- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Matt Finnin does not get swept up in the brand name or the logo on the front of the jersey. The juco offensive tackle from the College of Dupage (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) has more than 20 offers with some big BCS programs among them, but Finnin is looking for more than just a top program.
“It’s the relationship I have with the offensive line coach,” Finnin said. “I want to come in and love the next two years.”
Finnin has even turned a few BCS programs away recently. Those programs have come in late, and Finnin has built loyalties elsewhere.
Last week, Finnin listed his top three, in order, of Marshall, FIU and Kansas. Maryland and West Virginia rounded out the top five, and he had official visits set up to each.
Marshall has been Finnin’s top school for quite some time as he has a great relationship with offensive line coach Geep Wade.
“They were the first school to offer and been talking to [Wade] at least once a week if not more,” Finnin said. “I’ve been talking to him for about three months now. He’s a good dude.”
Finnin was shocked and upset to hear about the firing of Mario Cristobal at Florida International. Offensive line coach Alex Mirabal made an in-home visit with Finnin earlier this week.
The removal of Cristobal opened up room for Oklahoma, which offered Wednesday. Finnin set up an official visit to Oklahoma the weekend of Jan. 11, which was originally set for FIU.
The first official visit for Finnin begins Friday as he will head to Kansas. Jayhawks coach Charlie Weis will make an in-home visit with Finnin on Thursday.
“It’s my first time out there [so looking forward to] meeting the coaches face to face,” Finnin said. “Coach Weis is coming out Dec. 6 to my house to meet my parents and me in person. Coach Weis is a legened. He won three Super Bowls with the Patriots and was the head coach at Notre Dame. He’s a great coach.”
Maryland will get his second visit the weekend of Dec. 14, and his final two visits will go to West Virginia on Jan. 18 and then Marshall gets the final visit Jan. 25.
A coach from the Terrapins came out to meet Finnin recently and talked to him about the need for an experienced tackle.
“He was showing me film on how they have a true freshman at left tackle and a senior at right tackle. They don’t have much depth, so that’s why they’re going after juco guys” Finnin said. “Maryland is a tough academic school to get into, so it’s a good opportunity.”
A decision will likely come right around signing day as Finnin wants to take all his visits, which he regrets not doing when he committed to Western Michigan out of high school.
Finnin will have two years of eligibility left when he arrives to a Division I school, but he is applying for a waiver for an additional year.
Finnin is surprised he saw so much attention from schools but said the techniques he learned at Western Michigan translated well to the juco level. He also mentioned his athleticism as something schools told him they covet, and he admits that at 6-foot-8 and 305 pounds, a 5.0 in the 40-yard dash is “pretty darn good.”
12hJake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon