Sheil looking to close the door

For one of the best tackles in the country, recruiting is broken down to a pretty simple philosophy; you are either out the door, inside the door or standing in the door's way. The second is ideal for any school that wants the services for Pat Sheil. The other two, not so much. And Sheil is actually trying to close that door, keeping all contenders in and pretenders on the other side. We caught up with him to see just where that door is now.

There's 15 offers in writing on the table for Pat Sheil. That might not seem like a lot for one of the top tackles in the country, but for Sheil, it's plenty. It's enough from the kind of schools that he's got plenty to think about as he tries to narrow his list. "It's a challenge to narrow what I have down, so it's not like I am sitting here wishing I had fifty offers." Pat said. "I'm just looking at the ones I have and figuring out who's in and who's out.

In and out means that door I eluded to before hand, some teams already in and some teams already out. There are a couple of teams that Sheil knows are standing in the doorway though, not real sure as to whether they are going to make his final list or not. "Maryland and Syracuse, they are like part in and out." he said. "They're not totally out, but it's getting pretty close."

As for the teams that are "in" at least for the time being are Virginia Tech, Virginia, Boston College, Oklahoma, Miami and Nebraska.

That's quite a bit different than a month or two ago as Sheil had distance factored in heavily to his overall list. After his conversation with his parents however, teams like Nebraska and Oklahoma that wouldn't have normally came into the picture are now looming large. It's that talk that Sheil said put a few teams in there that if distance wasn't factor for his parents, they wouldn't be a factor for him as well. "There's a few schools out there that you go to no matter where they are at." he said. "For a Nebraska, you'll go a long ways, for Oklahoma, you'll go a long ways, for Miami, you'll go a long ways. Those are the types of schools that made it in because they are just big-time."

Not so big time that it doesn't keep a school like Virginia or Boston College from making a profound effect. Their proximity doesn't hurt either, because while Sheil has said that distance isn't a major issue anymore, it's still somewhat of an issue to him. "For those schools I mentioned, you'd be willing to travel, but they are still a long ways from me." Pat said. "B.C. is recruiting me hard and Virginia sends stuff like every single day, so there's options pretty close to."

You can add Georgia also to that list of those that are inside the hinges so to speak and Pat said that there could be a few others thrown in as well. So, the door is closing, but while Sheil said he would like to shut it for good-getting down to his top five, this one might not be completely closed until well into the season. "It's hard to say how it's going to work out." Sheil stated of narrowing his list. "We are going to sit down as a family and look at it and see who's in and out. But, other teams might come in that aren't there right now, so to say how my final five is going to look right now, it's just impossible to say."

Pat also did concede that while 15 offers is more than enough to look at, he's not going to argue with a few more. And for this 6'6"-280 pound lineman that is being recruited for both sides of the trenches, that's probably a fairly likely scenario.

Some coaches might actually scoff at the likelihood of this actually being open, most probably figuring that it's already closed but everyone can see in. And what they are seeing is one team, that being Virginia as the lone team standing inside. Sheil said that regardless of the immense success Virginia has had thus far in garnering commitments by the minute it would seem and their very persistent recruiting, they aren't a "lock" for him. "I'm not looking at things like that." he said. "I don't look at what everyone else has in respect to beating Virginia. I am trying to put them all down as equal, look at what they have to offer, the attention they are showing me and just going from there. Virginia is up there because they are easily showing me the most attention, but they aren't the only team that's shown they are interested in me."

"That means I have choices and maybe I'll have more. It's just hard to tell right now."

It reminds me of an old joke I once heard where part of it goes - "Everyone who's getting on the bus get on, everyone who's getting off the bus get off". It's a barroom joke, so I won't tell it verbatim and I will forego the punch-line, but the message seems quite clear. If you want inside the door, you better get in line and probably it had better be soon. That door, she be a closing and it's almost standing room only right now.

I wonder though that once the door is closed, who actually gets to sit down and who's just walking through to the door on the other side?

Stay tuned to find out.

Steve Ryan can be reached at or 402-730-5619

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