The first thing that traveled through the mind of Trey Stross was fear.
As his plane prepared for landing at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids this weekend, the wide receiver from the Cleveland suburb of Avon Lake focused his eyes for the first time on some good old Iowa cornfields.
"I live in Cleveland," he said with a laugh. "It's like a city and stuff. Then, we flew down there and saw all of these farms. I kind of got scared.
"I seriously wasn't expecting to make a decision. But (Iowa City) is beautiful. It's just like another Avon Lake. It's really open and everything is in walking distance or biking."
Iowa set out in hot pursuit of wide receivers this recruiting season, and the Hawkeyes hit the mark twice during the weekend. Stross (6-3 1/2, 195, 4.47) and Marcus Wilson (6-2, 180, 4.5) both said yes to the Black and Gold.
Stross quote on Wilson.
Stross came across as a very personable, polite young man possessing confidence in his skills. He happily agreed to answering some questions about himself and his decision:
Who else offered you a scholarship besides Iowa?
I had about 14 (offers). A lot of them were MAC schools - Miami (Ohio), Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Bowling Green, Toledo and Kent said they were. I've been in contact with and was supposed to go to Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State; every Big Ten school except for Michigan and Penn State.
It sounds like there was a lot of interest in you. Why did you pull the trigger for Iowa?
Well, I could have went to Purdue or Indiana, but I just liked the situation that was there (at Iowa). I liked what they had to offer. I liked the strength coach that they had there. I liked the facilities they had. The stadium is awesome.
I got to meet with Coach (Lester) Erb, the receiver coach, who coached in the NFL. That was a huge plus for me. I got to meet all of the coaches. They explained how they train their players in a way different than people like Michigan and Ohio State. That also got me very interested because that's where you're going to be for five years of your life. You've got to like these strength guys.
Who was your main recruiter?
Coach (Ken) O'Keefe. It was kind of cool when I got there because they brought me into the office and they were watching my film. That was pretty cool. I got to hear what they said about it.
After the whole camp was over, they brought me in and I just told them, "Yeah, I want to go here."
Are you still a little shocked and excited that your decision is out of the way?
Yeah. It was really tough between Iowa, Purdue and Maryland when I got there. But when I saw the campus; that put (Iowa) over Maryland. The weight room was over Maryland. The coaching was over Maryland; every little thing; the stadium. It just seemed like it couldn't get any better than that.
How many times had you visited Maryland?
I visited Maryland twice. I've been to Purdue, too.
What kind of receiver are you? What's your style?
What were statistics last season?
I had 28 catches for 25.8 yards per catch (722 yards) and nine TD's, two on defense.
What position do you play on defense?
I play free safety and cornerback. The other thing about Maryland, they were undecided whether they wanted me on offense or defense. They were more recruiting me as a free safety. I just can't give up the offensive side of the ball.
Do you play other sports?
I did basketball last year. I gave that up to get ready for track. I did the high jump. I went into state ranked second and ended up getting fifth. I had no form. I just ran up to the bar and tried to jump it.
Do you feel good knowing your decision is made and now you can concentrate on your senior season?
It's a lot of weight off your shoulders. I'm still excited about it. But I've got my senior year, and we won the state title last year. This year, we've got a really good chance of running for that again.
I'm probably going to try to take an official visit (to Iowa) just to stay there for a night. I may also take one to another college just to compare them, like maybe Maryland or Purdue.
Do you have an idea when you might take an official to Iowa?
No. Probably October or November.
I think you might worry some Iowa fans by saying your going to take an official visit to one of your other finalists. Can you ease their minds by saying your solid in your commitment to the Hawkeyes?
I'm really solid. They gave me a breakdown of the roster. I like the ability to get a chance to come in and play right away. Iowa has been in the Top 10 the last two years. Iowa was the fit for me.
Plus, I like some of the kids they're trying to bring in. It looks like Jake Christiansen is very serious about Iowa, and they're trying to talk to B.J. Travers from West Lake (Ohio) into coming in. I'm right next to him, so I'm getting in his ear.