Is it true you made a commitment to Miami University yesterday?
What were you thinking as you were preparing to make that decision?
Basically looking at the last two weeks, I got the offer from Miami two Fridays ago. I thought it was what I was looking for, so once I got that, I called the higher level schools I was looking at to see what was going to happen with them. The ones I had on my list were Stanford, Syracuse, and I was also looking at Colorado. So, I talked to Syracuse and I was further down on their list, and I was going to have to wait a month of two before anything was going to happen with them, and then this Tuesday I talked to Stanford and I found out nothing was going to happen with them because they didn't feel I was going to be able to get big enough to play in the Pac 10. They were looking for one more tackle to add to their class, and they were looking for a bigger kid. They felt I was more of a tight end size. I've been down to Miami 3 times, I went down there for a game this year, and I just realized Miami's a place where I'm comfortable, and I didn't want to risk waiting a month or two to commit to a place that might not even be the right place. So, I called the O-Line coach on Wednesday night, and I talked to Coach Montgomery on Wednesday night and I told them about my commitment.
You've talked about schools you were interested in but didn't have offers from. What other schools did you have offers from and how close did you come to committing to them?
The other schools I had offers from were Bowling Green, Ball State, Air Force, Ohio University, and one school I was considering that my coach said I was close to getting an offer from was Pittsburgh. I really had Miami on the top of all of those because I was looking for the best school academically. I did feel Bowling Green was probably the best of all those football wise, because their offense is a lot like our offense [at Mentor]. I am looking for an engineering program, and the engineering [at Bowling Green] was not as good as Miami's. Also, looking at Pitt, I was up there three times over the past year. I just never really felt at home at their campus, because it is more of a city campus. At Air Force, I really didn't like the whole five year commitment afterwards. I knew the academics were good, but I just didn't want to make the five year commitment afterwards. Ball State, I never really visited them. I would probably have a good chance of playing there, but it's more of a liberal arts school, and I didn't really want to go into that. As for OU, that was probably the one most similar to Miami. But I never really got down there over the summer, because their camp was a satellite camp up in Mentor. I would always see them up in Mentor; I never got to see them down there. They offered me the Sunday after I got home from Miami, so I think they felt they waited long enough and they might as well give me an offer. It might have changed had they offered me during the summer; I really didn't have the chance to look into them. In the end, I just felt Miami was ahead of OU, so I didn't really want to look further at OU, because I knew Miami was ahead of them.
You've been to Oxford three times to visit Miami, what did you see that you liked?
My initial impression when I was there in April for junior day was that it was a traditional campus, not a city campus. We were driving around there, it wasn't too busy around there, I liked their campus, and I liked the academics, which was one of the biggest factors. They have a great engineering program, they just built a new building for engineering, and rating-wise, they are in the top tier for engineering if you look at the books that rank that. A few weeks ago I went down there for a game against Syracuse. I got to see ho w the coaches interact around there. I talked with the head coach, and I really liked that. The thing is, it's a little more subdued than other college campuses on game day. But, the other things outweigh that. Academics were the thing that meant the most.
What do you see in your own game that will make you an asset to Miami once you reach the college level?
As an offensive lineman, I'm not someone who is 300 pounds and will just railroad over people. Basically, my athleticism as an offensive lineman will be good. They run blocking schemes, which always work with smaller types of lineman. I know going in I won't be a 300 pounder. I will hopefully get to 285-290, and I'll just have to out-technique my opponent, which is what I've been doing the last two years. Technique is what helps me compete against stronger opponents, and hopefully that carries over to the college level.
You just mentioned your size, and you said earlier that some schools had stopped recruiting you because of it. Is it that motivation to you at all?
The thing is, with the schools I was looking at, you always get that feeling that you want to go to the best possible school – the Big Ten, or the BCS conferences. But I don't know how much I'd get to play at those places. The MAC is a good fit for an offensive lineman like me. A lot of places, their main worry was how big I will get. Were they willing to take a chance on if I would or I wouldn't [get bigger], or were they just going to take a kid that already has the size? My sophomore year of high school, I started the 4th game of the season, and I was about 190. And I played the rest of the season. Junior year, I was 210 at the most, and this year, I'm about 240. So, I've gained weight over my years. I don't think it'll be that big of an issue. I understand where the bigger colleges are coming from, seeing how all the other places are able to recruit all these big guys. If I was in their shoes, I wouldn't be willing to take a risk on a lineman like me. I don't see it as they are putting me down. College football is like a business, and not a lot of bigger conferences are able to take the risk.
How about weaknesses? Is there anything the Miami coaches have said they want to see you improve at?
Overall strength. I've always had good feet, and have been able to move well, but I'm not really overpowering. So I just need to stay in the weight room over the next four or five years. Along with that, gaining more weight is something they want to see. A place like Miami, they will make a living out of turning smaller linemen into good players, and they know how to do that well, so that's the way I'm looking at it.
You're an offensive lineman, so there aren't many secrets about what you will do the field, but have the Miami coaches given you an idea of where you will fit into the system or the offensive schemes?
I didn't get into that specifically. I figure I will be redshirted the first year anyways. The way Miami's offensive line works, I think I could play any of the five positions, because you have to be athletic to move in the system they have. I see myself as a tackle, but anything can change once you get there.