When it comes to college options, McDonough (Ga.) Union Grove safety Avery Walls has no shortage of them. That is what happens to a high character prospect, with great grades and ability to match. With upwards of 30 scholarship offers at his feet, Walls has taken a close look at each offer he has received. Midway through the summer, Walls is now ready to make his first cut and trim his list down.
"I've narrowed my list to eleven schools," Walls said on Monday afternoon.
The list in alphabetical order consists of California, Connecticut, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA and Virginia. With such a diverse and national list, Walls discussed the major factors that went into his first cut.
"This was just based on academics and research," he said. "It had to be a tier one school on the academic side. I had to be comfortable with the coaching staff and the environment of the school. Coaching staff is key. And they have to have my major. I want to major in Business and I'm thinking about a focus on entrepreneurship."
Walls has certainly done his due diligence. Very few prospects have had the travel schedule that he has put into action over the past offseason. Of the 11 initial finalist, Walls has visited every school but two: Oregon and Virginia.
"Oregon, it's going to be an official visit maybe," he said. "We're going to try to see how we can fit that in on the schedule. Virginia, hopefully we can get them in if not this summer than hopefully on an official visit.
"Those schools are all lumped together right now. I'm going deeper into the research. I could only pull from a certain number of offers so those were just the schools that showed me the most love."
Walls doesn't plan to wait long to make his second round of cuts. With plans on being a December graduate and enrolling in college early, he knows that he is on a shorter timeline for making his final decision. Before the season, Walls hopes to narrow his list again to five schools. Then following his official visits, Walls hopes to make a final decision mid-season.
Now, Walls will move on to the next phase of the process.
"Since I already did my research on schools and them being tier one with academics and stuff, I think [the next cut] is going to depend on playing time and relationships with the coaches and players because that's going to be what lasts the next 40 years," he said. "So that and playing time and how they use me in their scheme will be what I focus on next."
Unlike most prospects, Walls doesn't seem to have a favorite program or even a favorite geographical region. With family scattered all over the country, Walls is confident that he can make any area feel like home.
"I have family all over the U.S.," he said. "Just about every one of those schools I have family in that city or right outside of it. Location isn't important at all."
With a brutal offseason travel schedule, Walls is pulling things in now and focusing on preparing for a state championship with his high school team and getting ready for an early graduation with two summer school classes.