A growing 6-foot-3, 225-pound defensive end needs his lunchtime but Wednesday was not the day for Spencer (N.C.) North Rowan three-star Zion DeBose.
In a day packed full of visits from coaches, DeBose skipped multiple lunches for meetings during the school day. After in-school visits from Illinois and Pittsburgh, the attention did not stop there when Rutgers defensive line coach Shane Burnham visited his practice and home to sell the Scarlet Knights.
“He had a busy day too and he had to wrap it up quick because he had a 10 o'clock flight but it was pretty good,” DeBose said. “It was clear. Coach Burnham came right out with it and told me, 'we're only two years in and we're trying to redevelop Rutgers from the ground. You're one of the ones we want to help rebuild, and with coach [Chris] Ash you have an opportunity to play early.' He told me what Rutgers is about. He told me about academics. He told me about how they treat they players. He made it all clear, even though it was short, why he was here.”
A day in the life of a recruit on the rise, DeBose missed his lunch period for a visit from the Missouri coaching staff. Then on his way for a late lunch, Pittsburgh arrived for another meeting. Illinois came next.
Don't worry, DeBose eventually ate and was full from the recruiting process when he called it a night at 10 p.m.
“I was like, 'food can wait,'” DeBose said. “I want to talk to the Pitt coaches. I want to talk to all of these coaches. I ended up getting lunch, so it was good.”
Debose has a three-pronged list for upcoming official visits.
Visits begin next week in Missouri, and transition into January with consecutive trips to Western Michigan, Pittsburgh and Rutgers. What is on the list for DeBose? Academics, playing time and family.
“Academics are No. 1,” DeBose said. “Even though they're all D-1 programs and they've got hundreds of majors, it doesn't they're all ranked high in that certain field. I'm looking for the best academics, hands down. I want to major in architecture and architecture is a really hard major to get into. Me being a student athlete, if I play my part and I'm performing and working hard with football, I need to know that when time gets called, I'm going to be able to go to that class and know that I have tutors and I can go to study hall when I need it.
“Playing early is important but I'm not expecting to walk on and be automatically given an opportunity to play. My goal is to go out there and work and earn the chance to play as a true freshman. If I don't, then I want to play as a sophomore. I don't want to have to wait until my junior or senior year to see the field.”