Eric Lauderdale names a couple favorites in his recruitment but steps softly when doing so.
A four-star wide receiver at California's Saddleback Community College, Lauderdale holds 11 scholarship offers and an overflowing jug of recruiting interest. It's probably why he makes sure to indicate that the frontrunners in his recruitment are subject to change before he rattles off the names of two schools.
"I'm kind of open right now," he said. "But, right, now I do like Tennessee. I like Arizona State and Tennessee. Those are the ones I like more than the others. I'm not going to say that's where I want to go. They are just the ones I like right now.
Article Continues Below
His line of thinking is the same as most junior college prospects'. Arizona State and Tennessee stand out for similar reasons. For a player that will have limited time to make an impact on the BCS-level, the decision is all about "fit", which loosely translates to "exposure"
"Arizona State, they are good in the Pac 12," Lauderdale said. "They're not, like, the best team in the Pac 12. They could be, but they're still good. They always take junior college kids and get them pumped up to that next level. Even if they don't get drafted, they might sign a free agent deal or something.
"With Tennessee, that's a good program. They've been struggling lately. The new staff knows what it's doing. They are running the no-huddle. They're going to get better this season. They don't really have many receivers on scholarship right now, so I could play there right away."
Is also receiving attention from Washington, Oregon and Kentucky. But the school that may hold the trump card should an offer come is Georgia, the home-state program.
"I want an offer from Georgia," Lauderdale said. "I talked to Coach [Mark] Richt. He was trying to figure out if they were going to put an offer out there to me. But if they don't offer, that's fine. I have other schools that I really like that have offered."
Lauderdale has already visited UGA and says he will take a trip to Tennessee next week. Arizona State will likely be a destination for one of his five official visits and is the main reason why he has adjusted the timetable for his commitment.
"I wanted to knock it out before my season but now I am going to wait until after," he said. "The only reason is because I am going to be taking some visits during the season and I want to get out and see what the schools are like at games, you know?"