Spence sorting out early options

Chicago De La Salle product Shelby Spence has racked up plenty of interest, and he isn't officially a junior yet. The talented dual-threat quarterback remains very interested in Northwestern, among others, and is sorting out his early options.

There is one overriding principle guiding the early stages of Shelby Spence's recruitment: finding a school that best bridges the gap between academic prestige and great football. He attended a spring practice at Northwestern and enjoyed his experience on campus. Nearly five months later, Spence has kept in touch with coach Adam Cushing and maintains that he still holds NU in high regard.

"I'm very interested in Northwestern," Spence said. "It has great academics, a great football program and dedicated coaches."

It's a description that fits Spence's ideal portrait of an academically rigorous program with a competitive football environment. Yet the 2014 quarterback from De La Salle (IL) high school has made no indication of where his preferences lie. After an impressive sophomore season, including a four-touchdown, 270-yard performance against St. Ignatius, Spence is rapidly emerging as one of the state's top qb prospects. And multiple powerhouse BCS programs—from Florida State, to Wisconsin to Ohio State—are taking notice.

While a decision remains far-off, Spence has already taken several visits, including Notre Dame, Florida State and Wisconsin. Earlier this summer, he intended to meet coach Pat Fitzgerald and several other recruits at a barbeque, but couldn't attend because of a team work-out.

It's unclear where NU ranks among Spence's long list of suitors, but he did offer a nugget of encouragement for those hoping to see Spence—a hyper-explosive, multitalented dual-threat signal-caller—take his talents to Evanston. It's unlikely he will make it back on campus this summer, but Spence plans on returning for a game in the fall.

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