Indianapolis (Ind.) Pike's Pierre Aka has been receiving college interest for several months, but the 6-4, 250-pound prospect had not secured his first scholarship offer until last week.
"I got my first offer from Northern Illinois," Aka said. "That was last week and my coach said he received a text from Coach [Eddie] Faulkner over at Northern Illinois. I called him after school and he officially told me they were offering a full scholarship."
With more than two dozen schools showing interest in Aka, the Indianapolis-based prospect knew the offers would eventually come, but he is relieved that Northern Illinois made the first move.
"It was like getting the monkey off my back," Aka said. "I've never been up there, but I'm trying to learn a little bit about them and going over there pretty soon."
Aka transferred to Pike last off-season after attending Bowie High in Arlington, Tex., for the first two years of his prep career. Schools have quickly found the versatile athlete and coaches have been in his school checking out his film since shortly after his junior season concluded.
"I am getting interest from other schools and more schools are going to offer," Aka said. "Western Michigan is getting pretty close to offering and so is Michigan."
Aka plans to reciprocate the interest shown by schools by taking several unofficial visits over the course of the next few weeks.
"I've got Toledo this weekend. Next weekend I have Michigan. After that I've got to set up my spring visits with colleges like Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan State, Indiana and I should try to get to Penn State and Stanford."
One reason teams may be waiting to offer Aka is because he primarily was a blocking tight end as a junior and does not have a lot of film catching the football or playing defense.
"Some are doubtful if they should offer or not, so they want to see me catch first at camps or 7-on-7's," Aka said. "They like my blocking and think for someone who has only played for two years that it is pretty good and something I can build on and be even better."
Early in the process, most schools were viewing the 6-4, 250-pound Aka as a defensive prospect in college, but now the interest is evenly divided between offense and defense.
"Michigan said tight end and Cincinnati wants me at tight end," Aka said. "Indiana wants me at defensive end and Michigan State said defensive end, so it's kind of spread out and I don't know where I am going to end up. Some might say tight end, but then I might end up playing d-line or o-line. I do like defensive end and think I like that a little better."
Although Aka is originally from Texas, the majority of his early interest has come from Midwest schools. He carries a 3.4 GPA in the classroom and likes the educational opportunities provided at many Midwest programs.
"When I look at colleges, I look at how they fit me academically," Aka said. "Not too many Big 12 schools are really my fit."