Owings Mills (Md.) Good Counsel cornerback Blake Countess has taken his first two official visits of the recruiting season, and they could be his last. The 5-foot-10, 171-pound cornerback tripped to Michigan and Georgia Tech the last two weekends and could be closer than ever to a decision.
"Michigan was last weekend and I felt like I fit in well with the players, coaches and the staff there," said Countess. "I felt like I could talk to them about anything. Josh Furman from Maryland was my host and he told me how it was going from our home state to Michigan, how the academic support is and how it is to be a student-athlete there. It was good knowing someone who is already there.
"As far as the school, I really liked it and I want to pick a school and not a coach. I like Rich Rodriguez and I hope he stays because I think if he does, they can be in a BCS bowl next year, but I also like the school itself. There is also a chance to play early and they use five defensive backs at a time there which puts less stress on the cornerback."
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Countess followed that visit with a trip to Georgia Tech this past weekend.
"I was hosted by Louis (ex-teammate Louis Young and that was great. I have been talking to Louis all along and he has kept me in the loop as far as the ups and downs of being a freshman, getting used to college and the frustration that can come with not playing. That's important for me to hear and learn because there are no guarantees. Louis is comfortable there now after being homesick at first and it's good to learn how you can settle in. The stability of the coaching staff there is important and it's another strong academic school with a good support system. They also rely on their corners to do a lot more by themselves so that's interesting."
In addition to Michigan and Georgia Tech, Countess is also looking at NC State and Maryland.
"I took an unofficial to NC State a few weeks ago and liked it," he said. "They came in on me late but there is early playing time there and I can compete with younger guys and maybe see the field earlier. I also have family in North Carolina, about two hours from NC State, and I like coach Reed.
"With Maryland, they were my first offer and I've been there so often I know it very well. I was supposed to take an official there this weekend, but I don't know if I will. I don't know if I need to because I am so familiar with them. They play man coverage a lot which is cool and while getting away from home for college is great, there is something to staying close to home as well."
If he doesn't take his official to Maryland, Countess is done with visits. Either way he will probably make his decision at the U.S. Army All American Bowl.
"Unless I know before then, I'll decide and announce there," he said. "That will give me time to talk things over with my family during the holidays and have some peace and time to reflect. I think between these four schools I have a good group to choose from. I don't really have a favorite right now, I'm still debating."