Is Brightwell Closing In On Decision?

PARAMUS, N.J. -- Outside linebacker Saleem Brightwell was focused on four schools last month, but has the focus changed for the Paramus (N.J.) Catholic standout?

Paramus (N.J.) Catholic linebacker Saleem Brightwell held four schools in high regard for a while, but a fifth may get a chance to jump into the fray.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan State and Pittsburgh as his top four, but he is set to make an unofficial visit to Syracuse this weekend with teammate Najee Clatyon.

“Maybe if I like it I might consider them,” he said. “I might check them out if that is the case.”

However, Brightwell said Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan State and Pittsburgh are easily his top teams.

“I’m just waiting to see,” he said. “Those are my top four teams, but I’m just waiting to see which one plays out as the better fit.”

While Brightwell ponders visits, a scheduling crunch is forcing him to delay officials. Paramus Catholic is expected to make a deep run into the playoffs, which will occupy his weekends into December.

The lone bye on the Paladins’ schedule is Nov. 29, and he was hoping to use that to visit Nebraska, but the Cornhuskers are on the road.

In fact, the only one of his top four schools home that weekend is Missouri, but schools shy away from Thanksgiving weekend visits because campus life is usually toned down markedly.

So Brightwell remains focused on what is turning into a stellar senior season. Not only are the Paladins (7-0) ranked No. 12 in the nation, but he has 59 tackles, including five sacks and eight tackles for loss.

“I think I got a little bit fast, a little bit stronger, just a little bit of everything. I got better at reading the line,” Brightwell said. “Some schools They talk to me as a Star (linebacker), some schools as a Will. I’ll play wherever they want me to play.”

The only school Brightwell visited of his four is Michigan State.

“I really like that school,” he said. “That’s one of my top schools also. I went there last March and I talk to (assistant) coach (Pat) Narduzzi and (linebackers) coach (Mike) Tressel. They’re very good guys.”

Nebraska is also making a hard push, and D.J. Singleton, the brother of Paramus Catholic sophomore linebacker Drew Singleton, gives Brightwell a connection to the program.

“It’s a good program, and I heard really good things about them,” he said. “It’s a really good school and I really like the Big Ten. I want to visit there.”

Missouri is a big more of an unknown, but an intriguing one.

“They are just telling me I have to come visit and see what it’s like and hopefully I like it there,” Brightwell said.

Scout CFB Top Stories