Down To Three For Hickey

After a long summer of visits, camps and talking with coaches, offensive tackle Sean Hickey has narrowed his list to three schools. While other BCS schools have come around late in the summer, Hickey is set on deciding between his three favorites, perhaps as early as September.

At this time of year, most prospects are more concerned about summer practice than recruiting. Some have made their choice and others are waiting until after the season. Sean Hickey is doing a little of both. While working with his team, he is still working through the process of picking a school.

"We are finished up with our camp. We had three-a-days last week and two-a-days this week. Now we're done. I have it down to three schools right now. I'm looking at Syracuse, Illinois and Boston College in no particular order.

Despite not having a favorite amongst the three, each school brings unique things to the table.

"Syracuse has great coaching. Coach Marrone, he is one of the top-3 offensive line coaches in the game. So, I'd get a chance to work with him. Coach Adkins was at Tennessee and Georgia before he came to Syracuse. So, he has worked with guys to compete at the highest level.

"Illinois, I feel at home there and I get along great with the coaches. Coach Pry, coach Gilbert and coach Zook are great. I'd be able to play early and they really like me for their system. That's what is really appealing about Illinois.

"Boston College has been recruiting me since the process started. They really want me up there and they have been the most persistent in recruiting me. I get something form them every single day. I get an e-mail every day and I get a handwritten letter every day.

"The chance to play early at all three schools is what has set them apart. All three have a great mix of the things I'm looking for. The mix of academics that I want and the football things that are important to me. That's what puts all three as my final schools."

Often, location plays a big factor in the decision process. For Sean, it is not a factor.

"For me location is only an issue when you get beyond the five hour drive from home. Once you get beyond that it gets more difficult to go home if you have a chance, because you have to plan in advance for plane tickets. All three are about a five hour drive. From all three I can get inexpensive flights and drive home if I had a chance."

Unlike many prospects, Sean narrowed his focus early and has stuck with his top three choices throughout the summer, despite interest from many other schools.

"I could have got more BCS offers if I had pursued more schools and did more of things you need to do to get a long list of offers. But, I knew those three schools were the ones I liked and I decided to just focus on those three. I think each of them offer what is best for me."

In addition to differences in location, all three programs offer a different mix of things attractive to Sean.

"All three schools are looking at me as a tackle. I play tackle in high school. I thought about the different systems they run. I asked Illinois about playing in the spread and they told me my mobility is what they think works for them. I'm used to playing the power game, which is what I would be doing at Syracuse and BC. Coach Marrone is an NFL guy and he points out they run more power football and not much of the spread. I feel I can do either one. It is tough to say which one is better, but I think I can do well in either system.

"I was at BC three times, Illinois twice and Syracuse once. All three were nice, every campus was nice. Boston College is a little more closed in and it is smaller, more intimate. Syracuse was in the city, but it had a central area that I liked with stores and restaurants where students hang out. Illinois is a college town and it is a bigger school. Champagne is built around the university and everything revolves around the school.

"All three were different, but I liked all three equally for different reasons. That's what is making so tough is I like everything about all three, even though all three are different as far as the campus and the location of the schools."

As far as a decision, it could come at any time, or it can come late next month.

"I've been trying to think about it a lot. Once camp started it moved more to the back of mind because I was busy with camp. Before that I was trying to make my decision before camp, but I couldn't do it. All three are so close. I could not decide which school I wanted to spend the next five years.

"If I get that feeling where one feels right to me then I'll make the decision. If not then I'll take in some games in September and see if that helps. All three schools said they would wait. But I don't want it to carry on too much longer.

"When the time is right the time is right. It is not going to take too long. I don't want to be a guy that waits to December or January. If it goes on too long it will because I want to see a few games. A lot of time recruits will commit to the last place they visit. They come home all excited and commit.

"I did not want to do that. I'd got on a visit and like it and think it would be easy to commit right on the spot. Instead, I wanted to wait and let everything wear off so I could think about what each school offers me. I don't want to just get caught up in hype and then regret my decision. That's why it has been dragging on a little long." The one other issue that often plays a role is academics. Some prospects have a specific major in mind that can play a role in their decision.

"I will go into school as an undecided. I like history, but I don't know if that is the field I'll pursue. I really want to get to college and see what my choices are before I set my mind on a major. Colleges have a lot to offer and I want to see that before making a decision."

With the pressure on to make a decision, the recruiting process can often become a burden. For Sean, it has been a little of both, but a fun experience overall.

"In the beginning it was really exciting. I always dreamed about playing college football. In my situation, with off-season surgery, I thought I would get more interest at first and it was a little frustrating. Then I did really well in camps and interest went up and it was really exciting. I had the opportunity to look at a bunch of schools, but I found the three I liked and decided to focus on those three.

"It has been fun, but it is getting a little hectic now. I'm getting text messages from committed players at other schools. They are telling me to go to the school they are going to and that's a little hectic. It can get into your head if you let it, but it is still enjoyable and I'm looking forward to wrapping it up soon."

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