"I'm leaning slightly towards Iowa State right now, just because the visit with the coaches went well," said Tavale. "To me, that was a strong point. I thought the relationship was a lot closer when I was at Iowa State than Minnesota, but I'm not saying Minnesota is out of the game for sure.
"I could potentially have two visits left this month, but I think it might just come down to one. I'm going to UNLV this weekend for a visit to see how it is. It will let me get away from the Big 10 and Big 12 to see how the academics and program are out there. But they'll have to do a good job."
Illinois pursued Tavale before and after the coaching change in Champaign, but they appear to be out of the game for now.
"A lot of coaches are pressuring for a commitment somewhere, anywhere," he said. "February 2nd is coming around and the deadline is coming up soon. If I have to make my decision next week, then I'll do it before January 22nd, which is when I'm supposed to be at Illinois."
Tavale admits that he's had plenty of time to mull over his decision over the last several weeks, and already has a school in mind.
"It's been a long time since the visits, so I've thought it over plenty," he said. "I know where I want to go. This last visit, they're going to have to show a lot for me to change my decision. The Cyclones are looking very good.
"Coach McCarney is one of the best recruiters out there. He keeps in touch with me a lot, and having that kind of attention really pushes you to be where he is. I think communication is going to get me where I'm going."
If Tavale were to commit to the Cyclones next week, he would become the fifth offensive lineman for the Class of 2005. Offensive guard appears to be his likely starting point, although the Cretin Derham standout also was an all-conference performer on defense.
"Especially with Coach Cotton, I trust him a lot and he has a good relationship with his boys," Tavale said. "That's really important for me. If I'm going to spend the next five years with him, you've got to like and respect the guy. I also talk to Coach Nelson, and he says if it doesn't work out on offense I could go to defense."