UM Battling For OL

If you had a chance to watch any of Clearwater Central Catholic's 7-on-7 competitions this past summer, you probably noticed a pretty big and athletic linebacker on the field.

That's because offensive lineman A.J. Trump, 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, was filling that role over the summer.

"I did that some just because I wanted to be out there," Trump said. "I actually play some linebacker at times but mainly, I'm on the defensive line."

Trump, who has started every game since his freshman season, is gearing up for a second round playoff game this week.

"We play our arch-rival, St. Pete Catholic," he said. "I'm real excited about it. If we're able to get by them, we will probably play Antone Smith and Pahokee."

Trump, who knows not to get ahead of himself, had a chance to play against Smith as a sophomore. He then saw him again this past summer at a 7-on-7 tournament.

"I'll never forget it," he said. "He was amazing. All I remember is how fast he was. It was unbelievable. Now he's even faster and I know he's stronger. He's one of those rare backs who has the speed to get to the corner and has the size and power to go between the tackles."

Trump, who can play all five line positions, projects as a guard in college. He talked about his strengths at the position.

"I think my athleticism sets me apart some," he said. "I run well for my size. The college coaches seem to like the 6-5 or 6-6 guys to play tackle these days. I think my footspeed really helps me at guard. I love pulling."

The talented lineman has become a major recruiting prospect in recent months as well. It appears to be a three-team race at this point.

"Right now Notre Dame is my top choice, followed by Miami and Florida State," he said. "I'm pretty sure it'll come down to those three. Florida has dropped off because of their coaching situation. I've talked some with South Florida and Georgia too but it's mainly those first three."

Trump has already made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame and came away very impressed.

"I really like the whole atmosphere there," he said. "I felt at home. When I met the coaches, they seemed real nice. When I hung out with the players, I felt they were a lot like me. And how can you argue with the tradition of playing football at Notre Dame? Academically, they offer a very powerful degree."

Trump has also been to Florida State unofficially but has never been to Miami.

"I'm going to Notre Dame on December 4th, Miami the weekend after that, and I have Florida State scheduled in January," he said. "But to be honest, I'll probably know where I'm going after I get back from my visit to Miami. "

The Hurricanes have been actively recruiting Trump lately. He talked more about the program.

"You just look at the success they've had and it's amazing," he said. "Miami's been winning big for a long time. Coach Kehoe, their offensive line coach, has been there for almost 25 years and has five national championships. He's a great guy and has coached a lot of very successful offensive linemen. Who wouldn't want to play for a guy like that? They're like the polar opposite of Notre Dame in many ways. With Miami being just four hours away from home, that's a plus. Their campus is in a nice area and they also offer a good education. I'm really excited about my visit there."

Trump, a full academic qualifier, says reviewing the depth charts isn't something he's interested in.

"Anywhere I go, I know there will be competition," he said. "Hard work will pay off in the end. Those are the guys who will get the chance to play. Five linemen are playing at once and most teams are short anyway. Playing time isn't going to be a big factor. What will affect my decision are the educations, where the program is going, and how well I get along with the coaching staff. I need to be at a place where I feel comfortable because if I ever get injured I need to be at a place where I can enjoy going to school and enjoy living."

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