Rivals100 linebacker Ricky DeBerry is one of the most sought after recruits in the 2015 class and he has the offer sheet to prove it. Almost 60 schools have offered the Richmond (Va.) St. Christopher's star but now he has started to narrow his focus.
On Monday night DeBerry named a top 20 in alphabetical order. Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Miami, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, South Carolina, UCLA, USC, Virginia and Virginia Tech all made the cut.
That breaks down to eight SEC schools, five ACC schools, three PAC-12 schools, three Big Ten schools and one Big 12 school.
"I know this is a lot of schools but I know that these are definitely the ones that I have an interest in," said the 6-foot-2, 237-pound DeBerry. "I know want to narrow thing down again over the summer but for now these are the ones that I could see myself going to.
"I just want to go where I can win," he said. "Ohio State, Nebraska and Michigan State know how to win so the conference and the location don't really matter."
Ten of DeBerry's top 20 schools have had the chance to host him on campus but there are definitely more visits in DeBerry's future.
"I've been to Clemson, Florida, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech," DeBerry said. "I'm using the spring and the summer to visit more of these schools. I know that on going to Miami or Ohio State on April 17 or 18."
There are a number of different factors that go into a school moving up DeBerry's list and future along in his recruitment.
"For a school to make it past the next cut they have to be approved by my parents," he said. "It has to be a place where I could see myself play for four years. They have to have good academics, a good football atmosphere and have a spot for me at the position I can play.
"I want to look more at the defensive schemes of these schools and figure out what they would really have me doing," said DeBerry. "I'm not one of those guys that doesn't like to be in pass coverage. I feel like one of my strengths is being a pass rusher. When I'm on these visits I'll be asking about how they use their outside linebackers and that will help me narrow this down again down the road."
While DeBerry isn't ready to name favorites, Tennessee, Clemson, Florida, South Carolina, Ohio State, Virginia and Virginia Tech are some of the schools he has mentioned more than the others.
"Those are the schools that I've been to the most and talked about them the most," he said. "Going off what they've told me and what I've found out about them, they are in need to linebackers. Virginia and Virginia Tech both want me to stay instate and help bring a national championship to their school. Coach Venables at Clemson has coached a lot of Butkus award winners so he knows what he is doing with his linebackers. I like him a lot and could see myself playing for him. Coach Muschamp at Florida said they are definitely looking for linebackers so I want a chance to get back down there for sure."
Three schools that DeBerry included in his top 20 that most people didn't know he was considering were USC, Arizona State and Nebraska.
"USC has always been my childhood favorite," DeBerry said. "I grew up watching them and always wanted to play for them. I've been talking to the new coaches there since they were at Washington. I want to get out there over the summer. I've been talking to the Arizona State coaches a lot. It is a place I could see myself going and getting some early playing time. I've heard how nice it is out there because I have some friends out there so I want to go see the campus. Nebraska is a school I need to learn more about and my dad really likes them. I haven't really had a chance to talk to them a lot yet. I know they have a good fan base and the whole town shuts down when they play and I like to see that. I want to get out there to learn more."
DeBerry singled out five schools that he has very good relationships with.
"I have the best relationship with the coaches at UCLA, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan State and Oklahoma," he said. "I just started talking to the Ole Miss coaches more but those are the five that I have a really good relationship with."
The school that came very close to making DeBerry's top 20 was Iowa.