After official visit tour, Mt. Prospect OL Alex Palczewski nearing a decision

In-state OL Alex Palczewski plans decision this week following official visits to Vanderbilt, Syracuse and Illinois

After trips to Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Illinois during the last eight days, Alex Palczewski decided to use Sunday as a day or rest. The three-star Mt. Prospect offensive lineman wants to recharge his mind before making a significant decision.

“I’m not going to think about any of it today,” Palczewski told Illini Inquirer on Sunday. “After all the official visits, you always get the immediate feeling afterward of, ‘I want to go here.’ So I’m not going to think about it today. I’m going to sleep on it, think about it Monday and Tuesday and make a decision either Wednesday or Thursday.”

It’s been a whirlwind two months for Palczewski, whose first offer came from Illinois in mid-November. That offer earned him increased publicity and more power-five offers.

His official visit tour of three schools started last weekend in Nashville at Vanderbilt.

“I would just have a great education and play for a great football team,” Palczewski said of Vanderbilt. “The one thing Coach (Derek) Mason is telling me is after I have successful career here, I’ll go out and internationally, someone will see I went to Vanderbilt ad say, ‘Wow, he’s smart, and he plays football.'"

The 6-foot-6, 275-pound senior -- ranked the No. 2 offensive tackle in the state of Illinois by and No. 47 offensive tackle in the country -- then headed out to Syracuse for a mid-week official visit.

“Syracuse was really nice,” Palczewski said. “For some reason, it seemed a lot like my high school. I felt kind of at home there. I like all the facilities. I liked it there.” had never visited Vanderbilt or Syracuse before but had visited Illinois for an unofficial visit in November, which spurred the Illini to become the first to offer. During his official visit this weekend, he earned an even deeper look at the university and program, while Illinois earned an opportunity to make their top offensive line priority feel even more at home.

“I really liked it there,” Palczewski said. “I was really happy because I got to see all the recruits there who could be my potential teammates. I really liked when I was with my host, with the players they were doing it together, whether getting food or staying at my house. I just felt really comfortable there.”

Palczewski spent a lot of time with host Doug Kramer Jr., a redshirt freshman offensive lineman at Illinois, and the near double-digit Illini commits on campus, especially offensive line commits Larry Boyd and Vederian Lowe.

“I knew they would have everything I wanted academic-wise,” Palczewski said. “I just wanted to picture myself how it would be if I played football there. We just went through a normal day of how I would go through a day if I played football there.”

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith, offensive line coach Luke Butkus and linebackers coach Tim McGarigle -- who recruits the Chicago area -- also on Thursday visited Palczewski at Mt. Prospect High School before his weekend visit just to show that he is one of their top priorities.

Will the fact that Illinois was the first to offer have an impact on his ultimate decision?

“There’s something there. It means something,” Palczewski said. “They’re the first, and they kind of started this and blew me up.”

Two months ago, Palczewski -- who missed most of his junior season due to a neck injury -- wondered if he’d play Division I football. Now, he’s days away from making an agonizing decision between three power-five programs.

“It’s just been a whirlwind of emotions,” Palczewski said. “If you told me I’d have to make this decision two years after I was lying in a hospital bed (with the neck injury), I’d say you’re crazy. It’s kind of problem, but I’d say it’s a good problem. I’m happy to have it.”

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