Humility might be an underrated trait when it comes to athletes. When it appears at an early age, it can be even more impressive.
Such is the case with Class of 2014 offensive tackle recruit, Ross Pierschbacher. He credits hearing from an impressive list of colleges to playing with senior running back Barkley Hill, an Iowa State verbal commitment.
"Being with him, all the coaches looking at him maybe see a younger kid is blocking for him," the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Cedar Falls (IA) High sophomore said. "I think the players that are around me have gotten me the attention."
While playing with talented teammates at a strong program might help, the coaches see something special in Pierschbacher. He's starting at left tackle on the varsity for his second year in a row with two more years of eligibility remaining.
"Each year, I hope to improve," Pierschbacher said. "I feel comfortable right now where I'm at. I'm working on my left-handed stance and working from a two-point a little bit, too. I've been trying different things to see what works the best for this year and the next couple of years."
"It was nice," he said. "I like getting to see things early and to look at things to compare to other places. Coach (Reese) Morgan is a nice guy. Their lifting is pretty impressive, too, with Coach (Chris) Doyle."
"I went to the offensive line camp at Northern Iowa this summer," Pierschbacher said. "After camp, I talked to Coach (Mark) Farley a little bit. He told my dad that I can come there if I want on scholarship. It's not on paper."
Pierschbacher has been invited back to Oklahoma to watch a game on Thanksgiving weekend when they play host to Iowa State under the lights. Former Hawkeye Bruce Kittle has led the Sooners recruitment of the sophomore tackle.
"Coach Kittle texted (Cedar Falls) Coach (Pat) Mitchell after the game on Friday night and asked how I am doing," Pierschbacher said. "He said that he's been impressed this season."
Pierschbacher and his family spent a few days in Norman, OK, this summer and Kittle gave them a tour of the campus and football facilities.
Pierschbacher grew up attending a few Iowa games a year and tries to make it back for at least one contest a season now that he's playing varsity football. He felt wanted when talking with Morgan Saturday night.
"He was just saying that he was really excited that I'm there," Pierschbacher said. "He's really happy with me on film lately. He said I was looking impressive. He hasn't talked about a scholarship or anything."
Pierschbacher said he really amped up his weightlifting program last off-season after realizing as a freshman that he needed to be stronger.
"I was raw coming in and not strong enough my freshman year," he said. "I'm getting there now. After the season is over, I'm going to hit it hard again."
Pierschbacher has been invited to the prestigious U.S. Army underclassmen combine this January in San Antonio. He said he was probably going to attend.
If Pierschbacher goes to the event, there stands a good chance that the attention from colleges would increase. While he likes that idea, it won't change his ability to keep things in perspective, he said.
"I don't really think of it as much," Pierschbacher said of hearing from college so soon. "I just think of it as that I haven't really accomplished what I want yet. I just want to keep moving forward and hopefully after the season I keep getting more looks."