The "Hit Man" is Ready To Name a Leader

Plantation [Fla.] safety Vlad Emilien has totally blown up in recruiting circles. Emilien has collected nearly 30 offers and has quietly turned himself into one of the top prospects in the south Florida area. Is Vlad making his decision soon? Bill Greene has more on Emilien.

Vlad "Hit Man" Emilien, Plantation [Fla.], has become a prime target for college recruiters in the past few months. Emilien now possesses nearly 30 offers, including Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan and Wisconsin. Emilien admits the recruiting process has been very satisfying to him.

"The entire recruiting process has been a lot of fun for me," Emilien admitted. "The best part is being to get to know so many great coaches. I hear from schools that I've only seen on television before and now they want me to come to their school to play. I have almost 30 offers, with the latest being Michigan State, Army and Iowa State. I will always remember the schools that offered me first though. They were with me from the beginning and I will show them the most attention."

Emilien is mature enough to understand he needs to keep all the recruiting hype in the proper perspective. He has not let all the recent attention change his approach to being a success.

"Every day I try to stay humble," he said. "I've gotten where I am by working hard and I will always remain that type of person. All the attention just makes me want to work even harder, to live up to people's expectations. I'm on a mission to succeed and I won't let outside things get in the way. I've seen that happen to people, but I won't let myself get big-headed and lose my focus. Somebody out there is training hard to get bigger, stronger and faster than me. I won't let anyone outwork me. Recruiting is fine but I've got to prepare for my senior season and get better. I don't have anything made yet at all."

Emilien has a timetable in place for making his decision on where to attend college. It's not a decision he is taking lightly.

"Really I'm looking at making a decision over the summer," Emilien admitted. "Part of me wants to make my decision now, to get it over with soon, but I know I'm not quite ready to do that right now. I feel that there are a lot of schools out there that I need to see more of. I'll be taking some unofficial visits to places like Florida, LSU and a lot of schools in the South. I'll also be going up north to see Ohio State again. I'd like to get up to Michigan and possibly Wisconsin, too. I won't be going to Michigan's camp but I'd like to visit them. I pretty much have all the offers I want, except for Georgia, so I need to narrow things down. I will make my decision this summer before my season starts."

Emilien has already visited Ohio State for their spring game and is planning a return visit to Columbus with his mom. He will also be joined by another Buckeye recruit, Jaamal Berry, who will be visiting for the second time also.

"My mom and I will be going up to Ohio State in a few weeks," he said. "I want her to see Ohio State and judge it for herself. Jaamal Berry and his mom will be coming with us. It should be in late June or early July. I will probably go to Ohio State after I see the other schools."

Emilien has spent a lot of time thinking about what is most important to him in choosing a school. He listed his top factors that will go into his decision-making process.

"I want to go to a school where I can play early," he stated. "I don't want to go somewhere and be stuck on the bench. I want to be comfortable with the coaching staff I'm going to be playing for. I have to live there and I want to be around people that care about me as a person, not just as a football player. I want to have a relationship with men that I feel comfortable going to their office and talking with them about my life. That might be the most important factor for me."

Not surprisingly, Emilien has already started bonding with several of the coaches that are recruiting him. He took the time to mention three coaches that he is impressed with.

"At USF, I have a bond with coach [Larry] Scott," Emilien said. "Coach Scott is a good man. He tells me he knows USF doesn't have the tradition of some of the bigger schools, but he told me he's a guy that will be there for me all the way. At Wisconsin, I like coach [Charles] Partridge a lot. He's real down to earth guy. He never talks down about any other schools. He's just very positive and he encourages me to do what's best for me. At Ohio State, I'm very close to coach [Paul] Haynes. We bonded during the spring game and we talk at least once a week. I can see myself playing for coach Haynes. He's very honest and he is someone I trust very much. He doesn't pressure me at all, but at the same time he lets me know how much they want me at Ohio State. I like a lot of other coaches, but those three really stick out to me."

Emilien admitted he is now listing one school as his leader. He's not ready to issue a verbal commitment, but he does have a definite favorite at this time.

"I'm ready to say Ohio State is my leader," he admitted. "They are recruiting me as a safety, but they also said I could slide over and play some corner. Coach [Jim] Tressel will be making his one call to me pretty soon. I was on a high at the Ohio State spring game, but now I can say it's even higher. They are the most honest of all the coaches that are recruiting me. I feel very comfortable talking with all of them. Ohio State is my leader and that's from my mouth. I don't have a top-five, but they are at the top right now. I just want to see other schools and be totally sure of my decision."

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