North Allegheny HS (Wexford, PA)
NR: ***** - Position Rank: 1
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His Recruiting Story
Having a dad coaching one of the most physical offensive lines in the NFL, North Allegheny offensive lineman Patrick Kugler was privy to developmental tips, tricks and insight from professionals the likes of which even most college offensive linemen don’t ordinarily receive. Father, Sean Kugler, offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, tried to be hands off as much as possible but offered his two cents when the time was necessary.
"He honestly doesn't say too much during the season," Pat explained. "After last season, we made a highlight film and he wrote down everything that I needed to improve. It was mainly my pass sets, so we went to a local park and worked a lot on them."
Just three weeks into his junior season in Pennsylvania, Kugler had already compiled offers from some of the nation’s best college football programs. A list of 15 that included Penn State, Pittsburgh, Florida State, West Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Michigan State, Purdue, North Carolina, Boise State, Virginia Tech, Miami, Connecticut, Colorado, and Stanford.
Living in Clarkston, Michigan between grades first and fourth, Kugler always had an eye on the Michigan Wolverines. After extending an offer to the 6’4, 285-pound interior lineman, Kugler decided it was time to make a trip to Ann Arbor to get a feel for the coaching staff. Not available for the visit was coach Brady Hoke, fresh off finishing his first season (11-2) as the man in charge of the Wolverines.
"I sat down with coach Funk and coach Borges each for about an hour, and we discussed football and the future of Michigan, and what standards Michigan has," Kugler said.
"Then we took a tour of the campus, and I could tell the campus was really nice and I could see myself falling in love with it. And then we went to the Big House, and that is what definitely sold me. I couldn't imagine playing in front of 110,000 fans per game."
While on the visit, Kugler turned his dream into reality, committing to the Wolverines and making his father one proud, but not surprised, dad.
"He was definitely really excited," said Kugler. "He obviously thought that's where I would end up going. He has always grown up cheering for Michigan. He was really happy with my decision. He has heard everything great (about the coaches), and he heard nothing bad about this coaching staff.”
Kugler would get on the phone with coach Brady Hoke just a few days after his commitment, interacting in a fashion he anticipated.
"He is really exactly how I pictured him," Kugler said. "He has very high energy. He is serious and very straight to the point. I like everything about him on the phone. I can't wait to go meet him actually."
Since Kugler’s commitment to the Wolverines, stock that already appeared through the roof, continued to rise and ultimately landed the Pennsylvania state champion as a five-star player and the No. 1 ranked offensive guard in the entire country.
Since Brady Hoke’s arrival in Ann Arbor, the constant mention of the plethora of needs up front, specifically along the offensive line, should tell fans everything they need to know about how vital a player the caliber of Kugler is and could be in the maize and blue. With size being evident, Kugler possesses the footwork and patience coaches are looking for from an interior lineman, as well as a nasty streak on the field, constantly looking to inflict as much force as possible each and every down.
Kugler’s attributes, in addition to his football smarts, will land him at the center position upon his arrival in Ann Arbor in June – something he’s working on and excited about after practicing at the spot in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game.
"Michigan has told me I'm going to play center, and they told me to start learning to snap a few weeks ago," said Kugler. "It worked out great that I was needed to do that here, and it gives me a head start on what I'll be doing at Michigan."