Several weeks of intense recruiting attention and visits were capped by a school service project to Costa Rica this past week for St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall athlete James Onwualu. The chance to get out of the country and clear his head gave the 6-2, 205-pound athlete clarity on his recruitment.
On Monday, Onwualu revealed he has focused on a top four of Stanford, Michigan, Notre Dame and Minnesota.
"I just got home last night and me and my family got a chance to sit down and look at the schools I enjoyed and would possibly be schools I want to go to," Onwualu said. "That's what we came out with and I'm feeling really good about it so far.
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"I haven't visited Michigan yet, but at Notre Dame I felt really comfortable and it felt natural to put them in the top [group]. Minnesota being in my backyard, obviously it was easy to put them in the top. All the schools are great universities and can't really be beat."
Now that he has his focus narrowed to a select group of schools, Onwualu is closing in on making his college selection, which could come as soon as later this month.
"I don't have an exact date when I'll commit, but it should be pretty soon," he said. "Once I get the feeling of what I really want, then it will be set."
Before he renders that verdict, however, Onwualu is going to make a few more campus visits. He is working now to set up a trip with Michigan.
"I think I am going to be going there later this week," Onwualu said of Michigan. "We're still working on the plan, but should be there very soon. I already know where they hold themselves academically and athletically, but I think a big part is just getting a feel for the coaches and the environment."
One team who could potentially move into the final group of schools under consideration is Ohio State. The Buckeye's coaching staff has said Onwualu would have an offer from them if he was able to make an unofficial visit to Columbus.
"They are probably No. 5," Onwualu said of the Buckeyes. "They are a big school, but I just haven't gotten the chance to research them enough."
Visits to Minnesota, Stanford and Notre Dame have already been made, and a return trip to South Bend is scheduled for March 23. Onwualu talked about the three schools he has seen already and what about those trips helped them earn a spot on his list.
Minnesota: "Their recruiting coaches are amazing. I have been able to hang out with Coach [Matt] Limegrover and also Coach [Jerry] Kill. On top of that, they just got their first commit [Keelon Brookins] who is one of my best friends. He, of course, wants to play with me in college, and that would be fun.
Stanford: "I went and visited them two weeks ago. I had a great time out there as well. At that time it was a little more snowy here, so [Stanford's] weather was great. The coaches were really down to earth, really honest and took the time to look at who I am, so that was cool.
Notre Dame: "They are a school that only the best of Cretin-Derham Hall has attended and gotten offers from. I think they are one of the best in the nation. Everything they do academically and athleticially is among the best in the nation. I feel comfortable with them as a University."