Dover High School senior Trip Thurman has made his college decision and will be joining the University of Florida football team in 2011.

Though he still has a year of high school football left, Dover High School senior Trip Thurman has had his mind on college all summer.

The heavily recruited offensive lineman has taken that burden off his mind though, when last week he decided to accept an offer and commit to the University of Florida.

With 17 Division-I offers on the table, Thurman said, he narrowed his choices down to Florida, the University of South Carolina and Boston College, eventually deciding to join Coach Urban Meyer and the rest of the Gators.

The 17-year-old Thurman, who stands at 6 feet 6 inches and weighs 310 pounds, said after going to a camp and working out with some of the best in the country in Gainesville earlier this summer, he just felt it was the right fit, both for football and academics.

“I know I’m going to graduate from there,” he said. “It’s a great education and a good degree. And also the football down here is just great. I just love [offensive coordinator Steve Addazio]. He really wants me and I really liked him at camp.”

Rated on as the No. 96 recruit overall and No. 15 offensive lineman in the country, Thurman was glad to make his decision this summer.

“I wanted to get this decision out of the way before the season so that we can focus on trying to win the state championship for Dover High School,” he said.

Heading to Florida, one of the top college football programs in the country, Thurman is going to see competition on a level that he’d never experience in Delaware.

That jump up in the level of play is something Dover Head Coach Carlton Brown said is not going to be a problem.

Brown noted that Thurman is the type of player who can elevate his game to match the level of his competition, something he displayed at the Gators’ camp he attended.

“We went to the camp back in June, and I saw him going against some other top recruits and he did fine,” he said. “It’s amazing when you watch a kid and you talk about levels of competition and how they bring their game up. I don’t think we’ve tapped into his full potential here yet.”

Thurman said he isn’t just looking at this accomplishment as something for him and his family, but for Delaware football overall.

“I showed that I could play down here,” he said. “A lot of people don’t respect Delaware football, and I proved myself down here at camp.”

As the second Senator to verbally commit to a Division-I program this summer — senior Kamal Abrams accepted an offer from the University of Connecticut earlier this month — Thurman is bringing recognition to goals that Brown set out when he first took over as head coach.

“It’s going to mean a lot to the program, but overall when I came in my whole attitude was to help kids go to college,” Brown said. “They’re students first and that means the classroom is more important than the actual playing of football. If you don’t have the grades, you won’t be able to play football.”

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