June 2, 2012

The recruiting episode of LB, John Strauser

In what may be one of the most interesting recruiting dynamics and/or challenges for the Army coaching staff in reason years, if anything else, the eventual end result will be worth hanging around for.

So, let's list some of the key players in this "If you told me this was a weekly television series", I probably would not believe you.

First you have the prospect himself and that's John Strauser, where the 6-foot-4, 240 pound athlete has pulled down six offers thus far. Three of those offers lead us to the remaining cast of characters.

The Cast

In no particular order ... but let's start with 1st year Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers, Paul Chryst, who is personally and actively recruiting Strauser. Oh did we mention that Chryst is Strauser's uncle.

"It's obviously a unique situation," says Strauser, with the understatement of the year.

Then there's the offer from Illinois, where Strauser's dad, David (Sr.) , is a professor at the Big Ten school.

Next up is Army, where Strauser, his parents and his two brothers, Matt and David, who attend Princeton and University of Pennsylvania respectively are more than excited with offer from the Black Knights and Recruiting Coordinator, Tucker Waugh.

"Actually Coach Waugh sent my dad an email before he called me and told him they were going to offer me to attend the United States Military Academy," shares the defensive end prospect. "He said he was at his desk and he read it ... it kind of hit, like wow. That's powerful to read. What the players do there, not every one can to and it's powerful stuff what they do and what they do for this country. I know my parents were excited about the honor of being chosen to being part of that fraternity and the same with my brothers."

The Army offer is a great offer from various reasons and I know that Johnny respects it a lot." declares Strauser's dad. "Just being asked by West Point and to be involved with them is a tremendous honor. Secondly, the football tradition at Army is immense, and he knows that, as parents we know it and it's a great storied program and is great opportunity and a unique on because all that goes along with it."

The Black Knights' Offer

As excited as it appears Strauser is with Army stepping to the plate, it's his recollection of where he was how and when it occurred that stands out as much as the offer itself.

"I got an offer from them last week and I was actually out fishing when I got the offer; that was kind of something crazy to think about .... when you think about the quote ("I want an officer for a secret and dangerous mission. I want a West Point football player")," states Strauser. "So it's amazing that they would want me to be part of that type of fraternity."

"Previously he (Waugh) talked to my day and he heard about me from one of the parents from my high school. It was kind of a team effort I would say. He broke the news to me that they were offering and walk me through what the recruiting process would be like with Army. Obviously it's a different type of process, because there are different repercussions about being a Black Knight football player. We also went through the educational steps of what is it to be a Black Knight football player. So it was more educational once we got the offer out of the way."

So with the aforementioned recruiting episodes unfolding, what is the two way starter out of Champaign (Ill.) High School of St. Thomas thinking when it comes to Army?

"I'm both interested and intrigued because you are talking about an institution that sets you up for the rest of your life," he points out. "It would be very rewarding to serve a country that has given you some many opportunities and to give back to that cause means a lot. It is very safe to say they are on my list of schools that I am very interested in."

For those who have not seen Strauser in action, he offered this self assessment of his talents. "I am a hard nose player ... lunch pail kind of mentality, which I think is great for a school like Army, Pittsburgh ... really any school," says the prospect, who also wrestles at the heavy weight class. "I play down in the trenches hard and biggest part of the game that I need to improve on are those little things. You need to always be better fundamentally ... just basic things. You can never be too prepared and be a student of the game."

And what is he looking for in a college?

"The people around the program and coaching staff is a big starting point for me," states the two-way player, who starts at both linebacker and fullback. "The are in charge of recruiting the players and if they put a value on something and they will get that value out of the players. The truth is, you don't win with the weight room or how cool your jerseys are or how big your stadium but you win with the players around you ... the people your surround yourself with. I'm looking for a place that gets me places beyond football. That's where I'm putting the biggest value in now. Of course you have to look at the academic portion too. My family puts a very high value on academics."

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