It's not easy, according to four-star offensive lineman Brent Benedict of Jacksonville, Fla.
"It's definitely a process, and that's why I'm trying to look around at the schools and kind of familiarize myself with them," Benedict told BuckeyeSports.com. "I have a standard list of criteria: academics, athletics, all that kind of stuff. I'm in a private school right now, so I'm looking for somewhere I can graduate from with a pretty prestigious degree and something that I can go out and use to start a career. You're being recruited to be a student-athlete, so that's all part of it.
"But football is also going to be a big deal in this decision – the coaches at the programs and the conference and all that kind of stuff. I guess I'm still trying to get around to look at schools and get a better idea for what each area of the country is all about and what each place is really all about."
Benedict has already undertaken some trips to check out some top schools like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, and another one is in the works to see schools across the Midwest including Michigan and Notre Dame.
That summer trip for a family reunion could also bring the 6-6, 290-pounder to Columbus and Ohio State, who recently offered him a scholarship – his 42nd – and sent offensive line coach Jim Bollman to The Bolles School in Jacksonville to check in.
"I've done some research since they offered me and kind of looked into everything," Benedict said. "Hopefully I'll be able to make it across to Ohio State and be able to look around at the campus. I definitely feel that I owe them that for offering me a scholarship. I definitely want to get up there and see what they have because I'm not familiar with them at this point."
Benedict said he hadn't been receiving much information from Ohio State before mail started to pick up a few weeks ago. Then came the offer via a telephone call, something that appears to have at least made an impact in his thinking.
"It's very exciting," he said. "Obviously Ohio State is one of the best programs in the nation, and there's no way you can overlook Ohio State. It's a very respectable program, very big time, and I've always been impressed with what they've done up there in every aspect of the game. I know Ohio State is a great academic school as well."
Benedict is no stranger to the Midwest, stating that he has family in Pennsylvania and Indiana and he has a friend whose father graduated from Ohio State.
For Benedict, the nation's No. 13 offensive tackle, the next steps include continuing to sift through the schools on his list while planning any upcoming trips that will help him get to the point that he can cut his list.
"I guess I don't really have any list at this point," he said. "I'm still pretty early in this whole process with signing day being next February. I'm still wide open as far as that goes. I want to get around and maybe look at some more schools before I make any decisions as far as making a top 10 or anything like that. There's really so many great schools that it's going to be hard to do that. It's only fair to myself and my family and the programs that I get around and at least look at a few more."
Though Benedict's phone is ringing off the hook and coaches from around the country have stopped by, he has continued to maintain that he's enjoying the process so far.
"It's really been a great experience," he said. "Not everybody gets to go through this at all, that's for sure. There's a lot of phone calls and a lot of people to talk to and all that kind of stuff, but I feel it's really been a great experience and I've really enjoyed it. I think of it in a positive way. It's definitely a great opportunity. I think I'm very fortunate and very blessed to be in this position."