January 14, 2008

The Red Raiders offer a kicker

The fact that one of [tm]Texas Tech[/tm]'s highest priorities in this recruiting class is finding Alex Trlica's replacement makes Beaumont kicker Donnie Carona's official visit to Lubbock this weekend all the more intriguing.

The left-footed kicker, who is known for his booming kick-offs and accuracy on field goals, had offers from [tm]Air Force[/tm] and [tm]Lousiana Tech[/tm] going into the weekend, and many observers liked his odds of leaving the South Plains with a third offer.

"It went really, really well," said the senior. "I haven't made a final decision yet, but it's looking really strong right now. I'm going to wait two or three days and talk about it with my family just to make sure I'm sure and then get them a decision as soon as I can."

As for that third offer, Carona received the news he had been waiting so long to hear on Saturday night.

"They offered me last night at dinner," said an obviously excited Carona. "Then we had some meetings again today (Sunday) and I got to meet Coach (Dennis) Simmons again and then Coach (Mike) Leach, which was great."

When asked to elaborate on his thoughts about Tech's head coach, Carona couldn't help but laugh.

"He showed me his card trick," laughed the two-star kicker. "It was unbelievable. I'm serious, it was crazy. I still have no idea how he did it, but it was impressive, that's for sure. Oh, and there's this big statue of a pirate in his office too, which was pretty funny."

The Beaumont product went on to explain that Leach's card trick was more than just visually impressive.

"It makes you settle down a little bit," he commented. "I mean, Coach Leach is one of the most popular coaches in the country right now, but when he does that, it makes you feel comfortable and kinda lets you know that you can just be yourself around him, which was a cool feeling."

So just how close to committing is Carona?

"Right now I would say I'm pretty sure," he said. "I doubt there are any other places that could ever top this. It was a great visit and there wasn't anything about it I didn't like."

However, just like you'd expect from a 4.0 student, Carona says he's making sure he only has to announce his intentions once.

"I think I'd be done with visits if I commit," he explained. "If I make a commitment, I want to stick to that, so I'm just making sure this is where I want to be for sure so I can make sure I'm done for good."

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