there are some things Maryland has that Houston doesn't have, and some things Houston has that Maryland doesn't have," Tanyi said. "There are some things rolling around in my mind, and I'd have to say it's pretty even between the two. There's some things I really have to look into and think about."
The George Bush lineman said the biggest different between the two schools is that Maryland plays in the Big Ten, while Houston is in Conference USA. Tanyi insisted the latter league didn't hurt the Cougars' chances, but admitted the Big Ten would be a great opportunity for him.
"I really think the Big Ten move is huge for Maryland, and [the Terps] have a chance to be competitive in that conference. It's a chance for me to compete at a higher level against great competition," said Tanyi, who UMD wants as a defensive tackle. "But then again, things could go north or they could go south for Maryland there. What happens if they go there and start losing? I'd like to see them play some games against those teams to see how they do.
"And Houston, Conference USA isn't at the Big Ten's level, but it's a good fit for them. From my knowledge, they've done very well in that conference and they go to bowl games. I know if I went there I'd have a good chance of playing on a winning team."
Another plus for Houston could be its proximity to Tanyi's home. The Texas lineman said that factor wasn't primary in his mind, but it's something he's thinking about.
"Houston is close by, and that does slightly affect my decision," he said. "The main thing is I'd be close to my loved ones, and that's something I have to think about."
Tanyi mentioned that he has to further evaluate each school's pharmacy programs, coaching staffs, the plan for him, and more. He said he wants to talk more in detail with both Levine and Edsall about each school and just gather as much information as possible.
"I actually want to officially visit both schools after September 1," Tanyi said. "Houston provided me some good information, but I want more. I want to see the campus and go more in-depth there, because I didn't get to see everything. Then Maryland, I'd love to get back up there again and just go more in-depth with them as well.
"I just want to make the best decision possible and not have to go back on my word once I give it. I'd like to commit after the spring or late summer, but I just don't know if I'll have enough information yet. It's a lot I'm thinking over."
Tanyi said his primary focus is on Maryland and Houston, and there's little chance other could get involved at this point. He noted how Iowa State has been in touch frequently and could offer soon, though even if the Cyclones pulled through, UMD and UH would still have a leg up. A few other programs have filed through Bush, but Tanyi said he's not sure any will actually offer him.
"Maryland and Houston are the two schools at the top," Tanyi said. "Those are the two schools I have relationships with and that I'm most interested in. More than likely I'll pick between one of those two."
Tanyi Has Terps, Cougars at the Top
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