Lebanon (Tenn.) Frisndship Christian School won the class 2A state championship in 2011. The program lost some seniors to graduation, and there was a vacancy at the quarterback position.
Enter A.J. Long, who moved to the area from Pennsylvania just in time for his junior season. With certain pressure to defend that title despite losses, the rising 2014 prospect fit the bill and led the Commanders to a 44-7 win over Adamsville (Tenn.) in the title game.
Long threw a pair of touchdowns in the game and things have picked up in his recruitment ever since.
"I received some new offers from Ohio and UMass these past two weeks and have a lot of other interests," he said.
The new looks can be a product of Long's run to the state championship combined with the cycle naturally shifting to the 2014 class. Not to mention Long filling out to 190 pounds while spurting up to 6-foot-2 in the process.
But "a lot" was the right phrase to use when it comes to the new schools in the mix.
"I have been very excited about it all, and I'll be visiting Tennessee on Saturday."
At one point, with just a handful of schools in the mix, Long was giving offers from Syracuse and SMU high consideration as his co-leaders in the process. But with the new interests and plans going forward, that has changed.
"No leaders anymore," he maintains. "All of my interests and offers are the same."
That doesn't mean a particular program in the Pac-12 isn't standing out a bit more than the rest, however. They have already offered Long.
"Arizona," Long admitted. "They really like me right now. I talk to coach [Rich] Rodriguez weekly.
"I plan on taking a trip out west to go there and UCLA as well as other Pac-12 schools."