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August 27, 2007

Furstenburg's long journey

While most of the 2007 graduates of Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington, N.J. are getting set to begin college in the coming weeks, Matt Furstenburg is readying himself for another season of prep football, despite being a member of the ’07 HCHS class.

The delay in starting college will be brief for Furstenburg, who’s attending The Hun School in Princeton, N.J. before joining the Maryland football team in January. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound tight end committed to the Terps earlier this month.

“This transition year is a lot better,” said Furstenburg, who is planning to study criminology at UM. “It’s not like I’m too far away from home. I’m here for a couple months … it’s kind of just preparing me for Maryland and for real college life.”

It’s not as if Maryland suddenly popped up on Furstenburg’s radar. He started receiving letters from Ralph Friedgen’s staff as a junior. After attending the Terps’ summer football camp before his senior year, the interest picked up even more.

“They really liked me there and they just kept calling me and writing me letters,” Furstenburg said. “They wanted to see my senior film.”

Then came a serious blow to Furstenburg’s Division I plans.

At Penn State’s summer camp, Furstenburg suffered a fairly significant hamstring injury, sidelining him for the remainder of camp/combine season – and placing himself squarely off the radar of college coaches.

“I think that’s where I got killed with the recruiting,” Furstenburg said.

Furstenburg aggravated the hamstring later that summer, and the injury lingered through his senior season. Despite missing three games, Furstenburg was able to manage roughly 30 receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns, as well as seven sacks and one interception returned for a touchdown.

Still, he admittedly wasn’t 100 percent, and it showed at times on his senior film.

But while there was heavy DI attention for Furstenburg in lacrosse (Rutgers, Johns Hopkins and Virginia all expressed interest), he held firm in his desire to play football.

“I had offers from Division I-AA schools (New Hampshire, Wagner and Delaware among others), so I knew I was going to play football no matter what,” Furstenburg said. “If it came down to it, I was going to play Division I-AA, but I knew I would get to the Division I level.”

By the time January rolled around, however, Furstenburg was still without that elusive DI offer. On a tip from friend who went there, he made inquiries into The Hun School.

When Signing Day came, Furstenburg was committed to playing football and spending at least half of a post-grad school year at the Princeton, N.J. college preparatory school. Strangely enough, that choice may have been crucial in Furstenburg ultimately landing at Maryland.

“When [the Maryland coaches] heard I was going to The Hun, they started up [recruiting me] again.”

That interest finally led to a scholarship offer in July, which Furstenburg accepted about two weeks later, thus ending a long and seemingly never-ending recruiting process.

So while many of his teammates at The Hun will use this year as an audition for DI schools, Furstenburg will be fine-tuning his game for College Park.

“I’m going to give 100 percent,” Furstenburg said. “I’m not going to hold back anything. [Playing at The Hun] will keep me in football shape and the Maryland coaches want to see how I do. They’re still evaluating and I’ll show them what kind of character I have.

“I was just waiting for a school. I would have committed anywhere really. But I’m really glad that I didn’t and I’m going to be a Terp.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:50 AM | | Comments (0)
        

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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