After a successful junior season that has led to eight scholarship offers, Cedar Falls (Iowa) junior offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher has transitioned into the off-season and is preparing for his first junior day visit late this month.
"I am planning to go to Notre Dame on the 19th," Pierschbacher reported. "That is the only one so far I have planned. "As far as the Irish goes, they are right up there with the other top schools. I don't think [the national title] game hurt them at all."
Pierschbacher tuned in Monday's night's national championship game, and although Notre Dame came out on the losing end, he sees a bright future for the team in South Bend.
"I think everyone had picked Alabama to win," Pierschbacher said. "Alabama's program is obviously very strong right now, and Notre Dame is still in that building process. I am sure they will get there with the recruiting class they have in 2013."
A Rivals250 to Watch list member, Pierschbacher does not have a set list of top teams, but both Alabama and Notre Dame are among the schools that have piqued his interest early. The Irish have offered as have Boise State, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, while Alabama is among a collection of other programs that continue to watch him closely.
"I am going to wait and see who else is interested and comes in this winter and spring," Pierschbacher said. "I'd like to check out Ohio State and see how they are doing, as well as other big programs around the Midwest."
Iowa, Iowa State and Oregon were among the coaching staffs Pierschbacher saw come through his school last month. He also reports interest from several more teams around the country.
"Vanderbilt, one of their recruiting coordinators talks to me quite a bit," he said. "Arkansas, once Coach [Bret] Bielema went down there, I have been hearing from them quite a bit. Then, I have been getting letters from Michigan, Michigan State and a couple other Big Ten schools."
The 6-4, 275-pound Pierschbacher is aiming to have his decision made before the start of his senior season. In the meantime, he is beginning to prepare for track season after being a state qualifier in the shot put as a sophomore with a personal best of 53-feet.