October 30, 2009

O'Reilly nabs first offer

Pope junior offensive lineman Thomas O'Reilly got a nice surprise on Friday morning when he got to school. O'Reilly has been waiting for his first offer and after putting out a set of junior highlights earlier in the week, O'Reilly finally got his first official scholarship offer from the school he has visited the most.

O'Reilly was offered a scholarship by the Georgia Tech and he was thrilled with the offer.

"It is awesome to finally have an offer and it feels great to get the first one to get the ball rolling," he said. "It is cool they offered first. Before this year I did not know much about Tech, but I took a chance and tried to go to all the games and try to get a feel for the atmosphere and meet all the coaches. It has been cool."

Seeing the momentum of the Georgia Tech program under head coach Paul Johnson has O'Reilly seriously thinking about a playing future in Atlanta.

"I think Tech is my leader right now because they are doing so well. They are a program that is definitely on the rise and they will be competing for a National Championship in each of the next five years. Paul Johnson is a great guy and a great coach and I feel like he can get it done."

The Greyhounds run a similar offense to the Jackets only they use more shotgun elements rather than taking all the snaps under center. O'Reilly feels very comfortable with the type of offense the Jackets run.

"We pretty much almost the same offense to the triple option. The blocking schemes are the same and it is the same technique of going low and drive blocking. We are going to mash the ball every single time until we can't move the ball," he said. "The Tech coaches told me that I am a great fit for their program and I am the right body size. They are looking for guys more my body size than the six-foot-eight tackles, because I give them something better to work with."

O'Reilly was so pumped by the Tech offer, he has hardly been able to keep his emotions in check.

"Today has been pretty cool and I have been kind of jumpy. I don't know what to think," he said. "I am not quite sure what to do. I have heard since I started playing in seventh grade that I might have a chance to play D-1. My coach has told me that he has always seen me as a D-1 football player. It is kind of cool to see all that talk turn into reality."

With his first offer in his pocket, O'Reilly thinks he will have several other schools step up in the next few weeks and months to get into the mix with the Yellow Jackets.

"I think this will open things up. Every time I talk to a coach they ask if I have an offer yet, and I think that one might open more gates because they see how well Georgia Tech is doing and how high up they are."

Staying close to home is very important for O'Reilly and that puts the two local programs in the lead for his services as well as any of the Alabama or neighboring programs.

"I grew up a Georgia fan and it would be cool to get an offer from them," he said. "Growing up in the South we had great football, so anywhere around here would be cool. The big thing is that I want to be close to home. When you are on the road for days at a time and getting beaten up and bruised all you want to do is see your family. If I can go around here, my parents will have a chance to watch me play and I can still spend time with them."

O'Reilly's parents have told him to think beyond the football fields when making a final decision, so he goes somewhere he will be happy if football does not work out.

"Every time I talk to my parents they tell me to think about, if I got hurt would I still enjoy where you go to school," he said. "They have been telling me if you get an offer from say, Georgia Tech. That you can do a lot worse, don't take that for granted and really look into what that program has to offer and see if it feels right."

Committing is a little far from O'Reilly's mind at the moment, he wants to take some visits and probably make a decision next summer like most kids do nowadays.

"Right now I feel like it is early to make a decision because I am in my junior season. I don't feel like I will drag it out until my senior year. I hope by next summer, I will have something worked out. That is what our guard Grant Ramsey did who is going to Vanderbilt. He wanted to have that wrapped up before his senior year."

As far as visits for the rest of the year go, O'Reilly was supposed to attend the Vanderbilt- Georgia Tech game this weekend, but a family engagement will prevent him from traveling. He has plans to see the Jackets two more times this year, Georgia once at home and possibly a trip to Tuscaloosa.

"I am hoping to get to an Alabama game. I am going to the Georgia-Auburn game and definitely going to a few more Georgia Tech games like Georgia Tech-Wake Forest and Georgia Tech-Georgia. I feel like the last one will be a great matchup," he said.

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