That changed on Jan. 25 for the offensive tackle out of Lincoln-Way West High School in New Lenox, Ill., when Tennessee pulled the trigger.
He and his father Brian McGovern flew to Nashville and drove east to Knoxville last weekend for an unofficial visit. Prior to coming to the Volunteer State, Colin admitted that he knew little about UT.
"I knew they had a pretty good history winning some games and stuff but nothing much more than that," he told InsideTennessee.
There were some eye-opening aspects about his trip to Rocky Top.
"Definitely just the campus," McGovern said. "Before I thought the academics weren't very great because not that many SEC schools are recognized for their academics. The two fields I want to study in — engineering and business — are both ranked in the top 50 in the country.
"Then, I don't know if I've said this, but the stadium is just absolutely massive. Playing in front of a crowd like that wouldn't be a bad deal."
First-year Tennessee offensive line coach Sam Pittman is one of the primary reasons the Vols are in on the 6-foot-6, 280-pound prospect, and his efforts aren't going unnoticed.
"(Pittman)'s a great guy," McGovern said. "While I was down there, he was sticking by us the whole time and talking with us. He seems like a really good coach and a really good guy, even off the field. So, having him as a coach would be pretty cool."
Tennessee is likely to hit several prospects along the offensive front hard after not signing an O-lineman in the Class of 2012. It presently has a pledge for 2013 tackle Austin Sanders.
|Colin and Brian McGovern pose during their Tennessee visit last weekend.|
"It's really exciting," McGovern said. "Even going back to the summer, I never thought this would have happened to me because I actually thought after the whole FCSA deal, maybe with that, I could be going DII or something. So, it's still really exciting."
In the latest FOX Sports Next/Scout rankings, McGovern is rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 9 offensive tackle in the country.
"My strength is definitely my speed and quickness and power coming off the line," he said. "I'm working on a lot of that stuff, but I'm definitely more of a run-blocking tackle at this level. I could definitely improve in my pass (protection). I tend to overset a little bit at the center, but it's definitely nothing a little work can't fix."
The players for Lincoln-Way West are maxing out some in the weight room this week. McGovern squatted 525 pounds, military pressed 275 and is bench pressing Wednesday. His previous high on the bench was 275.
McGovern has a busy spring planned as he continues to educate himself in recruiting. He is visiting Michigan this weekend before Notre Dame (March 24), Northwestern (April 6), Wisconsin (April 14) and Ohio State (April 21).
He said he is not quite sure when he wants to have a decision made on when he will commit. Whether or not he will graduate from Lincoln-Way West early remains to be seen as well.
"I do have the option of graduating early next year, but I'm not quite sure if I'm going to take that route or not," he said.
Under coach Mark Vander Kooi, the Warriors finished 7-3 in 2011 with an IHSA Class 5A first-round state playoffs exit at the hands of Joliet Catholic Academy 48-14. JCA went on to finish state runner-up.
McGovern reported a 3.08 grade point average and an ACT score of 25.
Most of his thought process about a prospective major has centered around business or engineering. Which of the two he settles on should come in time.
"I'm not really sure. I need to check out some things next year. Depending on which classes I'm taking, I might make up my mind on that. So, yeah, I haven't decided yet."