|School:||Strath Haven High School, Wallingford, PA|
It's not very often you see a prospect with 30 offers by the middle of May, especially from schools like Nebraska, Wisconsin, Miami, Purdue, Oklahoma, Lsu, Usc, South Carolina, Penn State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Syracuse, just to name a few. With a "who's who" of schools vying for your signature, it would be unfair to yourself not to check at least some out, which is why Dan Connor and his family recently embarked on a journey to the Midwest.
"For spring break we went to Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan. That was about three weeks ago," said Dan, who visited each school for the first time. "We flew to Michigan, then drove to Notre Dame, then drove to Ohio State and then flew back [to Philadelphia] from there."
Dan, who has also been to Syracuse and Penn State, thought the whole experience was great.
"They're all great schools. It was an unbelievable visit basically. We got to sit with all the coaches. It was a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, one day per school. It was me and my parents, so we just got to see all the campuses and meet all of the coaches, see all the facilities."
Will Dan be checking out any campuses this summer?
"Maybe Miami this summer, once I get some time from football and stuff. I'll be working two camps for younger kids around here and we're allowed to have two practices a week along with lifting and track," explained Dan.
With so much attention from major colleges across the nation, does he have a strong top five or does he vary his schools.
"The top five usually changes, but the core three are Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State. Four and five are probably Miami and maybe Tennessee right now."
With regards to those core three, what qualities do each school possess that makes Dan so interested in them?
"Notre Dame's tradition is unbelievable. I'm an Irish Catholic guy, so I'm brought up to love Notre Dame. We met with Coach Willingham and watched them practice. I really like the way he runs things and he seems like a really great guy. I talked to the linebacker coach two weeks ago, so they seem like really good guys," explained Dan.
How about the Wolverines?
"That was a good visit. We got to meet with Coach Carr. He's actually coming into school tomorrow (Tuesday)," said Dan. "Coach Bach is my recruiting coach. He's an unbelievable guy. He came in May on the first day. They were the first school to call and come in, plus they have Coach Carr coming in tomorrow. They just seem to like me a lot and their tradition and academics are great too."
And the Nittany Lions?
"Just staying in-state and staying close to home so that my parents can see the games. That's a pretty big thing for me, I put a lot of emphasis on that. It's good to stay in-state generally, so people you know who watched you through high school can keep an eye on you. Sometimes you get caught up too much about going out of state," explained Dan, who is being recruited as a fritz linebacker for Penn State. "I've been to their camp two or three times when I was younger. You kind of grow up watching the games because they're on every week, so you learn a lot about the coaches, the players and the tradition they have. That's a big part of their recruiting, especially with the instate guys."
In fact Coach Ganter visited Strath Haven high school late last week. Is he putting the pressure on Dan to commit to the Nittany Lions?
"They said they would wait for me until signing day, that I would have a scholarship. I'm not in any rush to commit, but I think they would like me to make a decision early, to kind of get things going, like draw in other recruits."
Although Dan did not attend the Penn State Nike Camp, he stayed with Josh Hannum during and after the Blue-White Game.
Is he close enough to Hannum or current Strath Haven HS and Syracuse signee Lenny Carter that they would have an effect on Dan's decision in any way?
"I'm pretty close, mainly with Josh and this past year I got closer to Lenny. These guys have been each trying to talk you into their school, so it's pretty tough to put up with that and see what's actually best for you," Dan said laughingly. "I'm just kind of taking it at my own pace."
With all the pressure from coaches and fans to attend their school, will there be an early decision and is Penn State his favorite?
"It's tough to decide. They're definitely up there," Dan said grudgingly. "I think at the end of May, I'll narrow it down to three and hopefully be able to commit before the season."
(Interview by Steve Curry)