WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Over 30 schools have offered Mychale Salahuddin a scholarship. Shortly, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound running back is looking to focus on a third of those opportunities.
"I'm just trying to figure out which school is going to provide the best opportunity after football," Salahuddin said. "I'll probably drop a top 10 right soon, just to clear the air and focus on those ten schools that I'm really interested in."
That focus will consist of trips to all ten within the coming months, even if Salahuddin (pronounced Michael sa-LA-who-dean) has already visited the school. The only visit the HD Woodson product has scheduled is a June, cross-country trip to Southern Cal, which has already earned a berth on his top 10.
"After my top 10, I want to figure out what schools I want to narrow down to my top five," Salahuddin said. "After I drop my top five, I'll probably mess around and commit right before the season."
In addition to USC, Salahuddin said UNC is a lock to make his initial list of 10.
"It's just the fact that [UNC] is in the process of rebuilding," Salahuddin said. "It's a process where everything looks to be going in the right direction. They send a lot of guys to the [National Football] League. Coach [DeAndre] Smith [and] Coach JP [John Papuchis], I have strong connections with them; every time we have interactions, everything is just real."
Although they aren't locks like UNC and USC, Salahuddin says Arkansas, Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska, and Oklahoma are strong candidates to also make his top 10.
Salahuddin has visited UNC twice already this offseason. Since UNC has secured a spot on his top 10, he has begun to work on a third trip to Chapel Hill. He remains in the preliminary stages, but hopes to have that return scheduled within the next couple of weeks. Additionally, he figures to at least make a cameo at Fedora's Freak Show.
Besides UNC, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio State, Syracuse, and Tennessee are among Salahuddin's prior visits. Most of those trips were a part of one of Perfect Performance's bus tours.
During Perfect Performance's mid-March bus tour, Salahuddin made his first visit to UNC. A couple of weeks later, he returned to the school with his coaches for a junior day.
"I love UNC," Salahuddin said. "It's a school that's in the process of rebuilding. I could really come in and be the centerpiece of their rebuilding process."
Since UNC offered in late February, Papuchis, who recruits the DMV for UNC, and Smith, the Heels' running backs coach, have teamed up to recruit Salahuddin.
"Their pitch is they need a big-time running back to come to Carolina," Salahuddin said. "They're really trying to change it into a football powerhouse. And the guys at HD Woodson that we have up here, they could really come up there to make a difference."
Like many UNC fans, Salahuddin will spend the latter portion of this week watching where former Tar Heel 'backs Elijah Hood and T.J. Logan are drafted.
"How [Hood and Logan] were used at Carolina is a system that I could see myself in," Salahuddin said. "Logan was more of an all-purpose back and that would be my role if I go to UNC."
As a junior, Salahuddin averaged nearly 10 yards a carry (107 rushes for 1,060 yards and 10 touchdowns). He also caught eight passes for 107 yards.
If possible, Salahuddin's stock could receive a bump from Sunday's performance at the Nike Opening D.C. Regional. His showing not only earned him the RB MVP, but also an invitation to the Opening Finals.
"I tried to give them my all," Salahuddin said. "I tried to show my overall play-making ability going at running back at the cat and mouse drills; going at receiver at the slot position in one-on-ones against the DBs; and I even played a little safety. I really wanted to make a statement for my city and for my school.
"I'm really looking forward to this opportunity [to preform at the Opening]. It's an opportunity that we don't get a lot."