There is a lot of attention on the recruitment of Konrad Reuland, and justifiably so. Though he is just starting his third year of playing football, the 6'6" 242-pound tight end from Mission Viejo (Calif.) High School is a physical specimen with burgeoning talent as both a blocker and receiver. If you did not catch the Scout.com Video from his season opener at Qwest Field in Seattle (Wash.), you should give it a look. Reuland recorded just one reception in that romp over Issaquah, a 13-yard touchdown, but his impact on the field is obvious in the film. The talented tight end is not putting up big numbers this year, with five catches through Mission Viejo's first three games, for 76 yards and two touchdowns. But the Diablos have had to play him on sparingly and focused on running the ball in their landslide performances to date, leading their games by scores of 48-0, 49-3 and 21-0 by halftime.
Scout.com's #5-ranked overall player in the state of California this year, and the #7 player in West region, may not match the 47 catches and 744 yards he put up as a junior, but that has not in any way cooled his recruitment. With offers from more than 30 suitors spanning the nation, Reuland has had the goal of narrowing down his college list to a sane and manageable number. Since September 1, coaches have been able to call him once per week, which can add up to a good deal of phone time while he also balances his senior year of school and football. With each passing day, fewer are finding out that they still have reason to dial up the Orange County household.
"I have told a lot of schools that I'm just not interested," Reuland relates. "I'm in the process of calling schools right now. I tell them thanks for everything, but I am not moving on with them."
The #2 tight end in the nation and #37 overall player in the land, according to Scout.com's 2006 rankings, has whittled his list all the way down to just six schools. While that cut is a large one, Reuland has been deeply engaged in the recruiting and selection process since the end of his junior season. He has researched and talked with schools all over the nation, and he embarked on numerous unofficial visits for in-person exploration. The Mission Viejo man is ready to move forward.
"I'm calling about one school a day to let them know," he offers. "I'm almost done, but I don't want to say who the six schools are until then, out of respect for the schools I have not told yet."
When we last spoke with Reuland, however, he gave us indications on three suitors who he was sure that would make the cut. Those same three schools - Stanford, USC and Notre Dame - were also reported by Chris Fetters to be his top three favorites, after the Scout.com Northwest recruiting analyst spoke with a Mission Viejo staffer during their stay in Seattle. So we posed the question to Reuland: are those three indeed top of mind for him today?
"Yeah. Those three are way up there for me," he answers. "But there is still another three I really like. All six schools are still on my list for a reason."
Reuland will make some more small cuts between now and the end of his senior season. He can take a maximum of five official visits, but his schedule will likely not permit even that number. The Diablos will undoubtedly be playing deep into the postseason, affording no time until December or possibly January for him to take a weekend away from home. Reuland also is a serious basketball player, growing up with the round ball long before he found its oblong cousin. Mission Viejo's basketball schedule will not leave every weekend available to him, so he estimates that he could take three or fewer official trips.
"I will have it down to at least five - hopefully three - by the end of the season," Reuland forecasts. "I don't think that I could commit before taking my officials, though. Maybe one school will just be right for me, and that will happen, but I think I will need to take my trips. Still, we'll see. Things can change over the course of the season."
While the top tight end recruit is not yet ready to reveal the fourth, fifth and sixth schools that made his cut, he is willing to articulate what he has to examine now with his surviving sextet.
"It comes down to small things now, from a football standpoint," Reuland explains. "I like all these schools a lot. They all have good academics and would give me a good degree. So I'm looking at things like what is the coach's strategy on offense with the tight end? What is the depth chart like? How much job security is there for that coach?"
The most superficial of those domains which any observer can explore is the depth chart. A quick click around your web browser can bring you that information. What does Reuland feel on that issue, from what he has learned thus far?
"Stanford and Notre Dame have better depth charts for me than USC," he offers. "But I feel like I can play wherever I go. And the depth chart really is not one of the most important things for me. I care more about how many times they throw to the tight end and how much tight ends are used in their offense. Do they ever flex the tight end out? Do they put the tight end in positions to make big plays?"
To that end, Reuland says that he is watching his final six schools closely this fall. The proof will be in the pudding. Coaches can talk a big game during the spring and summer to a prospective student-athlete about how much they use the tight end in their offense, but with so much college football televised or streamed over the Internet today, Reuland will see the truth for himself. And it has not escaped him that he will have chances to watch some of his suitors in head-to-head contests this fall.
"That's not why I chose them, but it is pretty funny that my top three all play each other this fall - and every year," he laughs. "I'll be watching those games closely, for sure."
The first of those three games is just a few weeks away, when USC visits Notre Dame on October 15. The other two affairs come in November, as Stanford plays at USC on November 5, and then the Irish call on the Cardinal on November 29. The fans of those three schools will undoubtedly have their eyes a little more closely on their respective tight ends in those annual rivalry games. Reuland will as well. Between now and then, there may be little movement in his recruitment, but we will keep you attuned to Reuland's latest as it develops.
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