J.D. Hinnant narrows it down to his top three

Ever since a violent car wreck, Fountain Valley (Calif.) offensive tackle J.D. Hinnant has been fighting to make it back to the playing field. On Saturday, he discussed his top choices and his traveling ability for future visits.

J.D. Hinnant had his season derailed by a car wreck that left him severely injured and in a wheelchair. Now, he's out of the wheelchair and ready to take more visits.

"The doctor says I'll be able to fly whenever I want," Hinnant said. "He said I have to be on crutches for a couple more weeks, but I'm just glad to be out of the wheelchair."

Hinnant said the accident changed his perspective on life and the way he looks at things in general.

"I'm definitely a lot more thankful for the smaller things in my life, more thankful for everything," Hinnant said. "I'm starting to appreciate the little things and I look at life in a different way. I try and take things more positively and work as hard as I can."

Hinnant is staying active on the recruiting front, narrowing down his top five to three schools over the past couple of weeks.

"I've narrowed it down to Oregon, Cal and Duke," Hinnant said.

Hinnant received visits from coaches with each of those schools in the past couple of weeks, all of which were productive.

"I had dinner with Coach Knowles and Coach Lubick from Duke and I had dinner with Coach Michalczik from Cal...and Coach Franklin, the new offensive coordinator with Cal, came over the week before dead period."

Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood visited Hinnant for breakfast and visited him again at Fountain Valley High School for another meeting.

"He actually told me that he wants me as much as he did before the crash happened," Hinnant said. "The doctors from Oregon gave him the okay to keep recruiting me as hard as possible. They look at me for the football player I'm going to be once I'm at full health."

The meetings went well enough that Hinnant is looking to dial in a visit to Oregon in the very near future.

"I think it'll be the second or third weekend of January," Hinnant said.

Hinnant said that despite a recent coaching change-up at Cal, that a coaching change will not factor heavily into his final decision.

"I had a real close relationship with Coach Michalczik at Cal," Hinnant said. "Now it's just building new relationships with new coaches which isn't the hardest thing in the world. So I don't think a coaching change makes the biggest difference in the world for me."

When it comes to making a decision, Hinnant is taking his time and analyzing everything about his top three.

"It's a dead heat," Hinnant said.

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