Cleveland Heights' (Ohio) De'Niro Laster has been on the radar of teams across the country since early in his junior year, but after a strong senior campaign has the 6-foot-3, 220-pound several schools are getting more serious about the three-star prospect.
Earlier this month Laster picked up his first Big Ten offer from the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Other Big Ten programs could follow suit in the coming weeks.
"I know Illinois wants to offer me, they are just waiting for my transcripts to come through," Laster said. "They told me the head coach likes me, though, and the staff does, so I am trying to get my transcripts to them [Friday] morning so it will be official."
Penn State, Georgia Tech and Purdue are three more teams that have ramped up their interest in recent weeks. Laster will head down to State College this weekend to see Penn State host Indiana. It will be his first time visiting the Nittany Lions.
"They want me to come down so I can meet the whole coaching staff, get a feel for the campus and how the game is," Laster said.
Laster has been impressed with what he has seen from the Nittany Lions on the field this fall, and excitedly anticipates this weekend's visit.
"When you watch them play, you can tell they are playing for something," Laster said. "They are doing better than a lot of people expected them to do this year. With all the adversity that has been going on, they are doing okay."
After receiving the offer from Minnesota earlier this month, Laster and the Gophers coaching staff started working on an official visit. That trip has been set for the weekend of Nov. 30.
"I am excited and just anxious to go up there, visit the school, meet all the coaches and get a feel for everything," Laster said.
Several Mid-American Conference schools offered Laster earlier in the process, and he said Toledo and Buffalo still keep up with him regularly. Buffalo is a school he is considering for one of his remaining official visits.
In college, Laster could project as a wide receiver or linebacker. After transferring from Shaker Heights to Cleveland Heights this past off-season, though, Laster has put a stronger emphasis on the defensive side of the football.
"Most of the schools now are talking outside linebacker," Laster said. "Some of my earlier offers said I could play both sides of the ball - receiver or linebacker. Most schools now want me for linebacker [and] I'm fine with that."