Wort to visit A&M, others

New Braunfels (TX) linebacker Tom Wort is receiving offers from some of the top programs in the nation, including Texas A&M. The blue chip recruit visits with Aggie Websider's David Sandhop about his planned visits and where he stands in the recruiting process.

It's not surprising that New Braunfels (TX) linebacker Tom Wort is one of the most highly-recruited Class of 2009 defensive prospects in state. After all, he garnered numerous postseason awards and his 2007 resume' includes 213 tackles, 118 solo stops, five sacks, three interceptions and a touchdown. He has the prototypical size for an outside linebacker at 6-foot-1, 212 pounds and he has plenty of speed at the position, clocking a personal best 4.42 in the 40 recently at his school.

Those measurables combined with his incredible production on the field have led to scholarship offers from the likes of LSU, OU, Texas A&M, Missouri, Miami, Maryland, and Florida. But what is surprising is Wort's background and how he managed to go from an 8th grader in England who never played American football to one of the best linebackers in the great football playing state of Texas.

"We moved to Rhode Island when I was in 8th grade because of my father's job," Wort said. "I never played American football, but I had seen clips of the NFL in England and I watched "The Waterboy" and when I came over here I knew I wanted to learn the game and give it a shot."

Wort had to start from scratch, and it was a long process in Rhode Island, certainly not the hotbed of high school football. He admits that the turning point in his playing career came when his dad was transferred again and the family moved to Texas, where high school football is king.

"Culturally, the transition wasn't too bad," Wort said. "The biggest adjustment I had to make was the hot weather and how serious they take football down here. Everything came together for me last year in New Braunfels. I hit a growth spurt and the light bulb went off with this coaching staff. I feel very comfortable on the field and everything is intuitive to me now."

That is reflected in Wort's assessment of his abilities, where he says that his ability to read defenses and use his speed is critical to his success on the field.

"My strength is the combination of my speed and my instincts," Wort said. "I'm good at going sideline-to-sideline and closing on the football. I've been taught to play intense and focus on getting to the ball."

Being relatively new to high school football and the college recruiting process, the New Braunfels product has been a little overwhelmed with the attention from major colleges and recruiting services, but he sees it as an opportunity and a privilege.

"I didn't expect all this so soon," Wort said. "I was hoping some schools would start showing me some interest this summer, but I never expected all of these schools to offer me this early. It's been really exciting."

Wort has just started getting serious with the recruiting process and has set up three unofficial visits in the coming weeks. He took his first unofficial visit to LSU this past weekend and he enjoyed the experience.

"I was impressed. The facilities were awesome and the coaches were great," Wort said. "I felt it was a place I could fit in at. LSU is a good school."

The Unicorn linebacker has plans to visit Oklahoma this coming weekend. Although he knows very little about the university, he's looking forward to building a relationship with Coach Bob Stoops and the staff on his trip. Finally, Wort is scheduled to visit Texas A&M on the weekend of April 12, a place where he has visited before and has some familiarity with the university.

"I went to a couple of games last year and I went to a practice with a teammate," Wort said. "The facilities are great. I need to see the new defensive scheme and see how I fit into their philosophy. The coaches seem down-to-earth and I like that. I just need to make sure I fit their style of play."

So what kind of defensive philosophy and style fits Wort's abilities?

"I want to play in a fast, aggressive defense that flies to the ball," Wort said. "I want to play on a defense that encourages the linebackers to run sideline-to-sideline and be free to make plays all over the field."

Off the field, Wort has several factors that will play an important role in choosing where he ultimately goes to school. Feeling comfortable with his future coaches comes at the top of his list.

"Most importantly, I need to feel comfortable with the coaching staff and what they are trying to accomplish," Wort said. "After that I'd have to say the facilities and then the academics of the school. Location is important to my parents. They would like me to stay close to home, but they understand that I need to pick the best school for me."

At this point, Wort said that LSU, OU, and Texas A&M may be slightly ahead of the pack in terms of schools he likes, but he says it's still very early in the process for him and is open to all schools. He's not sure yet about his timetable to choose a school.

"I don't really have a timetable. I guess it depends on the situation," Wort said. "If I find the right school and it's the fit I'm looking for, I'll commit early. If I'm not sure, then I'll wait until after the season and weigh my options."

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