The recruiting process has seen significant changes over the years; particularly in recent years. Kids who are fresh out of junior high are receiving big time offers before playing a down of varsity football. Commitments are happening at an earlier rate as are decommitments.
Another significant change has been the rise of prospects from private schools. That can especially be said about the Southwest Preparatory Conference.
The SPC has become a hotbed for college recruiters from some of the top programs in the country. All Saints, Houston Kinkaid, OKC Casady and Episcopal School of Dallas have produced D-1 prospects in each of the last three years. The 2015 class will be no different.
Perhaps the most talented athlete not only in the SPC but the entire Lone Star State is Irving Cistercian's Dare Odeyingbo. The 6-foot-2, 242-pounder is a do-everything player for the Hawks but did his most damage at running back in 2013 rushing for 1,784 yards and 20 touchdowns in just ten games.
Several programs are in pursuit of the nation's No. 52 running back prospect. The big runner already held offers from Wisconsin, Air Force, Minnesota, New Mexico and Texas Tech. He added Iowa and Nevada offers on Monday.
"I'm having a lot of fun with it, getting all of this attention for a guy at a small private school," he said. "It's really exciting and I'm really enjoying the process. It's a lot of fun really."
It shouldn't come as a shock that Odeyingbo is receiving interest for his talents on both sides of the ball; some like his skills as a runner while others see him as a linebacker and defensive end.
"Most of them are defensive positions," he said. "Minnesota and Nevada offered at an offensive position but they said they want to get me on campus and see where I'd fit in. They haven't said I'd for sure play running back or linebacker; I'd just play wherever there's space and what I'm best at."
Odeyingbo is receiving strong interest from others and could be adding eighth offer any day.
"Northwestern running backs coach was here recently and he said he'd keep in touch and Vanderbilt was here and they said they'd keep in touch; I've talked to the running backs and linebackers coach there and they like me at the linebacker position," he said. "Missouri's coach is going to come back and watch me during spring practice I believe on Wednesday and I'm looking forward to that. I'd like to impress an SEC coach."
"I've been to a practice at SMU and I saw a coach here last week from TCU," he said. "They've kept in contact. SMU likes me at a defensive position and TCU really hasn't mentioned it."
With an SAT of 2050, academics will obviously play a huge factor in his decision making process. He hasn't focused too much on location but knows no matter the distance, he's wants a strong tradition on and off the field.
"It's hard to tell if location is going to matter at this point because I want to go where I can get the best education," he said. "I guess it could be a factor because you don't want to go halfway across the country if your friends and family can't see you play. It's one of those things where you don't want it (location) to be a factor but it could become one down the road. I want to go somewhere I can do best for myself; strong academic field, strong athletic field and a family unit on the team are what I'm looking for. A place I can go to war with my brothers. That's what I'm looking for in a college."
With seven offers on the table and more to be on the way, Odeyingbo says he hasn't made a list of favorites just yet. He's looking at every program on equal ground and giving each their fair share of research.
"Right now I'm trying to keep everyone pretty equal because I'm still trying to do all the research I can on the schools," he said. "I have to do my research because I have to make sure what I want to study in they do well at that school. So, I'm just trying to keep everyone on the same playing field; I'm not trying to let the bigger names get out ahead of the lesser known schools. I'm trying to do my research to find out what's best for me."
Odeyingbo has plans to see as many schools as he can this summer but is still setting up a schedule."Nothing is set in stone yet but we're definitely going to travel," he said.