If Ben Swanton ends up at a college that doesn't fit him, it won't be because he left a stone unturned. The Class of 2015 offensive linemen is doing is homework when it comes to researching schools.
Swanton estimates that he has seen more than 15 campuses.
"For me, I see it as very important to get an early start on visiting colleges instead of rushing to make a college decision," the 6-foot, 250-pound Swanton said.
Swanton's tour will continue this summer with camp stops, where he hopes to earn his first scholarship offer. Here's his list:
• University of Illinois (June 2 – Showcase camp at Barrington, IL)?
• Northern Illinois University (June 6)?
• University of Kansas (June 8)?
• Kansas State University (June 9)
• University of Iowa (June 10)?
• Michigan State (June 12)?
• University of Purdue (June 14 – Special invite to Senior camp)?
• University of Pittsburg (June 15)?
• Northwestern University (June 17)?
• Ohio State University (June 20 – Special invite to Senior camp)?
• University of Wisconsin (June 23rd – 25th)?
• Princeton (Tentative: July 10 or 13)
Swanton, who preps at De Forest (WI) High, visited Iowa on March 28. He spent time with assistants Scott Southmayd and Eric Johnson, a Wisconsin native.
"To be honest, I was surprised by my visit to Iowa," Swanton said. "I didn't know what to expect and was surprised how beautiful the campus is. Coach Southmayd and Coach Johnson made a great impression to me about the Iowa football program. It was great to hear about all the traditions at Iowa and knowing the staff have been together for many years.
"I also appreciated learning their views on what's expected of an Iowa football player (academically and athletically). I walked away from my visit saying to my parents that I could see myself going to school at Iowa and playing football if an opportunity presented itself."
Swanton said he can't get a feel for which schools are most interested in him because contact is limited being that he's only a sophomore. He thinks he'll get a better idea after Sept. 1 when there are fewer restrictions for coaches as he enters his junior year.
For now, Swanton absorbs information on his visits and takes mental notes on things he enjoys about the schools.
"I want to make sure the culture fits for me and understand what makes each football program different and learn what it's like to be a student athlete there," he said.
Football facilities, academic assistance and internship philosophies are among the main areas on which Swanton focuses.
Swanton moves well for a big guy. He's a third-degree black belt.
"I would describe myself as someone with a high athletic IQ, capable of showing focus and playing with a high intensity level, power, quickness, and capable of getting underneath opponents with good pad level to win one-on-one battles," Swanton said. "I drive my opponents crazy because of my skills and aggressiveness. The way I play offensive line, I like to think I frustrate defensive lineman and punish linebackers."
Among Swanton's many campus trips have been multiple stops in Madison.
"Being that I'm so close to the University of Wisconsin, I'm sure I would hear a lot from my town if I went to Iowa," Swanton said. "The reality is I have to keep my options open, knowing that football recruiting is very competitive and offers are limited.
"The University of Wisconsin is on my radar. However, if I don't have a formal offer from them, it would be foolish not to consider other interested football programs with similar great traditions and educational opportunities."