And they're off. The visits have finally begun for Tallahassee's Ryan Hill and business is about to pick up.
The 5-11, 185-pound senior from Rickards High School now has the makings of a tough decision on his shoulders. And why not – Hill is only the No. 4-ranked cornerback in the country by Scout.com.
Today, December 2, Hill begins the first of a series of college visits that will shape the rest of his life. He heads this evening to Columbus for his official visit of Ohio State.
It's the first time he's been to Columbus. He's anxious to see everything he's been hearing about from Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel over the past two months since Ohio State began recruiting him.
"I'm looking forward to learning more about the university and looking forward to meeting all of the coaches," Hill told Bucknuts.com on Thursday evening. "I've already met Coach (Paul) Haynes, Coach (Tim) Beckman and of course Coach Tressel.
"I want to know what they are hoping to accomplish the next four years and I'm anxious to see the university for myself," he added.
The surge by Ohio State over the last couple of months has only made things interesting as the hometown Miami Hurricanes have maintained a healthy lead for much of the recruiting process.
But Hill, the cousin of former Florida State Seminole Corey Fuller, has prioritized a list of which to operate with.
"I have a top five which are Miami which has a slight lead, but Ohio State and Miami are really about neck and neck now," Hill explained, "but it's Miami, Ohio State, Alabama, Tennessee and LSU."
The ‘Canes have been Hill's favorite for the better part of Hill's senior season. They will be the likely benefactors of Hill's final official visit in January.
After this weekend, Hill's second official visit will be to Alabama next weekend. Other than Ohio State, Alabama and Miami, Hill will also visit Clemson.
"I have a visit set up to Clemson, but they aren't going to be a factor," he noted.
The visit originally scheduled for USC later this month won't take place.
"I'm not going to go through with that as of now," Hill added.
The visits will tell the story for Hill, who claims he's not yet ready to make a decision. A couple of months ago, according to Hill, he may have made a knee-jerk reaction.
Now, however, he's taking his list seriously and wants to take everything in on the visits.
"What each school brings to the table is what will be important to me," he said of his trips. "What they have for me and what I see on my trips. It's where I'll be living and it's what is going to be important (in my decision)."
But what is it about the schools on his list in particular?
"It's easy since Miami is in state and right in my back yard but the rest, it's not like some mediocre teams or smaller teams we're talking about," Hill elaborated. "The bigger teams like Ohio State and Alabama, they will always be there. Those are the ones that I want to see. I know they compete with Miami for recruiting guys like me, and I want to see what they have to offer. That's why I haven't committed yet."
Hill, who called Ohio State a "real option", said the Buckeyes have begun to pique his interest over the last couple of weeks.
Ohio State began recruiting him about one and a half to two months ago he says, and he has learned a lot more about the program.
"I've talked to Coach Tressel specifically about three or four times," Hill said. "I'm starting to build a great relationship with him and I think it's something that's definitely needed."
Hill categorizes Miami and Ohio State as being by themselves, with Alabama close behind and then LSU and Tennessee.
When it's all said and done, however, his decision may rest on the next couple of months.
"I plan on taking my first visit to Ohio State, my visit to Miami and wherever and what I do after that, who knows," he said with some indecision, "but I want to see whatever there is to see on these visits."
Hill, who reports he has tentatively been fully qualified for the NCAA Clearinghouse, doesn't expect to reach a decision until close to signing day. He had 43 tackles this year for his high school team who went 2-8 for the season.
In addition, he had five blocked field goals, three forced fumbles, three interceptions and totaled eight touchdowns.