For offensive tackle Andy Bauer, it's all about combing over his options - all 31 of them. It's the reason he's making visits and stuffing his offseason travel itinerary. It's also the reason he decided to de-commit from Missouri. The 2014 offensive tackle's choice to part ways with the Tigers wasn't the product of a deteriorating relationship or a breach in trust. Instead, it was made in the name of exploration.
On Friday, Craig Bauer spoke on behalf of his heavily recruited son, who was tied up in class and pregame meetings for his St. Louis (Mo.) DeSmet team's state playoff game. The explanation he offered was standard for an early de-commitment.
"Andy committed when he was a sophomore and just got caught up into it and the emotions of his visit up there to Missouri," Craig Baur said. "Now he's just taking a step back to try to figure out what the best plan of action is for him academically and football-wise.
"Missouri will still be in his final group and he might still decide to go there. He's just researching and looking at his option. He could still very much end up at Mizzou. He just wants to research."
The research process is set to include a trip to Tuscaloosa for Alabama's game with Auburn on Nov. 24 and a visit to LSU for a pre-bowl practice. The list of other schools that will receive serious looks is murky. Ohio State and Michigan both remain involved. As does Notre Dame.
And while Andy Bauer hasn't even taken the final rep of his junior season, things should clear up soon enough. It seems unlikely that his recruitment will remain open through his senior year.
"We are looking to set up a couple other visits," Craig Bauer said. "We've already been to Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame. He's going to try to sure up his list at the end of the season and figure out which other schools to visit. He's really pretty tight with (LSU commit) Ethan Pocic, so they talk about LSU all the time."
As of now, only Missouri, Alabama and LSU seem like locks to become finalists for Bauer's verbal commitment, but with a new, wide-open approach comes new suitors. Since his de-commitment, Andy Bauer's recruitment is evolving. It shows no signs of stopping.
"Oregon is about to offer," Craig Bauer said. "They're just trying to get Chip Kelly to give the final ok on that one."
Andy Bauer projects as a Rivals250 member for 2014. As a junior, he has helped DeSmet to an 8-3 overall record and a birth in the third round of the state playoffs.