Clarity can be found through tragedy. Ronald Nash has first-hand knowledge.
The Iowa Western Community College wide receiver lost his mother, Jody, to skin cancer on December 8, 2013. She was 49.
Jody batted the disease for five years before passing away. Her death came less than two months before national signing day for Ronald.
Northern Iowa received a commitment from Ronald during his senior year at Sioux City East High. He signed with the FCS school in February of '14 before having second thoughts.
"I just decided that I didn't make the right decision for me. That was a tough time giving everything with my mom. It was a tough time to make a clear-cut decision. I changed my mind and decided to come to Iowa Western," Ronald Nash said.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Nash caught 28 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns last fall as a true freshman on a loaded Reivers squad. He turned heads of some bigger schools, including Iowa, where he will officially visit this weekend.
Nash said the Hawkeyes have always been his favorite school. He's been to the campus multiple times and built a relationship with assistant Reese Morgan, who he says was very supportive during the time he as dealing with his mother's illness.
"I have a lot of communication with him and we went through everything with my mom so I was able to get a little bit closer with him," Nash said.
Iowa is looking at Nash as a preferred walk-on at this point, he said. He would have four years to play three at the next level and begin at his new school this summer after finishing the semester at Iowa Western.
"As far as an offer goes, I'm not too sure. I'm not sure of the chance, exactly, of me getting a scholarship, but it's not completely out of the question. There's a lot of stuff that goes on with recruiting. It's always still an option," Nash said.
"I'm definitely going to keep my options open. It's pretty tough to pass up a full-ride scholarship so whatever comes along I will definitely take into consideration," Nash said.
Nash qualified for the state track meet three times and the Drake Relays twice when he was in high school. He recorded 110 receptions for 1,210 yards during his final two seasons as East. He caught 21 passes in a game against Urbandale.
"I would say that I was known for speed. In high school, I believe I ran a 4.48 (hand-timed, 40-yard dash) and a 4.5 electronic. I ran a 4.0 in the pro agility," Nash said.
Nash, who is undecided on a college major, said he knows what to expect on his Iowa visit from his previous stops there.
"This time I'd like to feel out what the other players are like and how I fit in. I want to be able to ask the coaches some questions and pick their brains and just see what their vision is for me; what they think I'm capable of; what my situation would be coming in," he said.
The Hawkeyes have experienced quite a lot of success with non-scholarship players in the past. Nash has learned about that.
"I've heard from multiple people, even old teammates, that Iowa has a good walk-on program. Everyone is treated fairly. I feel like I'm capable of playing at that level so I'm not too worried about the walk-on part. I feel like I can definitely earn my spot," he said.
Nash said he is taking the recruiting process day by day. Since his mother left him, it's how proceeds.
"Things are different and I've been forced to find myself without my mom. It's forced me to grow up and I think I've matured faster than most people my age. I've been through things that most people my age haven't been through. If there is any positive out of this situation is that it's made me stronger. I live my life just trying to make my mother proud and do what I think would make her happy," Nash said.