Kouandjio Remains at Seven

Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha offensive tackle Arie Kouandjio still has a list of seven schools that he's considering – California, Alabama, Miami, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Maryland and New Mexico. All have offered and he still denies a leader...

Arie Kouandjio (6-6, 320), ranked as the No. 34 offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com, has already visited New Mexico (Dec. 5) and California (Dec. 12) officially.

"I had a great time (in New Mexico)," Kouandjio said. "I love the people there. They are very honest and real."

He says he also likes his chances of playing early at New Mexico. "They see me as being a big part of their recruiting class," he said. "They said that I'd be able to come in and compete right away with the talent I have."

The people were one of the main things that impressed Kouandjio about Cal as well. "It felt like a more relaxed atmosphere," he said about the Bears versus the East Coast. "It's a more relaxed vibe over there and the people seem like they care about more than just football.

"I really liked getting to know all the players and coaches there," he said. "They seemed very cool."

Kouandjio's next official visit will be to Alabama on Jan. 15. He says the Tide are recruiting him the hardest. "They just seem to call the most and seem the most interested," he said.

He says he's being recruited by Tide linebackers coach Sal Sunseri. "We get along good," he said. "I've been talking to him a long time and know him pretty well. He's a good person and a good coach.

"They told me I'd probably be able to come in and try to compete early," he said. "They said that I'd definitely be able to earn my playing time if I was prepared. When a school like Alabama says something like that you listen."

Kouandjio says he's very impressed with the Tide's undefeated season and how quickly coach Nick Saban rebuilt that program. "They did a great job this year," he said. "They've been working hard to compete for championships again. I remember talking to the coaches at the beginning of the year saying they'd be winning a national championship in the next three to four years. They did it even quicker."

Following his visit to Tuscaloosa, Kouandjio will be visiting Miami on Jan. 22. "I like the program a lot," he said about the Canes. "I want to see how I'd fit in there. It seems like a good program that is coming up.

"I really like all the coaches there too," he said. "So during my visit I just need to see what the players are like and how I get along with them."

Kouandjio will be taking his final official visit on Jan. 29 to Tennessee. "They did really well this year with a lot of new faces," he said about the Vols. "They're definitely a team to watch."

He is being recruited by Vols offensive line coach James Cregg. "He says that I could play early," he said. "They're an up-and-coming program in the SEC, so it's a good opportunity to be part of something big. It would be a good challenge there."

The only school on his list that he won't have a chance to visit is Notre Dame. So does this hurt the Irish's chances with him? "I don't think so," he said. "I know a lot about the program and their tradition, so just because I won't take an official trip doesn't matter.

"I've gotten to know a few players there and have a good relationship with some of the coaches too," he said.

One Irish coach he hasn't talked to yet is new Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. "I haven't talked to him yet," he said. "I don't really know a lot about him except that he did great at Cincy."

Kouandjio didn't host any coaches at his home last week as he was in Texas for the U.S Army All-America Bowl. "It was a great time," he said. "The best part was going against the best competition in the country. Everyone was top-notch, but I think I did really well."

He says he plans on making a decision on signing day. "I'm looking at how I'd fit in with the team and all the coaches and players," he said. "Also I want an offense that fits my style too. But really it's about the people there and how well I get along with them."

Kouandjio reports a 2.9 core GPA and has a 1020 two-part SAT.

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