After an early youth spent in Alabama, four-star defensive end Elijah Daniel of Avon, Ind., has a strong appreciation for SEC football and his interest in continuing his playing career in the southeast was furthered after official visits to Mississippi State and Ole Miss the last two weekends.
"It does kind of play a role," Daniel said of the SEC influence. "The environment is just incredible with the atmosphere and everything."
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Daniel returned from his Ole Miss official visit on Sunday feeling he had connected with the people associated with the program.
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"I noticed how friendly the coaches, the recruits, the players on the team and just people around the team are in general," Daniel said.
With two months left before he signs a national letter of intent, Daniel is still considering his option. He had previously taken an official visit to Marshall in September and has another lined up with Florida on Jan. 12, leaving just one official visit spot remaining.
"I'm not really sure who is going to get the last one at this point," Daniel said. "There may be one in December."
Several teams are still vying for Daniel's last official visit spot, including Arizona State, Indiana and Miami and it has been a hectic week at Avon High with coaches stopping through to see Daniel.
"Coaches have come all three days so far," Daniel said. "[Wednesday] was Miami and Ole Miss. The only team so far this week that has had an in-home was Arizona State."
Defensive coordinator Paul Randolph was the Arizona State assistant coach who was in-home with Daniel earlier this week, and the topic of an official visit did come up in their conversations.
"They want me to come down pretty bad, just to see the place, see if I would like it," Daniel said. "He said they have an opportunity for me to come in real early and play."
The home-state Indiana Hoosiers are also in the mix for that final official visit, though Daniel has visited there many times during his recruitment and has a good feel for the school.
"It's a real cool program," Daniel said of Indiana. "I like them a lot and am real familiar with everybody down there."
Daniel is still unsure when he will make his college decision, but said he does not think it will be soon and expects to take at least a few more weeks.