Jake Whalen spent the weekend safely in Iowa City away from the pressures of home. His Hawkeye official visit provided him a chance to focus on that program and what it had to offer without distraction.
Sunday, he traveled back to Wausau, Wisconsin, where he'll hear encouragement to stay home for college. It will continue next Friday when he's scheduled to officially visit the Badgers.
Whalen finds himself in an enviable but difficult position. He must choose between a pair of Big Ten rivals. He's trying to be as open-minded as possible.
"I'm taking my visits and making my decision based off of that," the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Wausau West High senior said. "You can't go wrong when you experience everything first hand."
The Hawkeyes offered Whalen a scholarship to play linebacker. Wisconsin extended its opportunity at fullback. The Badgers' offer is a grayshirt, meaning he'd have to pay for his first semester in Madison before going on scholarship next January.
"It's definitely different," he said. "I just want to take my visits and make sure I find and choose where I fit best."
Linebacker rates as a position of need for the Hawkeyes. A recruit could find his way on the field early if he shows the ability to contribute.
"That's something that will play a factor," Whalen said. "There are a lot of opportunities there."
Ben Niemann played linebacker as a true freshman in 2014. He played host to Whalen this weekend.
"He was really cool," Whalen said. "I got some really good insight from him."
Whalen said he learned that the Hawkeye coaches care about all of their players and do their best to help them succeed on and off of the field.
"It was a really fun visit," he said. "I connected with the commits very well and it was a great time."