Palardy still pondering

With its offer to Florida kicker Michael Palardy, Northwestern is up against the likes of LSU, Alabama, Miami, Tennessee and a handful of other Blue Blood programs that have already offered. Nonetheless, Palardy told Purple Reign that he has far from ruled out the Wildcats, who he says have a wildcard that some others schools don't.

The map is big. Stretches from coach to coast, in fact.

At the moment, it extends west to Stanford, south to Miami, north to Minnesota, east to N.C. State. And scattered in between are Alabama, LSU, even some interest from USC.

As for Northwestern's place on Michael Palardy's nationwide atlas of offers?

"They're still on the map," Palardy said.

Palardy, a class of 2010 kicker from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has garnered interest from every region of the country. But in an interview with Purple Reign, Palardy said that Northwestern remained a contender among the traditional powers.

Here are some excerpts from PR's interview with Palardy:

On whether or not the dozen-plus schools to have offered scholarships have been whittled at all this summer...

Everybody is still kind of in play. I haven't really sat down and thought about it yet. In the next few weeks I'm going to do that and evaluate them all and make a list of all the pros and cons. I think in a few weeks I'm going to make a top five.

On how the selection process will proceed as the summer wears on and Palardy's senior season begins...

Obviously I have five official visits, and once I make my top five I'll plan on visiting those schools. I'm going to compare my football schedule to (those schools') football schedules.

I may not have to make a lot of those visits. If I make one or two and I know this is where I want to go, then I will make a decision. But I'm thinking toward the middle of the season or before I should make a decision.

On how the recruiting process has been both exciting and a bit draining...

Once I make my decision, it's decision that's going to affect the rest of my like. It's something that I've put a lot of thought into. But I'm enjoying it. Not many people get the chance to wake up and know that there are 12 or 13 schools that want you to go there for free. At the same time, I'm having a blast. I am a real friendly person. I love when people call me and ask about what I'm thinking. When people are interested in what I'm doing, it motivates me and makes me work harder. I'm enjoying it even though it's a little bit stressful....

On the weighing the pros and cons of various schools...

I mean, for the most part a lot of kids make decisions based on just football, and just athletics. For me, personally, academics is first out of everything; academics is my main priority. If I don't make it to the next level, the NFL, what is the school that's going to help me get that job after college? Where am I going to get the best education? Academics is huge.

On what Northwestern has that distinguishes it from other schools...

You can take any football team and build them to be national champions. You can go get recruits and build teams to win titles. But you can't just build an academic reputation of Stanford and Duke and Northwestern. You can't find that everywhere. (Northwestern is) one of the standouts academically. So it's a tough decision, and I'm definitely going to just think about everything and see what's the best fit for me.

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