'Hit Man' Narrows it Down To Four

The recruitment of Plantation safety Vlad Emilien appears to be drawing to a close. Emilien has narrowed his list down to four schools and will be making his decision in late November. Which four schools are still in the running to land Emilien? Bill Greene has the latest on this star athlete.

Plantation star safety Vlad Emilien has narrowed his college choice to a final list of four schools. Emilien visited Wisconsin and Michigan in the past two weekends, and admitted both schools were equally impressive.

"I visited Wisconsin two weeks ago, and I had a great time there," Emilien explained. "They have a beautiful campus, and I was impressed with the players at Wisconsin. They were well-mannered, and they felt like brothers to me. Coach [Charles] Partridge is from my high school, and he showed me all around the campus, and we talked about what it could be like moving up north. He said once you get used to cold weather it kind of grows on you. I like the head coach [Bret Bielema] a lot, and he told me how much he wanted me at Wisconsin. I could see myself playing at Wisconsin."

"I was at Michigan last weekend, and that was a great visit, too," he stated. "Even though Michigan isn't having a good year I was still impressed with what they have to offer. I spent some time with [head coach] Rich Rodriguez and we hit it off real well. It was similar to Wisconsin, but they are in the process of upgrading the facilities. I can relate real well to their entire coaching staff. Coach Rodriguez was kind of down after the loss, but he's the head coach, and he should feel down after a loss. He told me he didn't expect to be losing next year, and he and I have a good relationship. I have to say that he is the coolest coach of all the coaches I've met in recruiting. He said every school has down years, but he's convinced he's going to turn the program around next year. I think I have an opportunity to play early at Michigan."

Emilien has also scheduled a visit to Stanford, and he admits the school's academic reputation is is quite appealing to him.

"I will be visiting Stanford on November 15th," he said. "Stanford is a great school, and they're a program that's going to get better. I love their academic program, and I feel that school can definitely prepare me for life in the business world. The football is getting better, and a Stanford degree is something my whole family would be proud of. I'm looking forward to getting out there and checking them out."

Ohio State has been a school that has been hit or miss with Emilien since last spring. Emilien visited Ohio State unofficially for the spring game, and at one time had the Buckeyes as his clear leader. As Ohio State picked up several defensive back commitments, it appeared the Buckeyes had cooled on Emilien, and the relationship began to deteriorate. Defensive back coach Paul Haynes visited Emilien at the high school Monday, and it appears the Buckeyes are now back in the picture.

"Yes, Ohio State is back in the picture, and they are one of my final four along with Wisconsin, Michigan and Stanford," Emilien admitted. "Coach Haynes continually told me how much they wanted me, and how they offered me right from the beginning. He said it was a business, and Ohio State was caught in a numbers game. I know one of their other defensive back recruits got in trouble, and now they are back interested in me. Ohio State did put me on the "B" list, but they are back in on me now, and I've got to get over it. They did give me the cold shoulder throughout the summer, but at the same time I do have a lot of interest in Ohio State. Coach Haynes and I had a great relationship at one time, and right now it isn't what it was a few months ago, but I can still see him as my position coach. I'm going to visit Ohio State on November 22nd for the Michigan game. After I return home to Florida the next day I will announce my decision. I plan on enrolling early and I will be graduating on January 15th."

Emilien suffered a knee injury last summer, and missed his senior season of football following surgery. He is involved in rehabilitation, and reports that everything is proceeding according to plan.

"I'm doing great with my rehab right now," Emilien stressed. "I'm running full speed right now, and I'm doing some cutting. I'm told I will be 100% in the spring, so I plan on getting on the field and going through spring practice at the school I choose. Recruiting has gone so great for me, and I thank God that all these teams have stuck with me after my surgery. I feel so blessed to have met so many great people, and I know I have a tough decision to make."

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