Ray Hamilton saw Ken O'Keefe walk through the halls of his Strongsville (Ohio) High School plenty of times. This time, it would be different.
After recruiting players from the program through the years, Iowa's offensive coordinator specifically was there for Hamilton Thursday. O'Keefe had something for the 2011 tight end.
"He told me he was there because he wanted to build a relationship with me," Hamilton said. "He said he was offering me a scholarship. I was pretty excited."
Scout.com rates Hamilton as a three-star prospect on its five-star scale. In addition to Iowa, he holds offers from Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Indiana, Akron, Stanford, Wisconsin, Boston College, Colorado and West Virginia.
"I really like how they use the tight end at Iowa," the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Hamilton said. "That's the system I'm looking to play in. Coach O'Keefe told me that every starting tight end that he's had in his 12 years (at Iowa) made it to the NFL.
"When you can produce a guy like Dallas Clark, that's impressive. They get the most production possible out of the tight end, and they're becoming a power house. Coach (Kirk) Ferentz produces."
Hamilton told O'Keefe that he'll come out for a visit sometime in February. The offensive coordinator preferred that it wasn't on a junior day.
"He told me that he wanted to give me his full attention and have me meet with the coaching staff and sit down with him and concentrate on my recruitment," Hamilton said. "I thought that was pretty cool."
Hamilton said his game is defined by his physical play. He also considers himself a good athlete, who played quarterback in a wildcat offensive formation for Strongsville last season.
"I feel like I'm physical enough that we can line up behind me and run the ball," he said. "And then, I feel like I can catch it and make plays. I started playing on varsity as a freshman. I feel like I'm a good leader and do whatever it takes to help my team win."
Hamilton led the Strongsville basketball team in scoring last season, but decided to sit out this winter so he could visit colleges recruiting him as a football player. During the season, he watched Iowa play at Ohio State and also saw games at Notre Dame and Michigan. He traveled to Alabama last summer.
"I definitely want to take a lot of visits and go to some junior days," Hamilton said. "I want to start getting my list down to the five schools I'll take official visits to sometime this summer. Then, we'll go from there."
Hamilton said he has received a lot of mail from SEC and Big Ten schools, so more offers could be on the way.
Hamilton has attended West Virginia football games throughout his life. His father, Tom Hamilton, played for the Mountaineers.
"That won't be a factor in my decision," Ray said. "We've talked about it, and he wants me to go out and see what's out there. So, I'm open to everybody."