Defensive end and tight end prospect John Ferrara recently took in visits to Maryland, Virginia, Rutgers and Penn State. So what did the Staten Island (N.Y.) Monsignor Farrell lineman think of the schools?
"It was nice at Virginia," he said. "Actually, I didn't know how nice of a school it was, the campus is gorgeous. There were a lot of guys there, but Al Golden singled me out and talked to me and he gave me that individual attention. I learned a lot more about the school and I didn't know how good they are academically. It surprised me that they have such a beautiful campus and nice facilities and they are one of the best in the country."
The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder also stopped by Maryland.
"There were a large number of recruits there and it was an introduction to the school, we saw the football facilities, stadium, basketball arena and student union," he said. "I got some one on one time with Dave Sollazzo (defensive line coach), but I'll be headed back there sometime to see everything."
Ferrara also made trips to Rutgers and Penn State.
"Rutgers wasn't a junior day, but we went there and the coaching staff took me on a tour," he said. "Then we just went back for the Rivals Junior Day. They've put a lot of money in their facilities, about $20 million. The weight rooms are first class, the best I've seen so far. They have all the platforms for hang clean and squat and they even have cameras so you get that instant feedback. I got to talk to the head coach Greg Schiano. He's a real nice man and even offered me. He's very upfront and I appreciated that.
"I had been to Penn State a few other times," he said. "So there was nothing new, but I got to see a more detailed tour of the campus and learned more about it. It was very nice there and I got to meet head coach Joe Paterno. Anytime you meet the legend himself, it's unbelievable and you're just thankful to get that opportunity."
Were there any favorites amongst the schools?
"I'm not really sure," he said. "They are all pretty much the same; it's really hard to compare them because they're all good schools. I'm still wide open and I'm just looking for a good academic school; it's going to be a tough decision."
Ferrara currently holds three offers from Rutgers, Penn State and Duke. He has also been receiving plenty of interest from Connecticut, Syracuse, Michigan and Stanford.
"My recruiter at Michigan was Bill Sheridan, but he left for the New York Giants," he said. "So I have to get back in touch with them.
"As for Stanford, it's hard to say, they seem to be really hot on me right now," he said. "It's hard to get out there, but if something came up it would interest me to check it out."
He also thinks a couple other offers could be close at hand.
"Maryland said if I do well at their senior position camp in June I'll probably get an offer," he said. "UVA's interest is getting higher since I visited there and they want to see more tape on me."
As for this spring, Ferrara is preparing for upcoming combines including the Penn State Nike Camp and the Elite College Combine.
"I've just completed sessions at the speed school in New Jersey, I've seen a lot of improvement and they teach you a lot. I wasn't running too fast before running a 5.4-second 40-yard dash, but I've seen a big improvement on my technique and got it down to a 5.1-second 40-yard dash. My father also trains me hard as he runs me four times a week and I lift three days a week."
Besides training, Ferrara is planning to attend spring practices at Syracuse, UConn and possibly Boston College.
As for this summer he may try to make it to camps at Maryland and Virginia.