In the past week, Roxbury, N.J. linebacker Brendan Beal took an unofficial visit to an ACC program. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder was impressed with his trip enough that he has them on his short list.
"Last week I went on Wednesday and Thursday to Wake Forest," he said. "It was awesome. I was very impressed when I met with coach Grobe. I like his philosophies and approach to the game. He's a really upfront and down-to-earth guy that I felt comfortable with. I know he just signed a 10-year contract and that shows a lot of where the program is going, of course it doesn't mean anything but I'd hope he stays because they are clearly a BCS team every year with him.
"Besides him, I liked the camaraderie of the coaches and I got to spend some time with the players. I watched a practice and they were flying around. From what I saw, they truly have a passion for the game and were having fun. On the visit, I also met with the head of the business department and the president of the school. Overall I like the possibilities of playing early since all three senior linebackers will be heading to the pros. That's huge for me."
Following the visit, Beal named Wake Forest one of the schools on his short list. Who else is up there?
"I've got to say Notre Dame, Boston College, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan and probably Rutgers," he said. "Those are the schools in contact with me a lot and I like everything they offer academically and football wise. I've got to say though, I'm pretty open.
"I'm planning to visit a bunch of those soon and we'll see after that. I'm hoping to narrow my list down to three to five schools in May so I can get this behind him, but if I'm not ready to make a decision heading into my senior year I'll wait until after it."
In the next couple weeks, Beal will be taking more visits. He'll be heading to Boston College next week followed by a trip over the weekend to Florida. He plans to follow that up with trips over spring break to Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Last season Beal registered 151 tackles, 11 sacks and two interceptions on his way to all-state, conference, area and county honors.