June 28, 2010

Cole earns big offer, gears up for decision

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Roanoke (Va.) Cave Spring safety Michael Cole earned a major offer in the past few days. The 6-foot-3, 198-pounder landed the scholarship from the Big Ten and now is beginning to contemplate a decision.

"I was up at Penn State and I saw Coach Paterno," he said. "I got to really see what Penn State football is all about. I really liked it a lot and what they have up there. It's really exciting that they offered.

"I visited on Wednesday and after they saw my film they said they probably didn't need me to come to camp and workout. I did it anyway on Saturday and I got the official offer later that day."

What does it mean to land the Penn State offer he's been waiting for, for a while?

"You know, it's really exciting because of the prestigious program they have," he stated. "This is kind of an offer I've been waiting for, so to get it is really exciting. It means a lot to me and now I have to step back and look at all the schools. Virginia Tech and Virginia are high up there along with Penn State. I think I may be able to decide in the next couple weeks, I've just got to sit back and think about it."

Cole went on about what he thinks of the Nittany Lions.

"Well you know, I like everything about it," he said. "First of all, it's a great football team and they have great coaches. Coach Paterno really does care about everyone and it is reflected throughout the program. Along with that, they have outstanding academics and that's a big part of their program, the academic side. Those two things are really important along with the people and relationships up there. It almost feels like home."

Despite family ties to the Pittsburgh area, Cole discounts that will be a big factor in his decision.

"My grandmother and really my whole side of my mom's family lives outside of Pittsburgh about two hours from State College," he said. "That's good to have close ties up there, but not necessarily makes or breaks my decision."

Before a potential decision comes, Cole isn't ruling out a visit or two.

"I might make a couple more visits to check out some of these schools again," he said. "I might go back up to Virginia or Tech again to sit down and talk to the coaches some more, feel it out to see where I think. I don't know when I'll do that though."

As for a decision, Cole expects it to come in the next month.

"I'm still looking at what all the schools have to offer," he said. "I think it'll be the next couple weeks, definitely in July sometime before football starts. I want to be able to focus on my senior season. Right now though I've got a bit more work that needs to be done and I'm looking at all the schools, those three are on top right now, but I'm not taking anyone off my list."

Asked if any one team leads from the group, Cole was a bit reluctant.

"I'm not really sure one sticks out a lot," he said. "Penn State sticks out since I've been there most recently, but Virginia Tech and Virginia are up there as well. It's hard to decide and they are all pretty even. I think it's going to come down to the people and relationships, that is most important."

With an impending decision coming, Cole discussed his other top schools, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

"Like I said before for Virginia, it's a great academic school. The institution at Virginia, you can do anything with that degree. Their coaching staff is going to be one of the best in the country. Coach London has a lot going for him and the whole staff has a strong excitement for football. That really intrigues me. Plus the family environment there at Virginia, I like that a lot.

"Virginia Tech of course I grew up a fan of them, watching them. I always followed Virginia Tech football. Frank Beamer and his staff have won frequently in the past and have a strong program now that will continue in the future. That aspect intrigues me. Like Virginia, I have great relationships with the staff. It's a football family feeling within the program. Virginia Tech is a good academic, not as high as Virginia."

One notable is the recent switch of the Hokies offer from greyshirt to regular enrollment.

"I expressed concerns to them about coming in January," he said. "I sat down with Coach Stinespring to work out the issue. Now I'm able to come in August and that puts them up a whole lot. To do that this early in the process, I know between Virginia Tech and me, if there is an issue at hand, they'll sit down and work it out. That's important."

Cole landed one more offer recently from Connecticut, but isn't looking hard at the Huskies at this time.

Brian Mohr has covered recruiting in the mid-Atlantic since 2004 and has covered Virginia Tech since 2006 for Hokiehaven.com. To contact Brian, please email him at [email protected] for questions, comments or tips, which are always welcome and appreciated

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