Sitting with his parents, Bethel High (Hampton, Va.) defensive tackle Ricky Walker weighed the pros and cons of each of the 18 schools that offered him a verbal scholarship. And though he says it was tough, he has trimmed that list to five.
In no particular order, Penn State, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, North Carolina and Pitt made the final cut for the FOX Sports NEXT three-star prospect. D-line coach Larry Johnson is leading the charge for the Lions, who offered Walker last October.
"I have great relationship with all the coaches at those programs," Walker said in a text message to Fight On State. "They are great programs, and ones I think I'll fit in at. That's what they have in common."
He went onto add a snippet about each program, and also noted that he doesn't have a timetable for a decision and will likely take more visits before deciding.
Penn State: "They have a history of winning, and Coach [Larry] Johnson is great. Coach J will get you right, and put you in the league [NFL]. Penn State will always be Penn State, at the top of the conference, and they always have a great recruiting class."
Virginia Tech: "I visited them this past weekend, and had a great time. I learned a lot, met a lot of people and fans, and the coaches are great and care about you. Coach Cornell Brown and the defensive line coach, Coach [Charley] Wiles, recruit me there. I kind of always liked Tech and their history. Their records speak for themselves, and they do a great job on Saturday. Those guys are like father figures."
South Carolina: Coach [Deke] Adams and I are close. They are a big SEC program, and I'd be playing under a great coach. I haven't visited there yet, but I plan to set a time to."
North Carolina: Chapel Hill is a great campus, and the coaches are great. That program is turning around. Coach [Randy] Jordan and Coach [Keith] Gilmore send me mail daily, and I have a great relationship with them. They are personal letters, and they tell me how I can fit in to their program, and how they feel about me."
Pitt: "They are close to my family, and they have a beautiful campus, and facilities. Also, it's in the ACC, and they have a new staff, you know. They are all calm and caring, and help you whenever. They can coach you to your full potential. I like that their campus is downtown and in the city, too."