Larry Butler III wanted to have this thing done weeks ago. At one point, the Eastern Arizona linebacker teetered on the verge of ending his recruitment with a verbal commitment. Once upon a time, he had his sights set on Tennessee.
Then, his transcript spoiled the occasion.
"I was actually going to sign with Tennessee on the 19th, but the SEC transfer rules," Butler said. "You have to be at the same junior college for three consecutive semesters. I only have one semester left. They say that you have to take math in the classroom, too. You can't take it online."
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The result was a soft reset - a fresh start. Butler welcomed in an offer from California recently and is receiving heavy interest from new schools. Michigan State is in the hunt. As is Kansas State.
Butler says he's working on dates for trips to get up-close looks at the Wildcats' and Spartans' programs. For now, he's targeted "late January." In one case, however, there's a bit of a catch.
"The coach at Kansas State said they already have a player who is visiting, so they are waiting to offer me," Butler said. "Coach told me that if that guy doesn't commit on his trip this weekend, they're going to move hard on me. That's what he said."
Cal is the pressing issue. As for his thoughts on his newest offer, Butler has plenty. His ties to the Berkeley area make the invitation interesting. There's no rush to pull the trigger, of course, but the perks are obvious. He doesn't hesitate to rattle them off, either.
"I used to live in the Bay Area," he said. "I used to live in Oakland. I like the program and I have seen the players come out of there and go to the NFL every year. So, you know, they're definitely in my favorites."
The Golden Bears have company at the top, though.
"I'm still weighing my options," Butler said. "I have a lot of interest in Kansas State. It's Kansas State, Cal, Michigan State, Cincinnati and Wisconsin. Those are the one I like. Those are the ones I've been talking to a lot."
While it once looked as though Butler would make a quick commitment and close the book on his recruitment with time to spare, the plan has changed significantly. This thing will come down to the wire.
"I'd like to have my choice before signing day, but I'd like to make my announcement on signing day," Butler said.