February 15, 2011

Thuney reminds coach of a special talent

It isn't often that a talent like New York Jets All-Pro center Nick Mangold comes along. After finishing his career at Ohio State as a three-year starter and finalist for the Outland and Remington Trophies, Mangold was selected 29th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft and has been dominating at the highest level of competition ever since. He has started all 80 regular season games and been named All-Pro in each of the past two seasons.

Kettering (Ohio) Archbishop Alter coach Ed Domsitz mentored Mangold during his near 20 years at the school and remembers sending off a kid who could weigh no more than 250 pounds to Columbus.

While he is obviously hesitant to compare anybody to his star former pupil, Domsitz admits that NC State signee Joseph Thuney (pronounced Tooney) reminds him of a young Mangold. Like his famous predecessor, Thuney was a three-year starter on successful teams at Alter and preformed the rare task of starring on both lines as a senior for the longtime coach.

"Our offensive line coach says he has better feet than Nick," Domsitz said. "I keep saying, 'Nick has been All-Pro for two years in a row, I'm not quite sure I'm going to say that yet,' but I think he compares quite favorably with Nick in many ways, especially on the high school level. Of course, we've seen what Nick has done at Ohio State and with the New York Jets, but he's been a measuring stick ever since he left here. Joe's probably as close as we've seen in that same mold.

"Nick was one of the last tremendous offensive linemen that we've had that also played defensive line and could dominate. Mangold could do that and Thuney could do that. They could just beat the man across from them and get to the football. I would never compare anybody to Nick but I'd say Joe has some of those same attributes."

Although the 6-5 Thuney is currently the starting center on the basketball team and checks in at 230 pounds, he was even skinner when he began starting of the offensive line as a sophomore. That was on a state championship squad and forced the young Thuney to develop flawless technique while utilizing his speed and intelligence against stronger opponents. Now, Thuney has the complete package with impressive strength on a frame that is ready to pack on more weight.

"Nick put on a reasonable amount of weight on at Ohio State in just a year or two," Domsitz remembers, while saying the only thing that prevented Notre Dame and Ohio State from offering Thuney a scholarship was his current weight. "I think these colleges do a good job of putting weight on kids. To me, probably the least significant factor [in recruiting] should be how much they weigh at the time.

"My guess is he'll put on at least 30 pounds. It's all about where he is going to end up - is he a defensive lineman? IF he ends up as an offensive lineman, they will want him to put on more weight. I think he's capable of doing that."

In addition to a touting a GPA higher than 4.0 and the surprising nimbleness of an athletic center on the hardwood, Thuney showed great potential on the defensive line in his short time on that side of the ball. Domsitz wished he could have seen his star senior concentrate on just one side of the ball, but it was impossible to keep the team captain off of the defensive side once he got a taste of it. The coach noted that Thuney was the centerpiece of the offensive line, but really progressed on the other side despite never playing there in his first two years on the varsity squad.

"He dominated on one side of the line of scrimmage, coaches would even tell me after games that they ran away from his side of the field," the coach said. "We even played him a bit on the interior and teams would still make a conscious effort to run away from him. … I don't care how good you are, playing both ways wears you down in the fourth quarter, but he was durable.

"When you're looking for leadership characteristics, Joe has those. In the clutch, he's one of those guys that is going to make the block, he's going to get off the block and make the tackle. He's going to be a real positive force out there. I think he's a kid who raises the level of play of the other kids on the team.

"We've only had a few like that, Chris Borland who is at Wisconsin, Austin Boucher at Miami (Ohio) and Mangold. Every now and then you get a kid like that who has that caliber of play and leadership ability."

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