Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic High School's Connor Humphreys is forthright when it comes to discussing the draw of the home-state schools. The four-star tackle already holds an offer from Oregon State, and, according to him, that's an important fact. There's no downplaying it or shrugging it off. He isn't concerned with "playing it cool."
Humphreys grew up an Oregon State fan. He'll tell you that pointblank. He's rooted for the Beavers for most of his life and probably owns a few OSU t-shirts. So with the scholarship offer school came certain visions - fantasies, almost. They're highlighted by one game every year.
"It's a pretty big deal to have the Oregon State offer," Humphreys said. "I grew up around the Civil War thing and that rivalry. For me, playing in the Civil War would be a lifelong dream."
Open-and-shut his recruitment is not, though. This isn't Connor Humphreys the 13-year-old Beaver fan making a decision. This is a more mature, objective version of the football star - one that's not letting nostalgia alone guide him. Oregon State still means something to him, of course, but naming it the team to beat at this juncture would be a stretch.
"I can't play favorites," Humphreys said. "I have to pick a school for the school that it is. I'd give up the Civil War for a better school."
Teams interested in his services aren't in short supply. Arizona State has already offered. Boise State is heavily involved. As is UCLA. Oregon and Washington are also sniffing around his high school and watching his film. Things as they relate to his recruitment are somewhat quiet at the moment, but the lull as much a chance of lasting as a celebrity marriage.
"The coach at California said they are going to offer me soon," Humphreys said. "I think they're slowly putting something together. And then Oregon is close, too."
Humphreys has already attended junior days at Washington and Arizona State. Next up on his travel itinerary is a Mar. 2 trip to Boise State, which, almost inexplicably, serves as the "other" school he grew up pulling for.
He doesn't offer in-depth analysis on how a kid growing up in Oregon formed a strong rooting interest in an Idaho-based program. Instead, he speaks about it as if it's a normal occurrence.
"My family has been big fans of Boise State for a long time," he said. "Boise State has always been one of my favorite schools."
Humphreys plans to take official visits to UCLA and Cal at yet-to-be-determined dates in the near future. Otherwise, he'll play things by ear. What is clear now, however, is the criteria on which his decision will be based.
"The city is important," Humphreys said. "I'm going to live there for four years. I think that's a big part of my decision. And, like, the school and what degree I'm going to have to get and stuff. The facilities and the program itself. I want to be part of a championship team. I want to be successful on and off the field.