Schwartz Focuses on Four

The last time we checked in with Pacific Palisades (Calif.) offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz, he was euphoric over the news of his Stanford admissions acceptance. The towering tackle, however, had not made headway on narrowing his school list. Schwartz is focused on his senior season, but he has also trimmed to a final four schools. Moreover, two official visits are scheduled and upcoming.

Pacific Palisades (Calif.) Palisades Charter High School offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz (6-5, 300) is keeping himself focused on more important things than recruiting, namely the Dolphins chances at the City Section playoffs.

"We're 4-2 and we just won our first league game," Schwartz reports.  "It was pretty exciting; we won on a last-second field goal.  It was a pretty big win, not just for our team but for our program."

That's not to say that Schwartz is entirely avoiding recruiting.  In fact, he is doing anything but avoiding.  But since Palisades typically is left out of the playoff mix, the chance at postseason glory has been a new experience for Schwartz.

This weekend, the Dolphins play an early afternoon game against Hamilton, then it's time for Schwartz to take his first official trip.

"I've set up a couple of visits so far," Schwartz shares.  "I'm going to Cal this weekend and then Virginia on November 18.  I'm trying to figure out when I'm going to Stanford and Oregon.  I'm just not sure with the timing of our games."

Because Palisades plays an early game, that allows Schwartz a chance to take a trip this weekend.  The weekend he plans to visit Charlottesville, the Dolphins could be in the City Section playoffs, which traditionally plays first round games on Thursday nights.

It won't be until after his visits are done, though, that Schwartz anticipates being ready to make a decision.

"Ideally, I'll decide after my trips are done," says Schwartz.  "As of right now, those are my top four.  One school doesn't particularly stand out."

Schwartz has already taken an unofficial visit to each of his top four schools, so when he officially visits, it wont be the first time he's been there.  This time will allow him more of an opportunity to spend with the coaches.

He has been to Oregon on numerous occasions, with his brother Geoff Schwartz being a starting offensive lineman for the Ducks.  The lone college game he has attended this fall was the Ducks' memorable win over Oklahoma.  Otherwise, when he is in Berkeley this weekend, it will be only the second game he's attended.

Schwartz says that there is no pressure on him to make an early decision, despite some schools beginning to fill up on linemen commitments.

"I don't think right at this point there is so much pressure to commit," Schwartz allows.  "Kind of when the big visits after the season are taken, guys will start filling up those spots.  I'm trying to get the visits done during the season, but it's tough when you're playing.  Ideally, I'd get them out of the way sooner than later and preferably not wait."

Schwartz has expedited the application process with Stanford, completing the application in a timely fashion.  As reported by The Bootleg last month, the senior student-athlete was admitted to The Farm.

"I'm definitely relieved," he admits.  "It was definitely a good thing to get it out of the way.  The actual application wasn't too bad, but I just wanted to make sure the essays were up to standard."

Given the wide gap that exists in the won-loss records of this 2006 college season between his four schools, Schwartz says it is a consideration, but not a major one.

"It does matter a tiny bit, but then again, there is always room to improve.  Those two teams [Stanford and Virginia] might come back strong in a couple of years, and there is probably a greater chance of earlier playing time," the recruit reasons.  "So there are advantages and disadvantages."

In narrowing down his four to one, Schwartz says several factors will come into play.

"One of the main factors is the coaching staff," Schwartz explains.  "There is a lot of fluctuation in sports nowadays.  I want to feel comfortable with the atmosphere, comfortable with the campus and the feel of it.  I want to get a chance to be with the players, get a feel of the team, the guys you're spending your time with."

And since the younger Schwartz saw his brother go through the recruiting process, he has a resource in Geoff, as well as his family, through his own recruitment.

"My parents are trying to guide me on what to look for," Schwartz says.  "I talk to my brother about the process and what goes on, and he just said do whatever is best for you."

Amidst all of the recruiting that is going on, Schwartz remains steadfast on the more pressing need.

"We have a good shot to make the playoffs," the recruit reminds.  "We just keep progressing, and if we keep playing well, we'll have a good shot."

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