Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 26, 2013

Titan has lots of options

By JAMES COOK jcook@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Thiyo Lukusa has options. Serious options.

On Thursday, the Traverse City West sophomore-to-be received a scholarship offer from Michigan State. On Saturday, he makes his official visit to Michigan.

And he hasn’t even started a varsity football game yet.

The Titans’ mammoth left tackle stands 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds. He was called up from junior varsity for three games at the end of last season, rotating at left tackle with incumbent starter Alec Coolman in two regular-season contests and West’s playoff appearance against Rockford.

“I’m happy,” Lukusa said. “And I just want to keep working. It’s great to get the offer, and I’m really excited about it. I’m just happy everything I’m doing at TC West, all that stuff is paying off for me. I’m ready for us to have a great high school season.”

Lukusa has an official visit Saturday at Michigan — and his final decision could come down to the rival Spartans and Wolverines.

“I really have been talking to in-state schools,” Lukusa said. “I’ve gotten letters from all over, but the ones that have talked to me the most are Michigan and Michigan State.”

He went to the Michigan State camp June 12, and said he was offered a scholarship Thursday by Spartans offensive line coach Mark Staten.

“They said I had some things to work on,” Lukusa said. “I agreed, and that’s how it went.”

Lukusa said paying three sports — he also plays basketball and track — has been beneficial for his athletic ability in football.

“The opportunities I get at West, I always took them for granted until everything started falling into place,” Lukusa said. “I’m really happy I can do all that stuff.”

Lukusa stood out — even on varsity — when he was called up from the JV team in a week eight matchup with Ogemaw Heights.

“He was good enough to play (on varsity) week one, physically,” West coach Tim Wooer said. “But as a coach, the kids have to come first. We wanted to be careful with how we handled that process. It’s worked out well. By week seven, he was ready to rock and roll.”

In addition to his frame, Lukusa also possesses great footwork, which enhances his value as a blocker.

“Michigan was aware of him coming into his freshman year,” Wooer said. “He was on their radar, because he went down to their camp and had a good camp down there. He caught some eyes, you might say.”

The Titans could have one of the state’s top offensive lines. In addition to Lukusa stepping in at tackle, and 290-pound Pittsburgh commit Connor Hayes at guard, they have Tommy Roush returning after a stint in Petoskey. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound sophomore guard is drawing interest from a lot of Division 1 schools, and is also slated to visit Michigan with Lukusa on Saturday. The Titans also have starters Coolman (250), Tyler Town (235) and Wilson Unke (235) back.