football

Strongs recruitment taking shape

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There's the thing about where he's going to play his college football. Then, there's the other mystery that has surrounded Jaelen Strong's recruitment -- the one about when he'll be ready to leave Piece Community College.
Until now, the 6-foot-4 wide receiver wasn't certain if he would find himself on an FBS campus in time for the 2013 season. He's been going about his recruitment as if he'll play next season, but all the while the puzzle has lingered. Now, just a few months before signing day, Strong thinks he has it figured out.
"I should be done this summer and be in school by fall camp," he said on Sunday.
With that issue seemingly squared away, the focus has become finding a landing spot. Strong has named Arizona State as his leader in the past, and the Sun Devils retain a spot near the top of his list. He'll narrow his options down to five by Thanksgiving and, according to Strong, there are just two locks to make the cut.
"Arizona State, for sure," Strong said. "Arizona State and Oregon State will be on there for sure. "
The weeding-out process is a step toward a commitment. Strong currently lists offers from 12 different schools. The latest is from Mississippi State, which extended an invitation on Friday. The Bulldogs are a late arrival to the receiver's recruitment, sure. But to hear Strong talk about coach Dan Mullen's program is to know it has as good a chance as any of making the final five.
"I know they're 6-0 right now and I know they're ranked," Strong said. "That's all I need to know for now. I don't know that much other than that. I just have to keep in touch and find out."
The Beavers, Bulldogs and Sun Devils have all helped their standing with Strong through recent on-field performance. The junior college standout holds offers from programs such as Miami, Nebraska and Tennessee, but wearing a famous uniform matters not in his book.
"It's not about the name of the school or how big their tradition is," Strong said. "It's not about how many championships they've won. It's about right now. How are they right now? What are they doing with the team right now? I have to be comfortable with everybody there."
Next up on the docket for Strong is the process of setting trips. He says he will not take an official visit to ASU this week as previously thought. Instead, he's trying to iron out dates for the future.
"I'm setting up visits soon, but I don't know where for sure yet," he said.
Strong says he's in closest contact with coaches from, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Oregon State and Arizona State.
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