SAM YOUNG: It's down to just seven, now!

After sitting down with his family and head football coach, Sam Young, one of the nation's elite offensive tackles, has narrowed his choices down to seven schools. Check out what impressive colleges remain in the hunt to sign this coveted student/athlete.

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FORT LAUDERDALE - When they began this recruiting process after his junior season had ended, Sam Young and his family vowed that everything associated with it would be handled in a first class manner.

Last Friday, Young sent 16 letters to college coaches across the country, thanking them for taking the time to recruit him, and for making him feel special during one of the most important times of his life.

Young felt that it would only be fair that those colleges he sent the letters to had the opportunity to recruit another offensive tackle during the remainder of the summer and into the season.

That is the type of young man you are dealing with here. He wants to make sure that the entire process has been thought out - from start to finish!

On Tuesday night, after sitting down with his parents, and listening to every word his St. Thomas Aquinas head coach, George Smith, had to say, Young narrowed his college choices down to seven schools. Those seven will be trimmed to five before the start of the season in late August, and then around Christmas, he will make his final decision, giving the other colleges over a month to head in another direction to offer another offensive lineman in his place.

"Any time you make a decision like this, you have to think everything out," said the 6-6.5, 295-pound Young. "You never want to hurt anyone's feelings, but at the same time, you have to also look out what's best for yourself and your future.""

Young, rated as the No. 3 prospect in the state by, heading into the summer, is considered to be one of the nation's elite left offensive tackles. His play on the field, hard work and dedication to getting better and coming up with outstanding grades in the classroom have made him a "must get" for colleges from California to Florida and throughout the midwest and northeast.

"I had tremendous trips to Stanford and the University of Southern California," Young pointed out. "Those are two quality programs that represent academics and football tradition. They were impressive."

While Stanford and the two-time defending national champion Trojans are high on his list, Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State are also schools he could see himself attending.

"The tradition, on and off the football field, speaks for itself at Notre Dame," Young said. "Michigan is always at the top as a football program and as an academic institution, and Penn State with Coach (Joe) Paterno is starting to emerge once again, recruiting some great football players as well."

As for the final two on Young's list, the University of Miami and the University of Florida, you could tell that these two programs, both close to his South Florida home, carry something special in his heart. He knows athletes and students who attend both, and is impressed at the direction of both schools.

"I am so grateful for this tremendous experience," said Young. "If it hadn't been for Coach Smith paving the way the past few years, I don't know where this family would be. People just don't understand what a tremendous influence he is on everyone who has ever played for him."

Young is spending the remainder of the summer working out and adding to his already impressive frame.

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