Houshun Gaines may have listed a top two that didn’t include NC State last month but don’t let that fool you. The Wolfpack is still on his mind.
Florida and Virginia Tech may be running slightly ahead of the other schools the defensive end is still hearing from but Gaines said that others are still in the mix. ‘Others’ would include Miami and NCSU.
Gaines said he will take official visits to Miami and Florida but not because he has a preference for those programs.
“I do plan on taking all five official visits definitely. They’re not as close to home so that’s definitely a factor. I definitely like Florida a lot. I didn’t get a chance to take a visit to Miami so I want to go check that campus out. With the official visit being paid for I want to use it as an opportunity to travel.”
Gaines has been practicing with his teammates for the past several weeks but he was able to visit the University of Florida a month ago at the end of July. That was the last college visit for Gaines and the memory of it still looms large. There’s no doubting that Florida has some appeal for Gaines who likes the bright lights and big stages of the SEC.
“I wanted to go down to Florida because they have a great reputation. It was everything I thought it would be and more. That was a great visit. It was my first time there and it was my first time being in the state of Florida. It was definitely a good place and a good thing to see. It went real well there. They’ve got a lot of good people.
“Everybody knows about Florida and how it’s a great program. I would definitely love to play for them. But if that isn’t where I feel like I can benefit the most then I wouldn’t go there. I have to weigh the pros and cons of each.”
Gaines said he has a good relationship with just about every coach on Florida’s staff so that when coupled with the Gators prestige makes them a strong presence in the process for Gaines.
If there’s a school that could surprise and make a strong surge late it could be NC State. Gaines has been to the school and he said he speaks with Ryan Nielsen and Dave Doeren all of the time.
“The last time I was there at State was right at the beginning of the summer I believe. They had a camp there that day but I just visited. They definitely told me I could play early. NC State definitely gives you the opportunity to play early. That’s definitely a draw. I talk to Coach Nielsen a lot and he tells me he really wants me. He feels like I can benefit from playing there.”
Gaines said that a lot of people around him like Florida but there hasn't been much local pull to stay home and play for the Pack. He said the people he knows that like a local school seem to mostly be North Carolina fans.
“Most of them don’t want me to go to State,” chuckled Gaines.
If Gaines made his decision today it seems basic to assume that Florida would possibly be the choice. But Gaines plans to use those official visits in the fall so how each team performs could have a role in the choice he makes. Gaines was planning on enrolling in college in January but he says he now is not sure whether that will work out.