Michael Reardon's popularity soaring

The defensive ends are getting bigger, faster, stronger……well, you get the point. As the years progress, the athleticism with the "average" athlete seems to be taking on barriers and squashing them as far as what is expected of someone a certain size. Defensive end Michael Reardon fits the mold of the future rush end, standing 6-6 and weighing even now, over 250 pounds. He's ideal. So, the big question is, do the Huskers have a shot at this "ideal" defensive end?

For a kid whose workouts are part of his life and football is the other part, you might find it surprising that academics is all of that and more. With a 3.9 GPA, there's little doubt what Lutheran high school (Orange, CA) defensive end Michael Reardon finds important. "Academics is very important to me, and honestly, it's probably my biggest priority right now when looking at a college," he said.

"Football is there, but what you learn at that college is something you will need when there isn't football anymore."

That's common sense talking there, something that isn't totally lacking in many of the top-tier prep athletes around the country, but it doesn't stand as high on their list of priorities as it should. Often the dreams of football in college and even in the NFL cloud their judgment as to the hear and now.

Not Reardon. His perspective is based totally on what is and not what might be. "I worked very hard in high school to get the grades I got, but it's for a reason," he said. "I know how important an education is, because it doesn't matter how good you are, football can be over in a second."

"You have to be prepared for that, and I know I will be."

With the education as a priority, the offer from Stanford obviously must look pretty attractive to the native Californian. While they don't have the reputation as a football power, their academic prowess speaks for itself. Reardon doesn't deny it, he embraces it, because he knows what The Cardinal has to offer. "They are real high on my list right now, I can say that," Michael said. "Their campus is just huge, the academics are what they are, and it seems like a great place to be."

"If that was where I ended up going, it would be hard to complain. It's just one of the best institutions out there."

Ok, Stanford is a favorite. That seems to be established. But just as quickly as Reardon tells you how much he likes The Cardinal, there's another team that isn't necessarily down on the list. Growing up in the area, having visited their numerous times – it's a place and atmosphere he knows well.

It doesn't hurt that they just missed out on winning their third national title in a row.

Now, they just have to offer

"I've always liked USC and I am really familiar with them," Reardon said. "I've been to junior days there and have seen it plenty of times. I know if they offered, yeah, there's no doubt they would move up real high on my list."

At one point there seemed to be a genuine interest in Nebraska. Knowledgeable of the tradition at Nebraska, Reardon seemed to have some affection for the Huskers early on. While there are certainly some other teams, which seem to be the teams to beat, Reardon said that Nebraska was definitely not on the outside looking in. "At this point, I am still planning on taking an official visit there," he said. "I get along really well with coach Busch (Safeties coach, Bill Busch) and it's a program that kind of speaks for itself."

The visits are key, of course. While Nebraska has recently gotten a commit from a young man, who has never even been to Nebraska, the majority of kids aren't committing to places they haven't seen. That's good and bad for some schools, Stanford getting huge marks, while UCLA didn't quite hit the spot. "UCLA is a great school with a great tradition, but it just really didn't feel like it was a place for me," he said. "I know there's so much to like about them, but you just want to get that feeling and I really didn't get it there."

For a young man who prides himself on his academics, he also takes some pride in his approach to this recruiting process. He's sitting on 11 offers right now and he's going to investigate every single one. Not by visits, mind you, but with the internet and the vast information available, there's lots to learn without leaving the house.

The visits are the key, though, and only those will let Michael know just how he feels about a particular school.

"You want to see it for yourself, meet the coaches in person and see some games too," Michael said. "I haven't set up any official visits, but for Nebraska, I am thinking of heading down there when they play Texas."

"You want to see what a place is like in that kind of atmosphere and how a team plays. You can learn a lot."

With Reardon's popularity soaring, he'll no doubt be adding to his current list of offers. In fact, Michael said that he wouldn't be surprised if the Irish come out with an offer soon. That's going to be a theme, but Reardon won't succumb to the pressure, and he's determined to stick this one out until all of his official visits are taken, and he is satisfied that he's exhausted every avenue of information he can.

Then, whenever "then" is, he'll make that inevitable plunge. "You have to take your time with something like this, you can't make decisions on emotion," he said. "I'll look at everything that I need to and make a decision when I feel completely comfortable with the research I've done and the visits I've made."

"I'm in no hurry," Michael continued. "You can't hurry something like this. This affects the rest of your life."

As a junior, Reardon had eight sacks and almost 80 tackles

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