Kareem Are thought he knew just about everything he needed to after an official visit to Penn State in November. He was aware the Lions are in position to offer early playing time, offer quality academics, and have a head coach in Bill O'Brien and line coach in Mac McWhorter who he could get along with.
That didn't stop McWhorter from trekking to Fort Scott, Kansas Wednesday to meet with the undecided juco offensive tackle who will have three years to play two once he makes a decision. And a choice could be coming soon.
Are said Wednesday he has an even top three of Penn State, Florida State, and South Carolina with the potential for a fourth school, Ole Miss, to climb even with the pack. He'll visit Oxford Friday through Sunday, and decide shortly after.
First though, he chatted with McWhorter bright and early at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, before the prospect hit the classroom and McWhorter got back on the recruiting trail. And Are go to know even more about PSU — and the staff about him.
"We went through a couple things again, and he asked me a couple questions to get to know me a little bit better," Are said. "He was just making sure I knew some things, and some important facts about the school.
"Coach Mac know a lot about football, but I learned he really cares about his players, too."
The tackle said he learned that Penn State had All-Big Ten picks on its line in first-teamer and guard John Urschel, along with honorable mention center pick Ty Howle. Are said the selections "opened his eyes," and they got a bit wider when the assistant informed him that not only has most of State's line has already graduated, but that some will leave the program with two degrees. He was also impressed by the offensive line coach floating the idea that even some of the Lions' backups this fall may see NFL camps this summer.
McWhorter was supposed to travel to New York later in the day to meet with Are's mother, but travel difficulties didn't allow for him to make it. So, State sent a different assistant, and while Are was unsure which member of O'Brien's staff made the trip, he knows he made quite the impression.
"She was actually surprised," Are said. "I don't think she liked Penn State that much, but after the meeting, she came onto them. I don't know what it was. I guess whatever they told her."
The three-star offered a pleased review after his State College visit, where he saw the Lions fall 23-20 to Nebraska on Senior Day. He offered many of the same platitudes following a visit to South Carolina last weekend, where he saw the Gamecocks blast Clemson 31-17.
Are said the trip made his decision harder, and the trip to Ole Miss is likely to do the same. In Oxford, he said he knows about the Rebels' tradition, but wants to see what it and its coaching staff have to offer.
"It was a very nice visit," Are said of South Carolina. "Of course, it is SEC football, and they dominated the game. The atmosphere, and just the lifestyle out there are appealing.
"They don't have any pro teams, so everything is about college and South Carolina. They're coaches keep it real with me, and are alive with the way they coach."