Staying neutral is not easy for Kevin Pendleton. In fact, this whole "keeping my options open" thing is a certifiable chore. The Lee's Summit (Mo.) West tackle grew up a Missouri fan. His dad played for the Tigers for a brief stint as well. The school is in his blood.
He's watched games and cheered for his home-state school since he was aware of college football. So when a scholarship offer from his favorite team showed up in front of him, he had to make an effort to avoid accepting it on the spot.
Pendleton isn't playing hard to get for no reason. Nebraska is involved in his recruitment. As is Memphis. Iowa State and Kansas State are in frequent contact, too. And while the massive tackle thinks he owes it to himself to explore other avenues, the scholarship offer from the in-state program looms large.
"I really love Missouri and that makes it hard for me to keep telling them to wait and hold on while I look at other schools," Pendleton said. "They've been so good to me and I really love the coaches and it felt so great to get that offer. It's been really hard.
In the era of hat ceremonies and mystery for mystery's sake, Pendleton's situation is a change of pace. So could he decide to end his recruitment at any time and follow his heart to a Mizzou commitment in the near future?
"Maybe," Pendleton said. "I mean, It depends on what I see from these other schools. I just want to see them and see how they look."
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Pendleton will get down to that business in short order. He plans to attend the spring games of both Missouri and Nebraska. He says he'll make the trip to Memphis for a spring practice as well. And what takes place on those visits could determine the trajectory of his recruitment.
"Nebraska said they are close to offering. They are seeing if they can bring in one more lineman. They said that if they can, I'll be that guy. We'll just have to see. I want to at least check some other school out.
"I think I could possibly fit in at Nebraska."
As a junior at Lee's Summit West, Pendleton, who transferred from Kansas City's Lincoln Prep, earned a starting job mid season. Missouri represents his only scholarship offer to this point.