Offers galore, but what's Carufel want? Revenge

Matt Carufel has something on his mind. No, it's not the 11-plus offers he has from schools like Michigan, Miami (FL), Nebraska, Iowa and so on. No, it's not even the myriad of unofficial visits he's taken or has yet to take. It's simple, but all-consuming and while recruiting is something he can't avoid, there's something else that he's embracing even more: revenge.

Lineman, Matt Carufel isn't getting up at around four in the morning to impress Michigan. He's not getting to school just after five, because he wants Miami to see how dedicated he is. Nope, Carufel isn't worried about anyone in his possible future might think about what he does now, because he's thinking only about one thing.


Well, not revenge so much, because what he is trying to get back at is something he can't really even touch, smell or see, but he knows it's definitely there.

The curse.

If you were a Boston Red Sox fan or a Chicago Cubs fan, you might empathize with Cretin-Durham somewhat as they are looking at a little hump of their own. Try the last four or so years they have gone to the playoffs, made it to the quarterfinals and that's the last thing they remember.

One year ago, it was Wyzetta, but it was the loss two years ago to Armstrong that got Matt to where he is today, getting up far before the sun has even glimmered on the horizon, Carufel steadfast in making sure that before he leaves his school, he's going to have something to show for his career other than frustration.

"Losing 14 to 13 and not getting into the state tournament was a very big factor in why I am as dedicated as I am right now," Matt said. "I would rather pay the price for every workout in the world than lose that big one like that."

"There's nothing that comes close to that."

It's not like Cretin-Durham high school is a bad team. As Matt indicated, they make it to the playoffs on a regular basis. They are solid most of the regular season, go in feeling good about their chances and find themselves heading out while others are heading on.

"I know we have the team to win," Matt said. "I know we have the type of team it takes to make it all the way, but either we kill ourselves in a game or we just aren't dedicated enough to get all the way."

With his own self-imposed rigorous workouts that start before most of us are even all the way into R.E.M. sleep, there's little doubting Carufel's dedication. And, the written offers, those coming from the aforementioned schools, plus other programs like Michigan State, Florida, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington and LSU, there's your proof that his ability parallels his resolve.

That's how Carufel is, though, because as the old saying goes, if it's not worth doing to the best of your ability, it's not worth doing at all.

With the offers he has and who they are from, you don't need to see stars by his name or a single-digit ranking to realize this kid can play. At 6 foot, 5 inches tall and weighing in at around 290 pounds, he's got the body and strength to be that point of impact player, but he's got the arms, feet and hands to be equally deadly blocking downfield.

Don't' try to give Matt any credit for his success, however, because he'll nod, say thank you and then interject that sure, he's got the size and all that, but where he is today is only partially do to the dedication he himself has had in making himself possibly one of the better guard prospects in the country.

"I owe it all to my position coach," Matt said of offensive line coach, Andy Bischoff. "He said ‘here's the workouts and here's what you need to do to be good', and all I really did was show up."

"He's coached a lot of great players and I am just lucky enough to be the latest."

His luck will be someone else's gain as Carufel's name is climbing up the charts with the offers he's received. And, Matt has tried to take some unofficial visits in to schools that have offered him, but as you might guess, keeping up isn't easy. He's taken visits to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Florida and Miami, but that doesn't even take him halfway to knocking out his current list, but there's still hope for the immediate future. "Oh, I want to visit as many places as I can," Matt said. "I don't have any plans right now as to where I am going to go, but there are a lot of places I want to see."

If you are hoping that Curufel is attending a camp at your university, though, better not hold your breath, because other than the fact that Curufel has nothing to prove, so there's no reason to go to any of the camps in the first place, he's got a little better reason to avoid them altogether. "I don't really want to tear my ACL at one of those." He said.

Hard to argue there.

One argument you won't have will pertain to Carufel's popularity and the anticipation behind who's in the running and of course, where he might go.

It's easy to figure out if you are eventually going to be on that short list as Matt said there's a few basics to what he's looking for, for the future:

- Solid combination of athletics and academics
- A good atmosphere, i.e. fans support, facilities, town, etc.
- Rapport with coaches and players
- Team needs to have a decent shot at a national title while he's there

Simple? Yes. High Expectations? Of course, but when you are used to getting up at four in the morning everyday, just so you can be a better, stronger and faster football player than you were the day before, he's paralleling his own expectations with that of the school he'll eventually choose.

"Nobody remembers who plays in the whatever bowl," Matt said. "Nobody remembers who finished second. They only remember the national champions and I want to be part of that. I want to be part of a team people remember."

That's probably the goal of most preps when they look at their collegiate future. To be part of a winner, a team that reigns supreme above all others and a program that went wire-to-wire to achieve something only one team can achieve each year.

Most have to wait for that, some never getting it, but Matt is hoping that his wait doesn't even have to wait until he gets to college. You see, there is this thing called his senior year and a score to settle with a history of frustration.

There's still the matter of revenge.

"That's what we all want," Matt said of the state title. "It would be great, because we finally got over that hump, but it's something that says you are better than everyone else, that you did what it took to win it all."

"That's what we need to do this year. We have to. I want to go out on top."

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