Feedback from college coaches has been positive for Will Putnam since the end of the season.
Offers have flowed in to the sophomore offensive lineman from Chatham, Ill., from all different parts of the country. Hauling in scholarships is the surest sign that coaches are impressed with what they’ve seen on film then during visits.
“They all love my film,” Putnam said. “They like how I play. When they look at me most of them see me play on the interior of the offensive line, guard or center, with the exception of Illinois looking at me for defense. They’re looking at me for offense too. But all the coaches really like my film, what they see there and when they see me in person they like that too.”
Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, LSU, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and UCLA are among the programs to already offer.
Among the programs that haven’t offered, Putnam might know Notre Dame best. He visited last summer for Irish Invasion, working out for offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, and has attended a game as well.
“A lot of the communication I’ve had with them as been through my coach,” Putnam said. “I’ve been to Notre Dame before, went to Irish Invasion. Really liked coach Hiestand and what he had to say. It’s just a great school and it’s not too far away for us to get there a couple times. It’s great to get up there.”
Putnam plans to return to South Bend on April 2 for another visit.
Could the Irish be on the verge of an offer?
“I think so,” Putnam said. “I’ve been up there for camp, been up there for a game. I know they’re a little bit slower in their recruiting process than a lot of schools around. I think I kinda fit them as a player. We’ll see.”
Getting back to Notre Dame is part of a broader spring tour for the 6-foot-4, 267-pound prospect.
LSU gets a visit this weekend. Putnam plans to see Pittsburgh and Penn State next week. Ohio State gets a visit April 1 and Nebraska will get a look later that month. Most of those trips will be first looks at potential contenders.
Putnam wants to use these spring visits as a launch pad for future decisions.
“I wanna just really meet with all the coaches and talk with all the coaches,” Putnam said. “When I’m done with all these visits and maybe around this time next year I’ll already have a base to work from. I can remember, ‘Hey, I like this coach or I didn’t like that coach.’ Next year when time sorta starts ticking on the clock, I’ll already have a base with certain coaches.”
Building up those relationships with coaches is one of the key points to Putnam early in the recruiting process.
“Most of it is even more than having something to see,” Putnam said. “It’s what you hear. My biggest thing going to these is meeting the coaches, talking to coaches, trying to feel them out a little bit and how they coach and their personalities. How they interact with the players. Most of these schools that I’m talking to, they all have really great facilities.”