Trieu: Michigan's Big House a big draw for California offensive tackle Thomas Cole

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

Michigan is hoping they can successfully recruit a big California tackle for the second straight class.

In the 2020 cycle, that recruit was Jeffrey Persi, a four-star from J Serra Catholic in San Juan Capistrano.

Thomas Cole, an offensive lineman from San Luis Obispo, recently named Michigan to a top four along with Arizona, California and Oregon State.

This time around, it is Thomas Cole of San Luis Obispo, who is listed at the exact same size as Persi, 6-foot-7, 265 pounds.

Like Persi, Cole’s list of choices come mostly from the West Coast, but relationships with the coaching staff and Ed Warinner’s history of developing players at the position, are giving the Wolverines a chance to battle programs closer to home.

He recently named Michigan to a top four along with Arizona, California and Oregon State.

“I have really enjoyed connecting with Coach Warinner,” Cole said. “It doesn’t get any better than the Big House, and I really want to try and get out there for a visit.”

Cole has not been to Michigan before, with the extension of the dead period due to COVID-19 playing a role in that. He has adjusted to having to move through recruiting virtually more than in-person.

“I came from coaching in the college ranks,” San Luis Obispo High head coach Patrick Johnston said. “So much of what we were doing at the FCS level was seeing kids in person and seeing how they could move. Fortunately for Thomas, his recruitment started as a sophomore with coaches coming around to see him so they could see what he would grow into.”

“During this time period, I give kudos to Thomas’ ability to communicate with people,” Johnston added. “Coaches from all over the country are calling once, twice a week and he is having long conversations with head coaches from Power Five conferences. That is a unique deal for a teenager, but he is mature beyond his years. It has been interesting to see coaches from the other side of the country stamp him by offering from seeing his film and getting to interact with him on the phone.”

This fall will be Cole’s third with the varsity. Johnston met him as an eighth-grader and he already was nearly 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds.

“He has always been a really well spoken, polite young man,” Johnston said “He comes from a good family and knows how to interact with adults. Meeting him as an eighth-grader, it wasn’t a mystery he would be a very recruitable football player at some point. Seeing him on the basketball court, his footwork, fast-twitch muscle and all that, it’s no surprise where he is now.”

That is as much of a function of what Cole does away from the field as what his big frame and franchise left tackle tools have done on it.

“He is a very good worker, very coachable,” Johnston said. “I’m fortunate to have a good high school coaching staff with experience who can give him some little tidbits on how to be successful. In the classroom, you can’t ask for too much more from a guy. He is at a competitive academic public high school and he is at a 3.7-3.8 (grade-point average) right now.”

247Sports rates Cole a four-star prospect.

National analyst Greg Biggins says Cole “shows excellent lateral mobility and can get to the second level with ease. He is a converted tight end and has just one year of offensive line experience but shows a natural aggressive edge to his game.”

He is ranked the No. 33 rising senior prospect in the state of California.

Wolverines make top 10 for 4-star

Dasan McCullough, a four-star prospect in the 2022 class, has put Michigan in an early top ten.

A starter since his freshman year at Overland Park (Kansas) Blue Valley North, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound McCullough could project to several positions at the next level, but has played safety/outside linebacker in high school.

Michigan discovered him while recruiting Amauri Pesek-Hickson, who was committed to the Wolverines for a time.

McCullough is the son of Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough.

Clemson, Florida, LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida State and USC comprise the remainder of his top 10.

247Sports ranks McCullough the No. 73 recruit nationally in his class.

2022 offer in Virginia

Michigan has offered a scholarship to Chesapeake (Virginia) Oscar Smith defensive back Sherrod Covil Jr.

The 6-foot-0, 190-pound Covil Jr. has other offers from Michigan State, Virginia Tech, NC State, Tennessee and more.

Safeties coach Bob Shoop is recruiting Covil for Michigan.

He has not been to Ann Arbor before, but plans to visit when the dead period ends.

More information

Thomas Cole profile

Dasan McCullough profile

Sherrod Covil Jr. profile

Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at