'Those guys fit that mold'

Ross Pierschbacher was the first commitment in Iowa's class of 2014, giving his verbal pledge more than six months ago. But in recent weeks, Alabama and Stanford have piqued the four-star's interest enough to get visits out of him. He breaks down his 48 hours in Tuscaloosa inside.

Ross Pierschbacher had been to Alabama before, taking in Tuscaloosa for the 2012 Iron Bowl win over Auburn. But the visit didn't allow him to get the true layout of Alabama football because of the game and itinerary for recruits.

Despite committing to Iowa a few months later, Nick Saban's pursuit of the four-star resulted in a return trip to campus for a true visit from Monday to Wednesday.

"I'm feeling pretty good," said Pierschbacher shortly after driving from Tuscaloosa to nearby Birmingham for his flight out west. "I just wanted to get a better understanding. I came for a game, but they don't do much as far as in-depth knowledge of a school. But on this trip, we definitely saw it in depth, we basically checked out everything. We did that, and I was happy."

The Four-star offensive lineman out of Cedar Falls (Iowa) had a certain view of the Crimson Tide's layout, but the personal experience was something more.

"It surpassed my expectations," Pierschbacher said. "The people inside the building show the more important thing, though. The bells and whistles are amazing and all, but the people inside of it stood out. It's a big family, everyone was very focused on the task at hand. There were no distractions, which is pretty neat.

"They're still the same old people like me, very down to earth. Even the big recruits, they're normal."

"I like it laid back, being from Iowa that's how we are," he continued. "I'm even more laid back than most Iowa people. I'm low-key, they are too. We go about our business and work hard.

"Those guys fit that mold."

The leader of said mold spent some time with Pierschbacher, who FOX Sports NEXT/Scout.com ranks as the No. 2 guard prospect nationally in the class of 2014.

"Talking to Coach Saban probably stood out the most," he admitted. "Listening to what he had to say, I kind of had to take a step back. He said this is something I can be a part of and it was all in front of my face. I've always known it's been pretty good at Alabama, but it's crazy seeing it in person.

"It sells itself, but he talks about the accomplishments they have and everything they have to offer with academic support and life after football."

The one person not so laid back on Alabama's staff also made an impression, and it was positive.

"Coach [Scott] Cochran, I don't think you can find many other strength coaches like that, period," he added.

The calculated Pierschbacher will visit the third school in the mix, Stanford, before collecting the entirety of his pros and cons for each program and making a big decision.

"I couldn't tell you that," he said of his current recruiting status, though he maintains his current commitment to the Hawkeyes. "I visit Stanford tomorrow, and after that I'll sit down and think of everything. I've been told never to say anything on the visit about committing anywhere…you let your feelings settle down and take that step back.

"I've never been to California in my life, so I'm looking forward to seeing what that's like."

Pierschbacher plans on making the decision before Cedar Falls wraps-up its two-a-days this fall.

"I want to do it before the season to get it over with," he explained. " Just to feel comfortable with it, instead of waiting it out for the entire season, especially if I knew where I wanted to be. Then I can focus on my senior season and the team."

Besides conference and location, there is one big difference between the Hawkeyes, Cardinal and Crimson Tide – position projection.

Said Pierschbacher, "Alabama says anywhere on the offensive line, Stanford says guard mainly and Iowa tells me left tackle. Wherever I can contribute the most at, that's where I'll play. I can see myself at all five positions, it doesn't matter to me. I can play all five if wanted too."


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