Berrien Springs, Mich., offensive tackle Nick Padla utilized a strong summer to generate new offers and new interest. In the final week before his team starts preparation for the 2013 season, Padla checked out two schools that are strongly interested.
On Saturday, Padla traveled to East Lansing to watch Michigan State's practice. The Spartans have not yet extended a scholarship offer, but talks between the two parties have been positive.
"I talked to Coach [Mark] Dantonio and Coach [Mark] Staten and they said they want to watch that first scrimmage, evaluate it and see how much improvement I've had since last season," Padla said. "They have been telling me that for awhile, so I'm not bummed out. I never go into any college [visit] expecting an offer.
"I am excited about the first scrimmage now. It gives me something to work hard for and is motivation."
Joining Padla on his visit to Michigan State Saturday was his teammate, Jhonathon Williams, who also holds BCS offers and has received strong interest from Michigan State.
"Me and Jhon, we were the only recruits there," Padla said. "I know MSU well because I live in Michigan. I have been around the campus a lot."
Padla was supposed to visit Cincinnati on Friday, but the Bearcats were not holding practice that day so he has postponed that trip. On Thursday he was able to get down to Champaign and visit Illinois, which offered him earlier this summer.
"That was my first trip [to Illinois] since the offer," Padla said. "I got to go around campus and see everything at Illinois because I just went to the camp last time and didn't get a chance to check out anything.
"It was really nice and I had a great time. All the coaches were really nice. I played against Tyler White from Plainwell last year, and talked with him for a little bit. He's doing pretty good and looked pretty good."
Padla said the Illinois visit met his expectations, and he got a good feel for the campus and football program while there.
"I liked the vibe a lot," he said. "They didn't really have a good season last year, but I don't look to the past. I look to the future of the school and if they are on the rise. I feel like they have a lot of good, young quarterbacks I think are going to be all-Big Ten and possible draft picks. It seemed like people really enjoy the football team, so it was pretty cool."
Other schools that have offered the 6-foot-6, 269-pound Padla include Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Toledo and Western Michigan. He plans to choose his college destination within the month.
"That final decision I think will be over Labor Day weekend," Padla said. "I get a little time off from football for the holiday, and it gives me time off to slow down during the season and think about it."