Caragein, a 6-foot-2 1/2, 269-pound tight end and defensive lineman, has not yet decided where he'll continue his football career. Coach Dave Wannstedt is hopeful that the University of Pittsburgh will be able to secure this hometown talent, but Caragein has a dozen scholarship offers and is looking closely at each of them.
"Pitt's a great school with a great coaching staff, and I think it's back on the rise,'' Caragein said. "It's definitely an option for me, but I'm keeping them open right now. I'm not going to leave Pitt out (of the mix), but I'm still looking around. There's a lot of good schools out there.
"I took an unofficial visit to Ohio State before the Nike camp and along with Pitt, I've been offered by Northwestern, Syracuse, N.C. State, Indiana, Akron, Miami of Ohio, Temple, Purdue, Clemson, Rutgers and Toledo. All of them are good schools, not too far away.
"I don't want to go more than 12 hours ... I don't want to go all the way to California, or anything like that,'' Caragein added, "but I don't want to rush my decision, because this is important. I want to make sure I really like the school and the campus and that I'm comfortable with the coaches.''
Working out at several camps and combines has given Caragein an opportunity to be looked at by coaches at all levels from around the country, and they all seem to be impressed with him. Jason Bell, an assistant coach at Schenley High School, primarily worked with the tight ends at the Metro Index Camp this past week and was effusive in praising Caragein's performance.
"A friend of mine coached (Caragein) when he was younger, so I heard about him, but this was the first time I've seen him work out,'' Bell said. "He's really an impressive kid. For a kid that size, he has some quick feet.
"I don't know if he wants to be a tight end, but I think he'd be a natural there, like another tackle on the line. His quickness is surprising, for a kid that's his size, and his hands aren't that bad at all, either. He's a real hard worker and very coachable. I wish I had him on my team.''
Actually, even though he worked with the tight ends this week, Caragein is being recruited primarily as a defensive lineman.
"I prefer playing on the D-line, but I've worked with them at the past couple camps,'' Caragein said. "So, that's why I'm switching it up and working with the tight ends here. Really, I like both positions, but D-line is the position that most of the schools are recruiting me to play.''
Bell believed that Caragein would succeed no matter where he plays.
"Sure, I can see him playing D-tackle, because he has the body type to play there right away in college, but he's quick, too,'' Bell said. "The type of kid he is, such a great attitude and talented, he'll be successful. "I don't know where he'll play in college, but if he continues to improve I wouldn't be surprised if we see him playing on Sunday (in the NFL) someday. He's an impressive kid. Everybody in the country should want him.''
If Caragein waits until after his senior season to make his college choice, he'll likely have many more options available. That's a lot of pressure on a 17-year-old, so Caragein's parents aren't making it tougher on him.
"My family's leaving the decision up to me,'' Caragein said. "They give me little bits of information here and there, but it's mostly my decision. It's been fun, but it's starting to get difficult because a lot more coaches are coming in. So, I'll have to narrow my choices soon.
"I want to try to do that before school starts, but like I said before I don't want to rush anything. If I don't feel comfortable about my decision, I'll hold off until after football season. So, I'm just taking in as much as I can at these camps and trying to get ready for the upcoming season.''
And if his recent performances are an indication, Caragein should have an outstanding senior year.