Offensive lineman Caleb Stacey has already started 20 games in his career for Oak Hills High in Cincinnati despite just having finished his junior season. The 6-4, 275-pound prospect earned all-conference honors and visits from several college coaches based on his play this past fall.
Among the schools that have either visited Oak Hills this month or spoken with Stacey and his coaches on the phone are Arizona, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, NC State, Duke, Boston College, Virginia, Cincinnati, Illinois, Syracuse, Nebraska, Missouri, Wake Forest, Northwestern and Tennessee. All the attention has been exciting for the junior line prospect.
"I like that the attention is picking up now," Stacey said. "My coaches have told me to stay patient and it will be picking up even more soon."
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According to Oak Hills offensive line coach Kyle Ralph, who was a first team all-ACC performer himself at North Carolina, Stacey is well worth the attention college coaches are paying him.
"When these coaches come through, they're looking to see how he does on the eyeball test and does he fill up the doorway with his frame when he comes out of class," Ralph said. "I think what they like about him the most is that he is a thick kid. He's got a really, really strong lower body. A lot of schools have walked out very impressed that he is a very solid 275-280 pounds all the way through his hips and his legs."
As the process goes along and college coaches have an opportunity to evaluate Stacey further, his coach believes they will recognize even more positive traits about the junior prospect.
"I think just the quality of worker he is, you can't get that from just a quick run-by," Ralph said. "They'll really get an understanding of how hard he actually works in the weight room and the classroom and then just the kind of kid that he is. He's just a good, solid, hard-working, blue collar type kid that you love to have on your offensive line."
Stacey's first objective in the process is to earn a full ride scholarship, and with the amount of early attention he is receiving it is likely he will not have to wait long to realize that goal. From there he will be looking for an academic and athletic fit, and several schools have already started to pique his interest.
"I took a visit to Northwestern and that was a pretty nice place," Stacey said. "Right now, I'm liking Illinois a lot. I got to talk to their coach on the phone a few weeks ago and he's a great guy. I also like Arizona because I want to go away. I've talked to their coach also on the phone, and they've been sending me a lot of stuff."
Stacey next plans to take in a junior day at Syracuse on Jan. 21. He also plans to attend a junior day at Illinois when their coaches get back with him on a date for that event.
Ralph is blessed with two other Division 1 prospects in the 2012 class on his offensive line - twin brothers Derrek Ross and Dustin Ross - to go along with Stacey.
"It's pretty special, and then you think about all these guys are coming back next year," Ralph said. "They don't sit there satisfied with what they accomplished this past year. Our running back broke a lot of records running behind those guys and they could very easily put it on cruise control, but they have come into the weight room early, worked hard and they've got determination and dedication."
According to Stacey, having at least three linemen from the same class with Division 1 potential helps each of them reach higher.
"We actually do little competitions in the weight room and we all have fun with it," Stacey said. "I love those guys - we are real close, hang out on the weekends and have a blast together."
Stacey maintains a 3.2 GPA in the classroom. Besides first team all-conference honors, he also garnered second team all-city and honorable mention all-region accolades.