In speaking with regional and national recruiting writers whom I respect, they've always told me that they'd be surprised if Class of 2011's Anthony Zettel strayed away from his home state of Michigan to play college football.
Zettel has unofficially visited Michigan State and Michigan often in the last few years. That's helped create the opinion that he's destined to stay within the boarders.
"I hear that," Zettel said. "I wouldn't say they're my favorites, though. I've just been to them so many times that I have a real good comfort level with the coaches there. I've only been to my other finalists once.
"But I wouldn't say I have any favorites. They're all even."
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Zettel used the first of five official visits allowed by the NCAA at Iowa this weekend. He canceled an unofficial trip to Iowa City last month.
"I had a really good time," said Zettel, who projects as a defensive end on the next level. "It was good to meet all the coaches and players. I feel like I got a good overall view of the program. My Mom and dad also had a good time and liked it a lot."
Zettel is scheduled to officially visit Penn State next weekend. The Nittany Lions play host to Michigan State. It will represent his second trip to Happy Valley following up an unofficial earlier this fall.
After the Penn State trip, Zettel will use official visits at Michigan State and Michigan the next two weekends. He'll then sit down and evaluate what he saw on all the trips.
After getting his first look at Iowa, Zettel felt like the Hawkeye program and the school matched up well with what he'd seen on his unofficials at the other three finalists.
"I saw a lot of the same stuff I saw at the other places," he said. "I really like the coaches and I like that they play hard-nosed football. I know if I went there, they'd make me better.
"I like the strength and conditioning coach (Chris Doyle) a lot. I know he'll help me. But as far as facilities and things like that, I thought it was pretty much like what I've seen so far."
Zettel and his parents were afforded a lot of time to see the campus and meet with academic advisors. He plans to major in kinesiology.
"Just like the coaches, it seemed like there were a lot of down-to-earth people out there," Zettel said. "Iowa City is a really nice, college based town."
Early on the recruiting process, some of the college scouts were undecided if Zettel would be an offensive or defensive linemen. That has since been figured out. He spent time with Hawkeye D-Line Coach Rich Kaczenski.
"We talked for about an hour and a half," Zettel said. "He told me that they're losing a lot on the line in the next few years and that I'd have a chance to come in and play early."
Zettel has not set a date for his decision. He expected to take time over the holidays to think it over and then announce his choice in January.
"I'll know which school I want when I feel it in my heart," he said. "I want to go to the place that gives me the best chance to succeed in life; the best college in all aspects."
Scout.com lists Zettel as a four-star recruit on its five-star scale. He's currently ranked as the No. 8 offensive guard in his class.