For Kasen Williams, a class-of-2011 receiver from Skyline High in Issaquah, Wash., that time is now.
One of the best football players in the country in the sophomore class, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Williams already holds verbal scholarship offers from Washington, UCLA, Boise State and Stanford.
"I was talking to my Dad the other day. and he said he wasn't thinking about college until his senior or junior year." Williams laughed. His father Aaron Williams played receiver at Washington and help the Huskies advance to the Rose Bowl in 1982. "And for me, me being my sophomore year, and I already have four offers is amazing."
Williams showed why he has four offers at the U.S. Army National Combine last Friday in San Antonio. Normally an event that showcases the nation's top juniors, Williams proved he was one of the best players in attendance.
"They definitely like my size and my hands the most," Williams said of what college recruiters are telling him.
In helping Skyline win its second straight state championship, Williams caught 59 passes for 739 yards and 13 touchdowns. He is the favorite target for perhaps the nation's best quarterback in the class-of-2010, Jake Heaps.
"I think if I wasn't playing with Jake, I wouldn't be where I am now," Williams said. "That definitely makes it easier for a receiver, but you still have to come up with the catch and run good routes."
Heaps holds a Notre Dame scholarship offer, and has the Irish among his early favorites. Williams would like to hear from Notre Dame as well.
"They're definitely a school I'd be interested in," Williams said. "There's been a lot of good things that have happened there, and I just want to be a part of it."
Williams has camped at UCLA, and of course visited Washington. Other than that, he hasn't seen any other schools, and isn't sure where he'd be visiting in the future. But since he's thinking about college, Williams already knows what he'll be looking for in a school.
"My sister went through the process two years ago," Williams said. She will play soccer at Arizona State. "She was looking at who was at the school now, what type of coaches and what the surroundings are, and I think that's what I'm going to be trying to do as well."