If the intent of visiting college campuses unofficially in the spring and then attending a number of those same schools' camps in the summer was to make himself better known throughout the Midwest, then it's safe to say that the mission of Jason Forcier of St. Augustine High School in San Diego has been accomplished. He's admitted to having a lifelong interest in the Big Ten in general and the University of Michigan in particular.
"My dad's actually from Michigan. My dad moved out here after high school. He grew up in Birmingham, Michigan," said Forcier, who was born in San Diego. "I grew up a Michigan fan, but once recruiting comes around, you have to be prepared to change. You've got to be prepared to go to the place where you fit the most. But I grew up watching Big Ten football and I loved it. So I wanted to come back there. The Big Ten is a place that I would really like to play in. Almost all of the schools of the Big Ten would be great places to play for."
During his spring break, Forcier unofficially toured his first round of schools in the Midwest and even caught the Nike camp by chance at Ohio State, and then he came back in the summer for one-day camps at Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois and Notre Dame.
"Everything's going good right now," Forcier said. "Over the summer, I've picked up some offers from UCLA, Colorado, Illinois and Ball State. I feel that I'll end up in either the Big Ten or the Pac-10, but unless I find the school that I'm really interested soon that I'll pull the trigger with, which I haven't yet, then I'll wait to take my visits."
By his own acknowledgment at this time, Forcier is playing "second fiddle" to a lot of the schools that haven't offered him yet, but he anticipates that things will begin to change soon with the recent decision by Mark Sanchez and the pending one to be made by Rob Schoenhoft.
"Notre Dame, I think, recently offered Evan Sharpley and I think, most likely, he's going to go there," Forcier said. "With Sanchez going to ‘SC,' we're just waiting for Schoenhoft to make a decision between Michigan and Ohio State, and things should start to settle in. I'm kind of playing second-fiddle, if you want to say, to other guys right now, and so once they make their decisions, the other schools will then contact me to send a scholarship or whatever. But I think once they make their decision I could be in the mix for either Michigan or Ohio State."
And if he chooses to hold out and wait longer himself, Forcier is likely to add schools from the ACC and SEC to his list.
"I've been getting a lot of mail from the southern schools, and they told me that they want to watch some games first because now I'm in a new system, a passing system," said Forcier who has transferred from Mater Dei High School in Orange County to St. Augustine, a top-notch passing school in Southern California. "Everyone knew that I could run the ball real well and I have good arm strength, but they wanted to see if I can succeed in a passing system. So the system that I'm in now will greatly determine that and effect my possible choices."
At Mater Dei, a top perennial power in the nation, Forcier has posted respectable numbers while under center. In his junior campaign, Forcier passed for 1,370 yards and 12 touchdowns with seven interceptions and added over 800 yards with eight more TD's on the ground. After being a productive quarterback for two seasons at a top program, Forcier isn't exactly elated with being the second choice of some of these schools, but he's comfortable in using it to his advantage now.
"It's disappointing if you want to say that, but I'm not going to frown on it," he said. "I'm using it as more of a motivational tool, and I'm working out as hard as I can. I'm more of an unknown, I'm more underrated, and I think that I'm going to be the dark horse favorite. Whoever gets me, I'm going to work hard and do my best to win the starting job as soon as I can, and lead that team to success."
Compared to Mission Viejo's Sanchez, Forcier might not be as well-known nationally, but he thinks he's every bit the catch that the USC recruit is.
"I'm pretty good friends with Sanchez and I felt that he was always going to ‘SC.' He always talked about how much he liked them, so I think he kind of strung that along quite a bit, which is kind of frustrating because I pretty much knew where he was going to go," Forcier said. "He's a pro-style pocket passer; he's got good size and a good frame, and he has a good pocket presence. He'll stand in there and deliver the ball, which is good.
"Me, I'm a fast guy and I have the ability to take off and run a lot, but I can still make all of the throws I need to make. With all of the running that I did, and I was real successful at that, it kind of labeled me as a running quarterback, but that's not what I feel is accurate. I'll stay in the pocket, but if it breaks down, I'm not going to be afraid to go out and create something. My main goal is to move the chains and put up points. I'm not going to stay in the pocket if I don't have to and if I can find someone moving around, I will.
"So he's a good quarterback and I respect him, but I'm confident and I feel that I'm better than him."
And the 6-2, 205 Forcier, with 4.55 second speed in the 40-yard dash, is confident that he, like Sanchez, will eventually find himself at a top college as well, sooner or later.
"At first I wanted to make an early decision, but now I think I kind of want to hold out and wait," he said. "I kind of have mixed emotions because there are some schools that are putting pressure on me and I like them a lot, but at the same time I want to see if there are some schools that I still like that are interested in me who could be offering pretty soon. So I don't know. If I don't make a decision soon, I'm going to take my visits and try to find the school that fits best for me."
Obviously, Michigan and Ohio State are two of the schools that Forcier is putting things on hold for, at least until Schoenhoft makes his decision known.
"I'm very interested in what he decides because those are two schools I'm very interested in," he said. "Michigan is my childhood favorite, but at the same time, Ohio State's campus is awesome and their coaches are really good coaches, and I liked them a lot when I got a chance to work with them so that was a good thing. I guess that's his two choices, Michigan or Ohio State, and he can't go to both. So whichever one he doesn't go to and if they would offer me, I would be honored and that would be a good place to go to."
As if speaking to the OSU choir, figuratively, Forcier was more than complimentary of his thoughts about Ohio State.
"I like Ohio State a lot; it's big-time football, and I think their stadium is probably the most impressive stadium there is. I saw Tennessee's; I saw Michigan's; I saw Wisconsin's; I saw a bunch of stadiums, and that's my opinion. I think it's the most impressive," he said. "The campus itself looks like a very fine campus for campus life and student life. And it would be just an honor to play for Coach Tressel. He's a great coach and he's done a lot."
Joe Daniels is Forcier's contact with Ohio State.
"He told me I did a good job at the camp and he told me to keep in touch and he said, 'We're kind of waiting on the decisions by Sanchez and Schoenhoft; those are the quarterbacks that we've offered right now, and we're going to wait on those,' and he said for me to keep in touch once they make their decisions and we'll go from there."
Forcier appreciates the honesty and candor expressed to him by the Buckeye staff.
"It's very important, especially now since those guys are starting to make their decisions," he said. "And I'm going to try to get in touch with them as quickly as I can. Schoenhoft said he is going to make his decision at the Elite 11 camp, and probably the day after I'll give them a call."
However it eventually turns out, Forcier's treks through the Midwest have, in the very least, have been extremely beneficial in getting his name out there in the public.
"I haven't even been to Indiana or Penn State, and I started to get mail from them all of the sudden," he said. "Even from some of the MAC schools."
Right now his official offer list includes UTEP, Utah, Wisconsin, UCLA, Colorado, Illinois, Ball State and Wyoming.
"I'm still open, but I like some offers like UCLA, Utah - they're ranked 10th in the nation and their system fits me perfectly, Wisconsin - I like their system, and also Illinois - a Big Ten school," Forcier said. "My top priority now is to continue working hard, and I'm going to focus more on my team stuff now. I'm real anxious to get (the season) started. I've been real close to getting a championship, and I want to get a championship for these guys because they've been real close too the last two years.
"I'm almost certain in my new offense that I'll be passing probably for a couple of hundred yards each game and I know, once I do after a couple of games, that I'll have some offers coming in right a way. So maybe then I'll commit during the season and get it out of the way to focus on the playoffs."
Forcier, a 3.0 student with a 1080 on his SAT, should have a better idea of just how his future, and ultimately his fate, might look sometime this week.