Five schools – Boston College, Stanford, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Wake Forest – stand out the most to Blake Lueders and the defensive end from Zionsville, Ind., will take his time to make sure he's making the right decision.
Lueders, rated as the No. 14 defensive end by Rivals.com, took his fourth trip to Northwestern this past weekend and with the academics, the coaching staff and his relationship with the players, it looks like the Wildcats have a legitimate shot.
"I've been to Northwestern a few times now but going back I had a great time and it was better than I remembered," Lueders said. "I was thoroughly impressed.
"The education is great and coach (Pat Fitzgerald) is one of the greatest coaches I ever met. I think he's great and then you can really tell with the players and the team, they're really close together and not separated like a lot of teams.
"(Fitzgerald) knows the game, he was a great player, he's young and energetic, he connects with players and he seems like a fun guy to play for."
No other visits are scheduled but Lueders, who had 128 tackles, three sacks and an interception in his junior season, has not ruled anything out for the summer. He's said before a college decision is made he wants to visit some campuses to make sure it's the right fit. A recent trip to Boston College still stands out.
"Boston College is great," Lueders said. "The coaching staff was good, I really liked the players and connected with them, I liked the campus and everything. It's a great academic school, it's a great football school, it's good at everything. Boston College is one of the few schools I couldn't find anything wrong with it."
Notre Dame was the childhood favorite and South Bend is less than three hours from Lueders' house but the Irish are not a lock to land his signature. Still, the combination of academics, athletics and tradition could play a big role. Location doesn't hurt, either.
"It has a great combination of everything," Lueders said. "Once again, it's a place where it's hard to find something wrong with. Growing up it was my dream school and the school I always rooted for. That doesn't give them an edge on anyone necessarily but I keep that in mind. I really like that place, too."
Distance is not a major issue for Lueders, No. 198 in the 2010 class by Rivals.com, and so Stanford is still a major player in his recruitment.
"I'm not going to worry about (distance) too much," he said. "If you're two hours away or six hours away for school, you're still away. The only difference is it's kind of a pain to get home. Stanford is great. The academics are better than any school in the country pretty much."
Watch for Wake Forest to make a run at Lueders as well. His relationship with coach Jim Grobe and defensive ends coach Keith Henry could go a long way in convincing Lueders that the Demon Deacons is the team for him.
"Coach Grobe is a great guy, coach Henry, I really like him a lot, too," Lueders said. "They've got a good program and seem like they're up-and-coming, too."