Traverse City (Mich.) West has been a hot spot for linemen in recent years, with former standouts Jake Fisher and Connor Hayes moving on to BCS programs. 2016 standout Thiyo Lukusa is poised to pick up where they left off. Despite being hindered by a series of nagging injuries the four-star prospect emerged as one of the top line prospects in his class.
“When I was in the game I thought I did really really well,” said Lukusa. “I just try to take what I’ve learned and put it all out there. I have a mean streak. I like to hit people and put them on their butts kind of like Richie Incognito without the off-field issues. My pass blocking (is) kind of like Jake Long at Michigan."
If he has his druthers he’ll play the same position Long does, and not Incognito’s.
“My preference is left tackle,” Lukusa said. “That’s what I really like to do. Schools have said right now that I’d probably be a guard, but I’m supposed to be 6-7 to 6-8. They said if that happens then I’d probably be a tackle, so that’s what I’d like to do. Right now I’m 6-6, 300.”
Michigan extended him an offer last month, and the Wolverines made it clear made it clear that they just want him on their roster. They’ll figure out his position later.
“I really like their staff,” Lukusa stated. “I like Coach Hecklinski, Coach Ferrigno, Coach Funk, and Coach Hoke. They’re probably some of my favorite coaches that I’ve met. They didn’t have a great year this year, but it is called rebuilding for a reason. I’m a patient guy. And I like who they’re recruiting in my class. I like Erik Swenson a lot. I really like some of those guys.”
But that doesn’t mean that Michigan is his current favorite.
“They’re all even,” Lukusa said firmly. “Going into the college football season Michigan probably was (the favorite). Then Michigan State had a great year and their coaches came up, and it was awesome. So everything has probably evened out. The playing field is pretty even right now.”
A number of schools will have the opportunity to ascend to Lukusa’s recruiting perch in the coming weeks and months. The Traverse City West star plans to rack up a lot of miles in that span, seeing as many of his suitors as possible.
“I’ve kind of got a good rough draft of where I’m going to head to,” he reported. “I’ll be at Michigan the 27th of February through the 1st. They’re all leaving… the coaches are… on the 28th, so I’m going to go the 27th to hang out in Ann Arbor and talk to the guys. Then I’ll watch the hockey game that Friday. Then I’ll watch the basketball game (against Minnesota) on that Saturday and head on home. I’ll be at Michigan State probably, I’ll be at Ohio State, and I’ll probably be at Northwestern and Wisconsin. Those are probably the locks for sure. Between now and the end of February I’ll probably hit Michigan State and maybe one of those schools I just told you about, and then I’ll hit some of the others during spring break for some spring practices.”
Those visits could prove especially critical since Lukusa doesn’t plan to have a long, drawn out recruitment.
“If it was possible I would love to have it done by the end of the summer,” he said. “Then I could focus just on football.”
For one school to outshine all of the rest it must prove to be superior in a few key categories.
“Academics are a big one,” Lukusa said describing his criteria. “In case football doesn’t work I want to have a great degree so I can support a family down the road. Then probably the football… the relationship I have with the coaches, the staff, and the players. The tradition… what has happened there and what they’re doing right now. And probably girls to be honest.”
No one can accuse the young man of failing to cover all of the bases.