"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Colorado offensive lineman Paul Thurston decided to take a trip out to Ann Arbor on Monday with his father. The 6-foot-5, 274-pound lineman took in Michigan's campus for the first time and told me about how the trip went. Here's a look at his film and what he had to say.
TOM: You're from Colorado, so it's not like this was a two hour car ride for you. What made you decide to visit Michigan so early?
PAUL: Well, we went up Monday and just got back today. I know Michigan, they're a big time program and the scholarship offers aren't going to be around forever. I thought it would be best to get over there and when things heat up I'll have already seen them and know what they're about.
TOM: You said when things start heating up. Does that mean you have a timeline for when you want to decide?
PAUL: Yeah, I'd like to do it before the season or during the season. So probably around July, August, or September is when I'll make my decision.
TOM: What did you know about Michigan before this visit, or what made you so interested in them?
PAUL: Probably the big time tradition they have there. These coaches I'm sure they'll get back to that again. When I got the offer it was definitely a place I was interested in.
TOM: Ok, so tell me about the trip then. What all did you get to see?
PAUL: It was my first time in Ann Arbor, and when we got there we went to the athletic complex. I met all the coaches, talked with Coach Hoke, talked with Coach Funk, and took a tour of the facilities. The next morning we got a tour of campus, saw the academic center, and we saw the Big House. That was pretty crazy. Then after that we talked to Coach Hoke again.
TOM: The Big House was crazy? How did it compare to other schools you've seen so far?
PAUL: Yeah, the Big House was crazy. You go to a place like Nebraska and they have a pretty big stadium, but then you walk on that field in the Big House and that place is huge. I was in there talking with some of the coaches about what it's like on gameday with all the fans.
TOM: You mentioned talking to the coaches, what were they talking to you about?
PAUL: They were telling me where I'd be playing, where I'd fit in, and where they stand. Talking with Coach Hoke he was able to tell me some things about the program, chat, and just get to know me.
TOM: Where did they tell you that they want you to play? Tackle or guard?
PAUL: Coach Funk said I'll probably go in and play left tackle. If I can play there, then good, if not then they might move me to guard or right tackle.
TOM: Your dad went with you on the trip, how did he feel about it?
PAUL: He really liked it. He said it's definitely a top place and a good place to go.
TOM: We talked about your timeline, but do you have any leaders at this point, or does anyone stick out to you so far?
PAUL: No, I don't really have any leaders yet. I'm coming back from all these visits and trying to get everything on paper. I think I'll take a couple more visits, I'm not sure where yet, but it's coming together slowly. We'll see who starts talking to me.
TOM: What are the most important aspects for you when you're evaluating a school?
PAUL: Some of the big things for me are a good weight program, if they can get me ready and get me ready to compete. If I like the coaches and my position coach, and how long the coaching staff will be there.
TOM: After this visit how do you think Michigan stands for you?
PAUL: They definitely fit all three things I'm looking for. I talked to the weight coach and he has everything I'm looking for. They were telling me that they don't plan on going anywhere either.
TOM: Was there anything that stuck out to you on the visit, or anything unique?
PAUL: Well, I actually got a call that I was selected to play in one of All American games while I was in Ann Arbor, so that's something I'll remember.
Early commits are paying dividends. This kid has great feet and really man handles the defense once he engages. Was going to say he needs a little work on his punch but then at the 2:50 mark he seemed to have it going pretty well for himself. We still need some OT's in this class and Thurston looks like a great one.
that he came here for a visit all the way from Colorado I would say that he doesn't sound very interested. When you read what some of the other recruits say to Tom during these interviews, you get the sense that he is not nearly as excited about Michigan as some of the other have been.
Maybe I am reading too much between the lines. What is your impression of our chances, Tom?
Also, I find it interesting that head coaches (Coach Hoke) don't seem to spend an inordinate amount of time with the recruits. I'm not saying that they are doing anything wrong (see 2012 recruiting results!), but I guess I always imagined that the head coaches spent a lot of time with the recruits when they came for visits.
If we're going to have war, let it begin on Canham's carpet. Bob Ufer
Instead of reading between the lines read what was written. He visited all of the way from Colorado on his own dime. This was done so he could get a first hand look at Michigan in order to make a faster decision should the scholarships start drying up. In my opinion this was a wise move by this young man. Not your fault though, we all are getting a little spoiled around here lately. Kind of nice.
Rather than say, "Yeah, Coach Hoke seems very genuine. He definitely made a big impression on me," he says he got a phone call.
Again, maybe I'm becoming spoiled, but I want these kids to tell me how much they love Michigan and our coaches whenever they get the chance. When I hear that, then I know a "Hello" post is coming soon!
If we're going to have war, let it begin on Canham's carpet. Bob Ufer
The thing that came to my mind was when Joe Bolden said that a key to him choosing UM was his dad getting online and someone posting at that moment how legit GMat is. While his memory didn't scream that michigan made a huge impact on Thurston, it did keep a very positive thought in his head with the visit. When he does make his decision, that thought could become a sign to him that UM is where he needs to be.
"I know that they know that I know who they are." - Fred Jackson
or other offensive lineman, his recruiting shows how we are reaching out across the country to fill the rest of this class. The interest alone will pay dividends with future out of state recruits. On his film, it is great to see how he keeps pushing defenders down the field. Love the pancake block on the DB at 2:48.
In Harbaugh we Trust! Especially after the MSU Game.
It's very encouraging in and of itself to hear that any out of state recruit took an unofficial to visit the school. Unless the kid is disturbingly privileged, I'd say we're near the top of his preliminary list.
But when you're sharing a car with your mom because yours broke down, and gas is $4.19 at the station around the corner, and you haven't been out of the state in three years, then everybody crossing state lines seems disturbingly privileged.
Doesn't take away from the other 35 words in my post. Unless he takes several unofficials, one would think that we're a reasonable priority of his.
Great feet, the kid can move! Its nice seeing a lineman get up the field like that. You'd like to see him a bit bigger, but another year in the weight room at the high school level and a redshirt year will see to that, no problem. Thurston looks like another great option for our OL.