January 25, 2012

Gustafson mulls over offers

Dallas (Texas) Jesuit offensive tackle J.J. Gustafson's stock has soared since we last caught up with the 6-foot-6, 265-pound product back in early November.

Scholarships seem to be falling down from the sky for the Class of 2013 prospect.

"The most out of the blue was really Arkansas," Gustafson said. "I hadn't gotten any letters, really anything. I ran into head coach Bobby Petrino in the middle of the hallway at school and I introduced myself and then I got a call from my head coach that they had offered me.

"Also, other ones I haven't talked to are Purdue and Clemson. Clemson offered me (Tuesday)."

Aside from those schools, Gustafson holds offers from SMU, Baylor, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Tech could have the inside lane for Gustafson. The junior is a big fan of new Tech offensive line coach Jim Turner who had coached at Texas A&M the past four seasons.

"Texas Tech, I've talked to them more than any other school," Gustafson said. "I talk to their coaches. I actually got to meet coach Tommy Tuberville and coach Sam McElroy when I came up to last year's K-State game.

"This is kind of unique, but I've gone to Texas A&M's lineman camps since I was little just to have something to do over the summers. Their offensive line coach was just hired by Texas Tech so I already know him pretty well. That was kind of cool."

Gustafson has upped his stats from the end of the 2011 season a lot thanks to Jesuit's offseason program. The program consists of the weight room, but also some agility training for the linemen.

"I probably played at around 250, 255 pounds," Gustafson said. "I'm at about 265, 265-plus pounds consistently. I've been able to put some good weight on recently."

Gustafson's 6-foot-6 frame is accommodating for more weight and he has a wingspan that's extremely rare on the high school level. But what makes Gustafson a special player is the fact he tries to outwork everyone else.

He also has a lot of upside as a late bloomer.

"I never thought of myself as a big kid and as a little kid I would always try to be the fastest, always trying to be the most athletic, always trying to score the most goals in soccer and basketball," Gustafson said. "So, I've been fairly athletic through the years and only now am I starting to put on weight. I've been able to keep my quickness and flexibility throughout my high school years.

"Additionally, starting this season I started playing with a lot more aggression. A lot more pancakes. Just straight up playing meaner on the field.

And the scholarships keep rolling in.

"It's a relief more than anything," Gustafson said. "I wouldn't say it's been overwhelming. Just knowing I have some security in my college future. I know that I'll actually get to play D-I college football."

But for now, Gustafson is just focusing on improving his game.

"No one sticks out more than the others right now," Gustafson said. "I don't really know enough about the schools to really have any favorites. I don't know enough about them yet."

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