Mt. Prospect OL Alex Palczewski plans three January visits

Mt. Prospect offensive lineman Alex Palczewski to visit three schools in January

Alex Palczewski's recruitment was pretty calm until November -- too calm for someone who wanted to play Division-I football.

But then Illinois offered, and Palczewski became one of the hottest names in the Midwest.

"It's been exploding a bit," Palczewski told Illini Inquirer. "A lot of coaches started coming to Prospect. Every day I was missing at least one class period to talk with a coach. There's a lot of coaches I've talked to. It's been a lot of fun."

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Mt. Prospect (Ill.) offensive tackle missed most of his junior season with a neck injury, but an impressive senior season earned him an Illini offer in mid-November. Since then, two other schools have hopped on board with offers: Vanderbilt and Syracuse.

"I can't really say anything about them because I haven't been to Vanderbilt or Syracuse," Palczewski said. "So it's hard to tell. I talk to the coaches and all that, but I just want to see the college and how I would fit there. So I'm going on visits to those places in January."

Palczewski wrestles -- one thing Illinois likes about him -- so his weekends already are busy. But he said he will squeeze in three official visits in eight days next month.

He will fly to Vanderbilt on Saturday, Jan. 14, and then fly to Syracuse the following day to spend Monday, Jan. 15, and Tuesday, Jan. 16, visiting the Orangemen.

"I'm just hoping to see the campuses because I've never really seen these campuses in person," Palczewski said "They're hard to see online, so I'm really just looking forward to seeing how it looks and how it feels and to get to see where I would spend my next four or five years and how it would feel." The following weekend, he will visit Illinois (Jan. 20-21). Palczewski has already been to the Illinois campus. He received an offer a few days after an unofficial visit in November, but he wants to learn more on his official visit.

"I want to see everything around football," Palczewski said. "I want to see how and where I'd live, what the day would be like. I want to talk to a counselor when I'm down there to see how my classes would be and what it'd be like in my major (construction management or athletic training) when I'm there."

Illinois has made Paczewski a high priority since it offered the sleeper prospect, who now ranks among the top-50 offensive tackles in the country according to

"I'm just building my relationship more, especially with (Illini offensive line) coach (Luke) Butkus," Palczewski said. "I talk to him almost every day. We're just talking a lot and getting to know each other more. I think two or three weeks ago he came by Prospect. I have first period open, so we decided we'd just have breakfast. We talked over that."

Palczewksi's recruitment was late-arriving. But now it's a whirlwind, and it will only get more hectic with a decision coming near the end of next month.

"I have no clue how I'm going to make this decision," Palczewski said. "After I take those visits, I'm going to think about it. The thing that matters most to me is the relationship with the offensive line coach. A place can have the greatest facilities, but you're going to be playing for that offensive line coach for the next four or five years. That's going to be the biggest in my decision and if I can get my major. The one thing that the Vanderbilt (offensive line) coach (Cameron) Norcross is telling me is that this decision I'm making is not a four-year decision, it's a 40-year decision. I want to make sure I'm somewhere where I can get my degree, where I can get a job with it."

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