"The deciding factor is my family," Prater told PurpleWildcats.com. "I feel comfortable about the decision and it's going to be ok. This decision is solely based off family."
Prater, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound target, is looking to attend a school closer to his home of Hillside, Ill. He has identified Northwestern, Illinois, and Wisconsin as targets, but the Wildcats currently sit in the driver's seat.
The former Proviso West standout developed a strong bond with Northwestern coaches—specifically head coach Pat Fitzgerald—while he was being recruited out of high school.
"Coach Fitz is a really great guy and he's one of the best coaches in the Big Ten," Prater said.
"He's a great guy, he's a competitor. I love his energy He's a player's coaches and what player wouldn't want to play for that."
Prater is currently still in Los Angeles, and is preparing to return back to the Chicago-area next week. He has not been able to meet with any college coaches yet, but his family received a visit recently from Fitzgerald and NU offensive coordinator Mick McCall.
With Prater returning home next week, he has set just one college visit. He will see Northwestern on January 28th for an official visit. Prater is unsure whether he will make any additional visits.
"I can either be a one-and-done (with visits) or take more," he said. "I just don't know."
During his senior season at Proviso West, Prater posted 64 catches for more than 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was ranked Scout's No. 1 prospect in the state of Illinois for the 2010 recruiting class, and was the second-ranked receiver in the nation.
Prater redshirted during his freshman year after battling through injuries. He was seldom used in 2011, playing in 10 games and accumulating just one catch.
NCAA transfer rules would force Prater to be sidelined for the 2012 season, making him eligible to play in 2013. Prater has not thought about what his on-field role could entail, nor is he interested.
"From my standpoint," he said. "I'll do whatever is asked of me."