The St. Thomas football team currently flew a lot for San Diego on Friday as it looks to improve 2-0 in the Pioneer Football League. But early returns on Tommy’s first recruiting class of Division I players suggest there are more sunny days ahead.
Tight end Aiden Carlson, right guard Shia Albrecht and nose tackle Jordan Titus are starting the season. Left tackle Alec Rasmussen and cornerback Yousef Leakes started last week with wins over Butler.
In addition, running left guard Langston Robinson, wide receiver Andrew McElroy and Shaun Shipman have all seen significant game time for the Tommys (2-1).
St Thomas’ head coach Glenn Caruso said: “I think our coaches have done a good job of not only getting them together quickly, but keeping the system pretty simple in some situations.” “So if they don’t understand the whole plan, we can take the player that he can and let him play.”
Caruso considers the 6-foot-4, 318-pound Albrecht the most polished freshman on the team.
“He came ready to contribute on the first day,” Caruso said. “All we had to do was teach him offense.”
Albrecht is a Power 5 talent, Caruso said, and the types of recruits Tommy can’t expect to land on a regular basis.
“If a child is perfectly polished, we’re limited in their chances of getting him versus the Power 5 school,” Caruso said. “But if we can take a guy like McElroy or Carlson and have them grow and develop, that’s usually great for us.”
At 227 pounds, Carlsen will continue to add to his 6-4 frame, but Caruso said he has already shown the ability to block and catch the ball.
Leek, a native of Orlando, Fla., began his high school career as a receiver and running back before turning to the corner as a junior. He has taken the post.
“I like to snatch the best player from the other team,” he said.
Leek is in great shape for a cornerback at 6-1 and has already added eight pounds after hitting 172 pounds.
Titus (6-1,303 pounds) is more than a run stuffer, Caruso said, pointing to his quickness and athleticism.
Caruso said Rasmussen, at 6-6, 288 pounds, scored the highest grade among Tommy’s offensive linemen against Butler.
“I think I did a really good job,” Rasmussen said. “The coach (Jeff Duvenbeck) did a great job of preparing me. He helped me do the little things the right way and it showed on Saturday.
There were a few dozen recruits at O’Shaughnessy Stadium last Saturday to see Tommy win his first match. Caruso has a fine control over the type of student-athlete who came away impressed.
“There are three common threads in our recruitment,” Caruso said. “A kid who loves his team, a kid who has played many sports, and we have a plethora of kids to coach. There are 56 kids on the roster whose fathers coached him in high school.
“I think the kids at Coach are attracted to the type of program we run.”
Winning also helps. San Diego is 0-4, including a loss to Davidson in their conference opening match last week. But Caruso was impressed by what he saw of Toreros on tape.
“They’re going to test us in the passing game,” Caruso said. “They play with a lot of personnel groups, which we don’t see a lot. He has a very talented quarterback who is capable of pushing the ball vertically. ”
Defense is also a team’s strength. San Diego is coached by former NFL linebacker and defensive coordinator Dale Lindsay.