Jarek Hilgers doesn't disparage the three scholarship offers he currently holds. San Diego State, Navy and New Mexico State are fine schools. The high school senior points that out up front. It's just that he has eyes for something bigger.
The 6-foot, 188-pound athlete wants to play college football in BCS conference for a team that has a chance to win chunks of games. He also wants prestige. In short, he wants to play football at a school that hasn't yet offered.
Wearing a Sooners uniform on Saturdays is probably a pipedream. Hilgers realizes and admits that much. Cal, on the other hand, represents a much more reasonable goal. The Golden Bears are yet to make things official with a scholarship offer, but Hilgers thinks things are moving in that direction.
"I've been talking to them a lot lately," he said. "Probably more than ever before."
Arizona State, Arizona and Stanford have also been in touch frequently as of late. The increasing recruiting attention is why Hilgers is holding off on taking visits. It's also why he declines to name a favorite among the three schools that have already offered. This is the high school version of holdout.
"I'm waiting for more to come in," he said. "I'm going to see what happens throughout the season. I don't want to take visits or think about anything like that until more come in."
Asked to elaborate on what he's looking for in a school, Hilgers went deeper than saying simply "Cal or Oklahoma." He, like every other recruit in the country, has a checklist. It's full of all the usual items.
"I'm definitely looking for academics," he said. "I want to look for a good coach that relates to his players. I want a place where I feel comfortable in the atmosphere I'm surrounded by."
Hilgers, who missed a portion of his junior season because of a shoulder injury, plays running back at Phoenix's Desert Vista High School and is being recruited at his natural position by most interested schools. Arizona, the lone exception, sees him as a linebacker-safety hybrid.