LB Machen Finished with Countrywide Tour

Linebacker B.J. Machen, from Hilliard, Ohio, has just about completed a countrywide tour of colleges he's interested in attending. The summer tour has taken him from Ohio to California and now to Georgia in search of finding just the right school and football program for him.

Linebacker B.J. Machen, from Hilliard, Ohio, has just about completed a countrywide tour of colleges he's interested in attending. The summer tour has taken him from Ohio to California and now to Georgia in search of finding just the right school and football program for him.

When I caught up with B.J. he was still in Atlanta, a day after taking an unofficial visit to Georgia Tech.

"I'm still here actually," said Machen. "I actually went on my tour and stuff yesterday."

After a summer of travel, the last day of visiting is being spent relaxing and hanging out with family.

"I'm just hanging out," said Machen. "I have family out here. So, we're just going around looking at the city and doing some things – we'll hang out and go swimming probably. But, I was with Georgia Tech yesterday – my tour and everything – and talked to the coaches and everything, got that all out of the way yesterday."

B.J. has a family connection with one of the Tech players, safety DeRon Jasper.

"He's my cousin," said Machen. "I'm actually going to be hanging out with him today."

Is DeRon putting on any pressure to be a Yellow Jacket?

"Well, you know, he goes here, so he would like me to go here," said Machen. "But he says it's all up to me – wherever I feel comfortable, that's what everybody's saying. He would like me to go here, of course, probably, but it's wherever I want to be."

There are other family connections to other schools on his list as well, starting with his father.

"He played at Stanford," said Machen. "He's not trying to pursue me one way or the other. He's leaving it up to me too. Again, I'm sure he'd love for me to be at Stanford but he said he's going to be happy with whatever decision I make."

And finally, his grandfather played for Illinois back in the 1950's and some more cousins at Maryland.

"My grandfather played at Illinois," said Machen. "I already visited Illinois a couple of weeks ago and I liked that. I visited with my grandfather actually. I have cousins at Maryland. I visited Maryland last week. I liked that – had a good visit, talked to all of the coaches."

For all of his visits, except the one to Illinois, his father accompanied him.

"I've done Stanford, Maryland, Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, Duke and N.C. State," said Machen. "We hit all of them day-after-day last week and then I took a week off and then came to Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech should be the last one. After this, we're going to be done. We've already visited all of those other places."

It feels good for B.J. to be done with visits before the grid of the football season starts.

"I think I saw everything I needed to see. I've seen enough to make my decision," said Machen. "It's going to be a real tough decision. It's good we got this all out of the way before the season starts. I got to see the guys working out, talk to the coaches and get out to all of the schools I'm interested in. There are still a couple but I've seen most of them. I have a pretty good idea."

As for how close he is to a decision Machen said, "I'd like to make a decision before the season starts. I don't have a day planned but it will probably be before game 1. So, it may happen next week, it may be a month from now. Whenever I feel comfortable and feel like this is where I want to go and don't have any doubts about it – then I'll make that move."

It was hard this time to pin him down to give out a favorites list.

"I'm still open to pretty much all of the schools I visited. There are a couple (of schools) that I would have liked to have visited. Duke, Stanford, G-Tech, N.C. State, Syracuse, West Virginia, Pitt, all the schools I visited are pretty much most of the schools I'm considering. But, I haven't really narrowed it down to a couple yet. I'm about to sit down and make a list of the pros and cons of what I liked and didn't like about each visit. It's going to be a real tough decision to make."

When asked about any visits that stood out, it was even harder to pinpoint.

"Gosh, they all grabbed me," said Machen. "Every school had great facilities. Every school I have a relationship with all of the coaches. Geez, I don't even know. I couldn't even tell you. I like all of them. I just think it was a great opportunity to get to travel around the country and see all these different places, different players, different universities, and to see all of these different campuses. It a really good opportunity to have – I'm really blessed."

All of the schools B.J. has visited have also extended offers. Other schools have as well, according to him, including most of the teams in the MAC conference, Louisville, Nebraska, Marshall and others.

Academics as well as many other aspects of the school will play a role in helping him decide where he ultimately ends up.

"The first thing I'm going to look at is – am I going to be happy with a degree from this school whether I'm playing football or not," said Machen. "Because I want to be happy with my choice – if I get hurt and can't play another down of football, I want to be happy I chose this place. Is it a good place to be? I want to be happy with the campus life and players and coaches and comfortable where I'm at geographically. I want to be in a good place; a place I like to be if I can't play football. I want to get a good degree, a good education, a good football program with good coaches that want to win games and are going to win games, programs heading in the right direction – which I think all the schools I visited are heading in the positive direction in terms of the football program. Those are all of the things I'm looking for."

Getting into specifics on his latest visit to GT, B.J. had plenty to talk about.

"I met with Coach (John) Tenuta and Coach BJ (Brian Jean-Mary) and we just went over the schemes, talked football, talked about where they see me playing," said Machen. "And they said they see me playing any of the three linebacker spots. Some schools just see me as a "mike" or a "will" or a "sam" but they said I'm versatile player and they see me playing any three of those spots. I can develop into a "mike," "sam," or "will" at the next level."

"We took a tour of the campus. We saw dorms we we'd be staying in. We saw the Rec. center, student union and all of those things. Everything was real nice. I talked to Coach (Chan) Gailey for a while – me and my dad. He's just a great guy. He's a real down-to-earth person and I think he's a great coach. I got to talk with Phillip Wheeler – he's an All-ACC linebacker there. I talked to DeRon (Jasper), of course – he plays free safety for Georgia Tech. I got his view on the situation, on how he feels about being at the University – he was a freshman this year – and just how it is to come in as a freshman and the whole process, the whole recruiting process. He's helped me a lot with all of that. It was a good visit. I really enjoyed it. The weather is beautiful here. The facilities are real nice. I talked to the strength coach (Eric Ciano). I liked him a lot too. He seemed real intense. He's a young guy, real upbeat."

When I spoke with B.J. previously, he had also brought up weather as a factor he was paying particular attention too. He wasn't thrilled with being in Ohio in spring with it being 60 degrees still. And now...

"Yeah, I still think I want to be somewhere warm," said Machen. "Most of the schools I've talked to have a change in climate, some don't, but I still think getting out of that cold will be a good change for me. I like playing in the heat, playing under the sun. So, I think that will be something I look for in wherever I choose to go."

When discussing his major, could there be a Dr. Machen in the works for the future?

"I want to get into the medical field," said Machen. "I want to go to med school and get a degree in medicine. So, I'll probably be a Biology major or exercise science – I'm thinking about sports medicine, something along those lines."

All schools on his list offer some sort of prerequisite to med school but, Machen said, "they all offer that but some programs are better than others, which may play a role."

In his final thoughts on his future and school, Machen wrapped it up this way:

"I know I'm going to go and work hard wherever I'm at and I'm going to get the job done," said Machen. "I'm going to get my grades, stay focused, do well on my tests and just get it done. And hopefully give myself the best opportunity to get into a great med school and to continue my career after football is over if I don't make it into the league – which would be great because it's my #1 goal, of course. But if that doesn't work out – which football isn't guaranteed – then I have a backup plan." Top Stories