March 5, 2009

Hurst narrowing list?

Offensive coordinators who want a balanced offense are always looking to upgrade on the offensive line.

A prospect that shows the quickness to get into position on the edge and also pull out in run plays are a hot commodity every year. This is why James Hurst, of Plainfield, Indiana, is on the top of a lot of school's lists.

The Indianapolis resident continues to pile up the offers, and says he is almost to 22.

"I think it is at 18, but it may be more now," Hurst said. "Ohio State Alabama, Miami and Penn State were the last four to offer me."

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Hurst was named to the first-team offense at the Army Combine in January. Since then he has had offers come in from all over the country, which intrigues the top tackle.

"Yeah I am really excited about all the options that I have been given," he said. "There are so many different places involved, so I have to go to as many as I can, and see if it is the right one for me."

With unofficial visits planned next month to North Carolina, Duke, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida, Hurst is looking for some answers.

"The first thing I plan to look for is if I am comfortable on the campus and how I would feel living there for four or five years," said Hurst. "The second thing is my relationship with the coaches and what they expect from me as a player, how they plan to use me, and the responsibilities that I will have."

Even though signing day is 10 months away, there is always a chance that a school can jump out in front, but Hurst will need to do a lot of travelling if he hopes to find out. Right now he has his sights set on the teams on his upcoming trip.

"Well I guess the schools that standout for me right now are the ones I mentioned that I will be visiting," he said. "I know a little bit more about them than I do the other schools, but hopefully I can visit some of the other schools and eliminate some teams and put some high on my list."

Will all of the colleges involved have a chance to host the elite prospect before he trims the list?

"After my spring break I am going to cut it down to 10, and I will be committing the first or second week of August so I can get it done before the season starts," he said.

With offers from Ohio State, Illinois, and Michigan State, Hurst has the chance to play his college ball in a BCS school near home. So will he keep that in mind when it is time for a decision?

"Location for me really does not mean a whole lot."

Hurst mentioned the interest is there for him to play football in the south. He actually followed one school growing up, and Hurst gave a very good reason for it.

"Alabama, my dad played there," Hurst said. "Me and my brother both grew up as Alabama fans. They offered me about two weeks ago."

Another team that offered Hurst recently is Georgia. Hurst admitted that while he does not know a whole lot about the Bulldogs, he hopes to soon enough.

"I know Georgia is one of the top in the SEC every year. I talked to Coach (Mark) Richt and the offensive line coach (Stacey Searels). They are both good people and I had a real good time talking to them," he said. "I am looking forward to seeing the campus, finding more about the school and their football program."

While the top teams from across the country are fighting for the big lineman's signature, he is still in shock himself. Hurst admits he is amazed to be able to call up some of the biggest names in college football.

"Nick Saban, Mark Richt, Charlie Weiss, you see these people on TV, never thinking you would have the chance to talk to them. It's pretty awesome," Hurst admitted.

Having talent that is sought after can open doors, but there is more work behind the scenes that Hurst feels cannot be overlooked. He was quick to give credit where he felt was due.

"My family helps me reason through things and give me ideas, and that's not to mention taking me everywhere to see all these different colleges. I cannot say enough about how much it means for them to give me the opportunity," he said. "Also my Coach, Brian Woodard, has really honestly done most of the work. He contacts all the schools and gets my information out and has helped me out tremendously."

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