For Plant quarterback Phillip Ely, a scholarship offer from LSU stands out – even in a list of 24 schools that grows more crowded as each college coach passes through his head football coach's office in Tampa, Fla.
"It came as a big shock," said the 6-foot-1, 186-pound rising senior. "The offer is definitely huge. Of the scholarships I have so far, it's up there at the top."
Without a quarterback commitment on board for 2011, LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton found someone he could groom in Ely.
"Coach Crowton said that he had never seen my tape until recently, but he felt like I was someone that could fit in over there," Ely said. "He was saying that the quarterback situation would be really good for me.
"He came and watched some practices, and then he called up (Plant) coach (Robert) Weiner and told him that LSU wanted to offer."
Red-hot on the camp circuit over the spring evaluation period, Ely's offer list has seen a bump unmatched by any passer in the southeast.
The next step: taking trips outside of the Sunshine State.
"My parents and coach just finished sitting down and going over all of that, and I have a couple of places now in mind," Ely said. "LSU is definitely in there. I'm going to make a summer visit. It won't be to camp, but more to just drop in and look around.
"On these visits I'm going to just be looking for the feel. If I get a good feel for a school, then I'll know that's where I need to be. It's something I have to get out and see, though."
While wide receivers and linemen often have the luxury of waiting their recruitment out until National Signing Day, quarterbacks like Ely know that – in a recruiting world where college coaches offer quarterback scholarships on a first come, first serve basis – time is not always on their side.
And to avoid any distraction as Ely tries to guide his Panther teammates to a Florida state championship, the three-star signal caller will shut his process down around the same time most high-profile prospects are gearing up for official visits.
"I would like to go ahead and commit sometime before my season," he said. "I'll probably do it at some point this summer after I take some campus trips."
Quarterbacking Plant High on Saturday, Ely captured a 7-on-7 title with a 7-1 record at the University of Central Florida's team tournament, showing much of the same talent that carried former Plant quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Robert Marve to scholarships at Georgia and Miami, respectively.
"That was a blast," Ely said. "I get excited about every chance I have to get out there and show what I can do."