The race for Mario Eugenio's commitment continues to grow in participants. The Tampa (Fla.) Gaither pass rusher has been among the top edge producers in the Sunshine State over the last two years and his recruitment has been very active ever since.
The 6'4", 240-pound prospect has seen the staggering total rise up to 30. Miami, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi State, Arizona State, Washington State and Illinois were among those to be added to the list in March.
April has featured an offer from the Oregon Ducks just this week and it came with something the other 29 did not.
"I was in a Zoom meeting with the defensive coordinator, Tim DeRuyter," Eugenio said. "In the meeting I spoke to him, the linebackers coach (Ken Wilson) and then Coach (Mario) Cristobal came in. It was pretty cool because they asked me to say my last name, so I told them you could say it in two different ways. In English it's, 'yoo-jee-nee-oh' and in Spanish it's, 'eh-oo-he-nee-oh.'
"None of them could say it, so Coach Cristobal came in and started speaking to me in Spanish. It was a pretty cool experience because that was the first coach to speak to me in Spanish. It really shocked me, actually. Once he said my last name properly I was like, 'what?'"
Beyond Cristobal's surprise to the rising-senior recruit with roots in the Dominican Republic, the program and its conference has plenty to sell and the communication between the two parties won't soon slow.
"I think they're a pretty good program," he said. "The Pac-12 is a great place for edge rushers because of how much the QBs throw in that conference. But there's still a lot of stuff to learn about Oregon, so we set up Zoom meetings for next week."
Michigan and Jim Harbaugh offered in February and has since been in the most consistent communication with the Tampa talent. An official visit has been set and it's the only trip confirmed at this time.
"It's going to be June 18-20," Eugenio said. "I like how they're recruiting me. I speak to a Michigan coach almost every single day, the outside linebackers coach (George Helow) and the D-Line coach (Shaun Nua). They text me every single day.
"I want to get to know the coaches in person, I want to see the campus. My family is going to go up there with me, so I want to see if they like it. I just want to feel the experience."
Among the 30 options, there is a list of favorites beginning to form and Eugenio will go public with the cut sometime soon, he says. Regardless of how many favorites appear on said list, he knows what he is looking for in the ideal program.
"A well-run defense, a good relationship with the coaches and I want to ask some players how they feel about their program," he said. "Any coach can tell me good things about their program, but I want to ask the athletes that play for them, how it is and how it goes down over there."
There is also one major program in contact yet to offer -- Clemson. Few out-of-state programs have recruited the Tampa area like the ACC power has and there is a connection between the Tigers and the Gaither program with Kobe McCloud, the younger brother of former Tiger and current Pittsburgh Steeler Ray-Ray McCloud, on the Cowboy roster.
Eugenio, who has collected 30 varsity sacks over the last two seasons, has no timeline in mind when it comes to coming to a college decision.
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