At the collegiate level you see a lot more specialization, many of these tight ends brought in for specific down and distances, giving the offense much less flexibility in what they can do on a given play.
Desert Vista ( Phoenix , AZ ) tight end Steven Figueroa won't be that kind of player, because his pride in what he does stems from believing he's one of those who can do it all. "For me, I think that if you are going to be a tight end, you have to be looked at as someone that can perform with your hand down and in running routes," he said. "I like to think of myself as that kind of tight end – someone that can be just as effective close to the line or split out wide."
Recruiting started off a bit slow for the Arizona prep star, but since late March, it's taken a marked turn for the better. Starting off with an offer from UNLV, Figueroa has added offers from Arizona State , Oregon State, Utah , San Diego State and Nebraska . The added attention, especially from places outside his home-state, has made Steven reevaluate some of his earlier criteria about just where he might go. "I was at first leaning toward staying close to home, but that was before all this attention outside of the state started coming in," he said. "I guess if I ended up going out of state, I would. If I did that, I wouldn't really care where it was at."
The offer from the Huskers was amongst the most recent he's gotten during this frenzied recruiting process. Figueroa said that he doesn't know a lot about Nebraska , except for one obvious thing. "It's football," he said of the Huskers. "It's a big time football state, and that's all they care about there. I don't know much about what they do or who they have, but when you hear Nebraska , that's what you think – football."
The luster is nice, but it's going to be familiarity which remains a big key for this standout tight end. And if he has his way about it, Steven said that his decision will be done before his final season begins. That means visits, the unofficial kind, and as many as he can take this summer. But as of right now, he's got two figured in. "I am going to head up and see San Diego State and I think we'll stop by UCLA too," he said. "We might take a trip just to check out USC too."
Steven couldn't say where Nebraska stood right now, though, he said that they were definitely in the recruiting picture. The key is the visit, and how that is the most important factor in deciding on where just a program sits. "I suppose I could end up waiting until sometime during my season to make my decision, but that's not what I am thinking right now. I'd like to have it done after the summer is over," he said. " Nebraska is a great program and I'll just have to see how everything goes."
Figueroa said that he would be attending a one-day camp at Arizona , where he is confident that he will get an offer, and is hoping for an offer after he unofficially visits UCLA.
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