The tight end position nationally is very strong in the class of 2013, and the state of Ohio is one of the states leading the way with a deep crop of tight end talent. South Euclid (Ohio) Notre Dame Cathedral Latin's A.J. Branisel is among those boasting early offers.
"I'm really excited it's off to a good start," Branisel said. "I got a couple MAC offers and then Missouri, which is SEC, so that was a big deal. Then, a couple more schools are visiting me."
The other schools that have offered Branisel are Kent State, Ohio, Northern Illinois and Toledo. He recently took in a junior day at Toledo as well as ones at Bowling Green and Illinois.
"I like Toledo a lot," Branisel said. "I really like the [Toledo] coaches, and the facilities are really nice, so that's a big plus.
"I went to an Illinois junior day and that was cool. The coaches were really nice and the facilities were great. We drove around and I really liked the campus. They like me and if they need a flex tight end, then I am their guy they will go to. They're not sure if they need one of those yet."
Branisel has yet to visit Missouri's campus thus far in the recruiting process, but is planning a trip to Columbia next month.
"We're going to fly down to Missouri in a couple weeks and maybe go to their spring game and a practice," he said. "I want to see how the coaches relationship is with the players. I want to see the facilities and the overall school, see how that looks.
The 6-4, 225-pound Branisel has also been hearing from the likes of Indiana, Louisville, Michigan State, Ohio State, Ball State and Marshall. He's recorded 52 receptions for 947 yards and eight touchdowns over the last two seasons, but also lines up at defensive end and his being considered for that side of the ball in college as well.
"Some are talking defense and some are talking offense," Branisel said. "Some want to get me down, see how I do and go from there. I like offense a lot and that is my strong point, but I could adjust to defense if I had to."