USF in Top Two for Local DT Garcia

Robert Garcia is a two-way lineman for Jesuit High school in Tampa, but is being projected as a defensive tackle. The 6'3.5, 255 pound prospect has double-digit offers, and after a standout performance at a USF camp, Garcia earned another offer from the Bulls, placing them in his top two. The local prospect talks in depth about the camp, getting the USF offer, and why he likes the hometown team.

 Several weeks ago USF held a team padded camp and one of the prospects that stood out was Jesuit's offensive line/defensive line prospect Robert Garcia.

"The camp was really good, we leaned a lot and I liked it," said Garcia."I worked out at both offensive line and defensive line and learned from their staff. It was a great experience."

"Besides just learning new things, I felt I earned more recognition and more interest from USF," said Garcia. "So that's always good."

The Jesuit lineman plays both ways recording 31 tackles and eight sacks on defense and six pancakes on offense, but is being recruited to play defensive tackle by USF and earned an offer from the staff.

"I did good enough that they offered me a scholarship," said Garcia. "They said they liked me at both offense and defense, but offered me as a defensive tackle."

"Coach Patrick said he likes what he saw out of me and the work I put into it," said Garcia. "He said he wants me to play for him, so he can teach me and help me grow."

The 6'3.5, 255 pound prospect got to speak with USF Head Coach Skip Holtz, who delivered him the good news.

"Coach Holtz said he really likes me as a player and a person, and liked the attitude that I brought to the camp," said Garcia. "Coach Holtz was the one that pulled the trigger and offered me, saying he wanted to do it in person. That felt real good to get that from a head coach."

"He pulled me and his dad aside and told us all about USF, the direction their going and that he wants me to be a part of it, and wanted to offer me a scholarship," said Garcia. "He broke down everything about the scholarship, tuition, books, and all the Under Armor stuff we're supplied with, like five pairs and shoes, all the shirts and all that."

Being a local prospect, Garcia was more than happy to get that offer from the hometown team.

"I was real happy to get that offer and it was all very exciting to," said Garcia. "I'm not saying I definitely want to stay in Tampa, but my whole family is here, I was raised here, and it's always great to get that offer from the home team in your own back yard, and to know that they want to keep you here."

After attending several camps Garcia has got a good feel for the USF coaching staff.

"I like the staff at USF and think they're good coaches," said Garcia. "I like Coach Patrick's energy and enthusiasm, and how he coaches and breaks everything down. Coach Shankweiler, Coach Smith and Coach Holtz are all great guys."

Garcia has been to USF several times and is quite familiar with the program.

"The campus is nice, really nice and huge," said Garcia. "All their new things they've done with the facilities really look great. The practice fields look great. They got two grass fields and a turf field which great to have to practice on. The weight room is one of the more top notch gyms I've been in and has everything you need to get work in. They also said they're about to redo the locker rooms and get an indoor practice facility."

"Everything they're doing for all sports looks great," said Garcia. "That was the first time seeing the Sun Dome and practice facility since they redid it and it looks awesome. The new baseball field, softball, and soccer stadiums are all brand new and really impressive looking."

The 2013 defensive tackle said he has around 12 offers, including South Florida, Iowa State, Air Force, Navy, Ohio, FAU, Samford, Lafayette, Holy Cross, & Colgate, but getting the offer from USF vaulted them to the top.

"The USF offer definitely put them up there. They have a good program that's on the rise," said Garcia. "They didn't have the best record last year, but there were a few games that could've gone either way. They have a lot of good teams that they play, so they level of competition is there. They have good academics, and they're the hometown team."

"Right now my two favorites are USF and FAU," said Garcia. "They're the two that are closest to home. I haven't really nailed it down and still have interest in Air Force and Navy, but those are the two that I like the most right now."

Garcia talked about his two favorites.

"FAU is close but far way enough that if I wanted to be independent, I could. I like their d-line coach, who is also my recruiting coordinator," said Garcia. "Boca Raton is a nice city and you can see the beach from their stadium. I need to go back to see more and their campus."

"With USF I like the coaches and get along with them very well, and they're a program on the move and are heading in the right direction," said Garcia. "They've beaten many top teams including FSU, Miami and gave Florida fits as well as other teams."

I like USF and it seems like a good fit for me," said Garcia. "I've seen the campus, the facilities and the dorms, and it looks like a good place to live for the next 4-5 years. They have like 8,900 graduate degrees, so they have the three I'm looking at (Engineering, Business, and maybe psychology)."

"I like the chance to play in Raymond James Stadium, that's a place I've always wanted to play in since I was little," said Garcia. "Some people don't like that they don't have an on campus stadium, but that doesn't bother me."

The Bulls have offered several of Garcia's teammates with fellow lineman Cameron Ruff committing recently.

"I'm happy for Cameron, and know he's excited about it," said Garcia. "I think about, and even though everybody does their own thing, that would be pretty cool if I chose them, then we'd play together for at least another four years. Maybe the staff would let us live together."

The Jesuit standout, who carries a 3.37 GPA, and scored a 1520 on the SAT three part, and just took the ACT, talked about the factors he's most looking at in making his choice.

"First is education, that's the most important thing to me," said Garcia. "The location of the school, because I think I want to stay close, the athletics and how good the football team is, the atmosphere and all that."

Signing day isn't until February, but Garcia doesn't think he'll wait that long.

"I think I'll make it soon. My coach wants me to make it soon, because spots fill up quickly," said Garcia. "I'll probably make it either towards the end of this month or in August."

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