Meet Commit No. 15, K/P Mike Tarbutt
It was a long bus ride on Friday to Columbus, OH, for the sixth game of the final high school season for the 15th commit of the 2015 UConn football recruiting class.
Travel is nothing new, however, for Mike Tarbutt, who commutes every day from his home in Canada, to Canisius High School, just south of the northern border, in Buffalo, NY.
“I wanted exposure,” Tarbutt said over the phone on Wednesday. “That was a big thing. It’s really hard to get any type of exposure, especially being a kicker and punter up there [in Canada]. It’s difficult and I knew if I wanted to make a jump, I not only needed to go to a school in the states, but I needed to go to someone who was going to get noticed with a lot of prospects. Canisius is just over the border, so I drive. It’s just 45 minutes to an hour, I go over the border everyday.”
Not bad for pursuing your dream, huh?
Tarbutt is also a quick decision maker. UConn offered on Friday and as soon as he heard, the 6′ 0′ 176-pound kicker and punter, committed right then and there.
“They called around 10AM and left a message with my coach, but once I heard, I committed on the spot,” Tarbutt said. “I’ve been talking with the staff for awhile and I knew it was the place for me. I was on campus for a camp over the summer, didn’t really get a full visit, but I did get a tour of the facility.”
Assistant head coach Don Patterson was Tarbutt’s main recruiter.
“The entire coaching staff is great,” Tarbutt noted, “but Patterson stood out. He was always keeping me up to date and ensuring I knew this wasn’t just a one-time thing. The staff there is doing a good job. They are obviously going to have ups and downs, being their first year at UConn, but I know we are going to turn it around.”
The staff has done their due diligence, ensuring everyone they bring in, is not only a solid football player, but one that has high character and can handle themselves. It’s no different with Tarbutt, who’s school is an all-Catholic high school.
“It just helps me to be appreciative of everything and realize that not everything is possible,” he humbly noted. “We do fifty (50) hours of community service, which is mandatory, but it really opens your eyes wherever you go. I volunteered at a hospice the whole summer and it just makes you feel better as a person and makes me want to help out more in my community.”
Tarbutt had a few words about the game in Columbus last weekend.
“It was a rough game Saturday, we didn’t play fully to our potential, they had a really muddy field and we were slipping all over the place.”
One would think they took their first loss of the year, right? Wrong.
“We still won 21-14,” Tarbutt said. “Right now we are 44th in the nation by USA Today at 6-0. We have a really good team, with a number of really good prospects. It was really hard to do any sort of kicking because of the field, but we had three TD’s. I was coming off a little thing on my stomach (abscess), so I really didn’t do too much, leading in.”
Tarbutt possesses a very strong leg.
“My career long in a game is 52,” he recalled. “I’ve done that once down in the states and once back home in Canada.”
He sees himself as more of a kicker, than punter, but didn’t throw away the possibility of doing both at UConn.
“I think they’ll give me the opportunity,” he said. “I just need to work on consistency with my punting, but when I hit my A ball, I can hit it pretty well.”
Before we were done, Tarbutt mentioned that UConn football’s unofficial main recruiter, quarterback commit Tyler Davis, sent his congratulations.
“We had a short conversation,” Tarbutt said. “He was preparing for a game last Friday, but he sent me a text message over twitter. I’m excited about my decision and can’t wait to get to UConn.”by