Sam Webb: Take me back to your official visit. How did it go last weekend?
Tom Strobel: “Yeah, it went awesome first off, so nothing wrong with it. I had such a good time you know, getting to meet the players and whatnot, and the recruits and the players on the team, and it was just – it was awesome.”
Sam Webb: Was the different aspect of this trip just the amount of time you got to spend with the players?
Tom Strobel: “Absolutely, I mean, you don’t get to spend time with the actual players on the team and get to spend time with the recruits really, and you get to talk to them a little bit just to learn a little bit about them, you know? And it was really nice just to get to know them, really, to build that relationship and build those bonds with the people you’re going to be with the next four years or however many years you’re there.”
Sam Webb: I know you’re tight with Kyle Kalis, but are there any other guys that you’re kind of really forming a bond and a relationship with in the recruiting class?
Tom Strobel: “For sure, Matt Godin, he’s pretty cool; I hung out with him a lot. And I think his name was Ben (Braden), an offensive lineman, I talked to him. Caleb Stacy, I mean it’s just – I hung out with them a lot, …and not only that but, hopefully we get Sam Grant, the tight end. He’s pretty cool.”
Sam Webb: What kind of sort of feel did you get for Sam? Did you think he was enjoying it? Do think Michigan has a good shot at him?
Tom Strobel: “There’s no doubt. I’m pretty sure he loved it, so…”
Sam Webb: Were you guys working him pretty hard?
Tom Strobel: “We really didn’t need to do anything. I think we just let him figure it out himself and see the campus, for probably the first time I think. We let him do his own thing. We didn’t want to push him. I would never want anyone to push me. I’m pretty sure he likes it. There was not one time I didn’t see a smile on his face.”
Sam Webb: What about the other uncommitted kid that was there, Alex Kozan?
Tom Strobel: “He kind came out of his shell after a little bit. He wasn’t really talkative at first, like for the first day. Second day he came out talking. I think he liked it too, to be honest. He was laughing and having fun the whole time I’m, so I think he enjoyed it as well. “
Sam Webb: So let’s get back to talking about you. Did they kind of lay out for you that you would have an opportunity to really come in and play right away?
Tom Strobel: “Yeah. They told me what they expect and everything, and I’m willing to accept that challenge. I’m going to take it on just like I take on anything else, and I’ll make the best of it, so I really – like I said, I had a great time just especially like – just getting a feel for the dorms and getting a feel for the campus. You can go around to the different food places and everything, and it was so nice. I mean what’s not to love, you know? I got to see some of the academic people too, and they discussed some of the, you know, job opportunities and different questions that we had for them, and they answered all the questions. It was just a great visit.
Sam Webb: Now tell me this… it really seems like Ohio State has been going hard after a lot of the guys in Michigan’s class. Have they made an attempt to go at you and try to contact you at all?
Tom Strobel: “Yeah, I kind of told my coaches, because my coach knows Urban Meyer pretty well… I told him to not even bother. I’ve made my choice.”
Sam Webb: Ok. What about the other guys in the class. Did you get a feel talking to them if they’re getting hit pretty hard by Ohio State?
Tom Strobel: “Kyle got a call and he pretty much just told them the same exact thing. He said ‘you know, I’m not changing my mind, I’m staying with Michigan, and that’s pretty much final.’”
Sam Webb: So you said Michigan kind of told you what they expect of you. Did that kind of include where they want you to be weight wise?
Tom Strobel: “To be honest, (the campus visit prior to the official) I talked to them (about that). I didn’t really talk to them about it that much this time. I went there and I was 270, – I gained eight pounds when I went on my official visit with all of the food we ate! (Laughter) But they basically said, ‘you’re coming in a lot bigger than most kids would come in at, so you don’t really have to worry about putting on weight. Just keep working out and getting stronger,’ Naturally. (any further weight gain) will come on once I get there.”
Sam Webb: So you’re 270 now?
Tom Strobel: “I’m like a good 260 or even 263 or something like that, but when I went there, I mean, you eat so much good food and so much food! You’re eating prime rib; you’re eating lobster tail, like chicken, like everything you could ever imagine! (Laughter). I definitely gained some weight, but I lost it real quick when I got back.”
Sam Webb: Finishing up, just kind of look back and reflect on your senior season and how it went.
Tom Strobel: “I had like 80 tackles, I had 15 sacks, I had 42 pressures, like three fumble causes… that’s probably the main stuff that you want here. I think I made an impact. As a team we grew so much, and there’s no doubt in my mind, there’s no better team than us in the state of Ohio. Stuff happens. Iggy (St. Ignatius) was not better than us, you know what I mean? It’s just like plays here and there. I have the utmost respect for them; I think they’re a great team, but I don’t think they’re better than us. I think we should have went all the way and we should be state champions right now. But what are you going to do? Shoulda, coulda, woulda."
“I screwed up my ankle before the game. Like two days before the game I couldn’t even walk. They literally like reinforced it with all this tape. They taped it up like four times, and I was playing on that. I still got two sacks in the game, but I was not nearly as, close to anything as I usually play. Honestly, that killed me.”
Sam Webb: I know you had been waiting to hear back from the Army about the All-American game. I take it you never heard back from them?
Tom Strobel: “No, I did. They let me know the day before the deadline, so I didn’t make it into it, which I was kind mad about. So, basically, I got screwed over because Under Armor wanted me to play in their game, but I told them I was already signed with Army. "
Sam Webb: Wow!
Tom Strobel: “Yeah, so then Army let me know the day before the deadline (that I wasn’t in the Army game) was, so I didn’t have time to contact Under Armor because they were already full. So I’m not in any of those games now. It went from me getting to play, to nothing. Everyone in my school was furious.”
Sam Webb: Well, finishing on a more positive note (laughter). Are you doing any other sports in the winter?
Tom Strobel: “No, I stopped playing basketball, so I can work out and get bigger and stronger for football.”