Brian Cushing Down to Two Favs

GoBlueWolverine Magazine spoke Friday afternoon with linebacker <b>Brain Cushing</b> from Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, N.J. and he already has his list of favorites parred down to two big-time programs.

"Right now it's down to Michigan and Stanford," Brian Cushing said. "Stanford is one of the top schools in the country academically and their football program is getting better. Michigan is also a great academic school and their football program is awesome, they are always in the Top 10. I also like the idea of playing in front of so many people."

The Bergen Catholic star is looking to make an early decision. "I want to get it over with as soon as possible," Cushing said. "I've been told the process can be really stressful and I don't want to deal with that, especially since I already know the two schools I want to choose from."

Could there be another school waiting in the wings? When GBW spoke with Cushing's father, Frank, on Thursday night he said his dream was for his son to play for Boston College. It seems the younger Cushing is taking that to heart. "I've always loved Boston College and they've been recruiting me the longest and paying me the most attention," he said. "They don't know it yet but they are actually in it too. I'll definitely be visiting them." Cushing said he grew up a Notre Dame fan, and like Miami and the other Florida schools.

Cushing said he has offers from one of this top schools, Stanford, along with Boston College, Syracuse, and Rutgers. He doesn't have an offer from his other favorite, Michigan, at this time. Frank Cushing told GBW the staff at Michigan was waiting to see some film. "We're in the process of getting film together and sending it to the coaches at Michigan," he said. "They told us they wanted to evaluate Brian's film before they offered."

The coaches may be in for a treat. In the state finals against Don Bosco Prep, Cushing recorded 19 tackles while nursing a sore knee. He also caused another top New Jersey Brian, this one with the last name of Toal, to fumble twice. For the season Cushing reports 120 tackles, 10 sacks, and three interceptions. He said he is being recruited as a linebacker by every school. Cushing said he is being recruited by Michigan Coach Bill Sheridan. He wasn't certain about attending Junior Day in Ann Arbor. "I haven't heard anything from the (Michigan) coaches about that," he said.

Frank Cushing told GBW that Brian is the youngest in a long line of Cushing athletes, though none with the skills of Brian. "I played in the College World Series in 1964 when I was at Seton Hall," he said. "That was quite exciting and I was getting looks from the Yankees and the White Sox as well as some other teams. But that was when Vietnam was starting up and I was in the ROTC program and there was told there was no way I was going to be able to get out, so that ended that.

"I also have another boy who went away to college at Providence and played rugby. He should have been all-state in soccer but he broke some bones, so he went on to play rugby and broke his nose six times. I also have a daughter that went to college playing soccer. Brian is the youngest but he is by far the most talented of the bunch."

The youngest Cushing also plays baseball, though his future is in football. There has been some conflict in the past between the Bergen Catholic coaching staffs regarding which sport would get the most attention, at one point Cushing was suspended from playing on the varsity baseball team for getting injured. Frank Cushing related the story. "His freshman year he hit .545. As a sophomore he was expecting to play varsity. He was lifting weights at school for football early in the morning. He fell back a little bit doing some kind of leg lift and fell against the wall. It looked real bad but he was only out of action for about a week.

"The football coach was broken up about it and everyone was upset. We called the baseball coach about it and when Brian came back he suspended him. He told him, 'You're not playing varsity this year and I don't think you'll be playing varsity next year.' So he played JV and hit .750, it was unbelievable." According to Mr. Cushing Brian will be playing varsity this season. Will he play baseball in college? "Brian loves baseball but realizes he'll get into college playing football. If the football administration allows him to play baseball he will, but if they say no than he won't."

Mr. Cushing also told us that his son is in the weight room four days a week and has a personal trainer that works with Brian in the evenings. "They're bulking up his legs," he said. "That's what they're mainly working on now."

It seems as though the Wolverines have quite a fan base in the Bergen Catholic community. "Michigan isn't that far away and his football coach, Fred Stengal, is recommending, actually guiding Brian, to play in the Big House in Ann Arbor," Mr. Cushing said. "A lot of people in the community would like to see him play at Michigan. Also, Joe Sandberg, who was a two-time all-state player here at Bergen Catholic and was two years ahead of Brain, has kind of taken Brian under his wing. He's telling Brian to go all the way for Michigan."

Cushing said he has a 90 average out of 100 grade score at Bergen Catholic, which he said translates into a 3.5 grade point average. He will be taking the SAT in May.

Brian Cushing's Stats: 6-4, 220 lbs, 4.4 in the 40. As a junior he made 120 tackles, 9 sacks, 7 interceptions and 22 tackles for a loss. He was 1st team All-State by the Associated Press.

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