Running back Chris James of Niles (Ill.) Notre Dame has been the focal point of several team's backfield recruiting strategies. For the 5-foot-9, 212-pound James, finding the right fit means visiting each of his top contenders.
"The schools that are leading the charge are Michigan State, Tennessee, Iowa and Pittsburgh," James said. "I know my next trip is going to be to Iowa. That will probably be before the school season."
James has been active throughout his process seeing his top schools, but Iowa is a school he has yet to see in-person.
"My trainer went there and he told me it was just a phenomenal place, so I want to check it out and see it with my own two eyes," James said. "Obviously they have a great o-line, they run the ball over there and Kirk Ferentz is doing a great job over there."
The remaining three schools atop James' list have all hosted the three-star back on campus. Michigan State is the school he knows the best and has seen the most at this stage.
"I have went there two or three times and talk to a lot of their commits," James said. "Right next to them would be Pitt because I talk to them a lot and some of their coaches were at Wisconsin. A lot of those guys have been watching me for awhile."
Throughout the last few months James has been very forthright about the top schools on his list, but he still is some time away from a final decision.
"I am not trying to rush anything right now and plan on taking my officials," he said. "If it was up to me I would try to get this thing done before the school season, but my grandmother wants me not to rush it and maybe take two or three of my officials, then make my decision."
When talking about official visits, a few more schools come into the picture. Wisconsin held a spot in his top group until recently, but has slid down his list in recent weeks. The in-state Illinois Fighting Illini are also still in the conversation.
"UofI is my state and my team," James said. "If I can work stuff out with the Wisconsin coach, I still like the school. Wisconsin might sneak their way back in there, and I am still open to all things and trying to talk to other coaches also."