Last weekend Pittsburgh (Pa.) Penn Hills safety Barry Church took his first official visit to Cincinnati. The 6-foot-1, 203-pounder enjoyed his visit so much that the Bearcats are now his sole leader.
"It was a great visit. I liked the campus, atmosphere and the way the coaches treated me like a special player," he said. "I got there on Friday and went out to and then I spent my free time with my host Donnell McKenzie. He was great and showed me all the things to do in Cincinnati and introduced all the players. He told me that the coaches really make it like a family atmosphere and I liked that.
"On Saturday I checked out the facilities and then went to the Cincinnati-Memphis basketball game. Then I hung out more with Donnell. Finally, on Sunday I had breakfast and a one on one meeting with head coach Mike Dantonio. That went great as he told me they had a really young team and I was a priority recruit and that they'd really like me to go there."
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Cincinnati plans to use Church as either a strong safety or linebacker.
"They showed me film on the linebackers and the positions and schemes they play and how they blitz," he said. "I could tell I would really fit in well there."
The two-star prospect rated his visit to Cincinnati a nine.
"I really liked it a lot up there," he said. "Right now, they are number one followed by everyone else including Toledo, West Virginia, Indiana, Iowa and North Carolina State."
In the last four weeks, Church has picked up offers from the Mountaineers, Hawkeyes, Hoosiers and Wolfpack.
"I've already scheduled an official visit to West Virginia on January 13th and I'm planning to schedule one more between those three other schools," he said. "I think West Virginia is a pretty good school, but I haven't been down enough to see everything. I want to find out more about them. Iowa has come on recently really strong and I like their coordinator. I just started talking to Indiana, so I don't know too much on them and North Carolina State has a good defense and the coach is really energetic."
Before any of those trips, the Keystone State product is headed to Toledo this weekend.
"I hope that one will be just as good as Cincinnati's. I hope they treat me special like I'm part of the football family," he said. "I like Toledo because the school is not right in the city. I've been up there a couple teams and the players are cool and it seems like a pretty good school."
So far Cincinnati and Toledo have been the only schools who have stopped by for in-home visits.
"Of the two, Cincinnati really impressed me because they have strong academics and knew a lot about them," he said. "Toledo talked to me more about just what I wanted to major in which was good too."
On Monday Church is expecting an in-home visit from West Virginia.