Hale Hentges weeklong gauntlet of unofficial visits started on the campus of Alabama on Monday. He arrived in Tuscaloosa on Sunday night, though, and started forming impressions before he had the chance to immerse himself in the campus or culture.
Visits to Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan will follow in the coming days. He'll use these trips to eventually plot his official visits, but the first leg is all about the Tide, and the Jefferson City (Mo.) Helias High School tight end seems to have no trouble focusing on just that.
"Just driving the campus, it's just really, really beautiful," Hentges said. "You can also tell what the college means to the whole town. That's just driving through it. That's al I have been able to see so far. I'm looking forward to getting out of the car and walking around.
When Hentges' Alabama visit wraps up, he'll head west. A visit to Ohio State is on the docket for Mar. 3. He'll then hit Michigan State on Mar. 4 and Michigan on Mar. 5.
His mission is simple: determine which schools will slide through when he cuts his list to five prior to his senior season. And the four schools he'll visit this week have as good a shot as making it though as any.
"They are some recent offers that we haven't seen a lot yet," Hentges said. "They all really piqued my interest. When we were up at Ohio State last time, we watched a game but didn't really get to see too much else. We wanted to go there again. I haven't been to the Michigan or Michigan State or Alabama yet.
Hentges, who has already toured a handful of college campuses, says he intends to take unofficial visits to Auburn, Florida State, LSU and possibly a handful of others before he decides on his final five. Hentges, who holds 29 scholarship offers says no school is a safe bet to slide through to his final five at this juncture.
"Not yet," he said. " It's been pretty open. I know that after the spring visits I'll have an idea. But I don't know for sure on any school yet."