Just under a month from a release of a top six, there’s already some skepticism.
Dutch Fork (SC) three-star wide receiver Austin Connor announced a top five last month of South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt and Tennessee. He later added Duke to his top list.
Now, Connor is re-evaluating his top group. A recent offer in particular, has his lead group in flux, as he prepares for visits this summer, following a big spring on the track.
“I’m still trying to focus on the same thing,” Connor said. “My major, of course, early playing time, style of offense and quarterbacks. They have to have a decent quarterback. I wanna go into nuclear engineering. There’s the hope of making it to the NFL, but most of the time it doesn’t happen. I’m focusing on school and if the NFL does come around, that’s a plus.”
What most has Connor re-thinking his recruitment and favorites is an offer from Harvard. That offer pushed him to 14 in total.
“I did narrow my list, but I’m not sure if it stays this way,” Connor said. “That was my top six for a few weeks, but that may change. I’m starting to think about a lot of things now. I have a chance to get into an Ivy League for free and that changes a lot of things.”
One of the only mainstays in Connor’s recruitment right now is Virginia Tech. The Hokies have been near the top in his list since last fall.
“I don’t see them changing for a long time,” Connor said. “For one, they have a great engineering program and that’s primary for me. I like the feel, that atmosphere. I love the college, the people, the students, everything. It feels like home when I go up there.”
Connor last visited Virginia Tech last month, the week before the spring game. That trip gave him a chance to see more of the academic side.
“I actually got to visit the engineering building,” Connor said. “A lot of them are being rebuilt, so they have a lot of nice stuff. It’s all really nice.”
Special teams coordinator James Shibest has also played a big role in Connor’s feelings towards the Hokies. The two continue to stay in regular contact.
“Since we started talking, we always had a close relationship,” Connor said. “That hasn’t changed much, so it’s been about the same. He’s a great guy. When I went up there and I saw him coach, he’s the same guy on the field and off the field and he’s a pretty cool, laid back guy. He’s just a good person to be around.”
Virginia Tech’s biggest competition might be South Carolina. The school is minutes away from Connor’s house and offers a few familiarities.
“I went to USC again, which right down the street, a week or so after Virginia Tech,” he said. “It was a cookout type of thing for the recruits. South Carolina and Virginia Tech are pretty much the same for me right now. It makes my decision harder. They both give off a home feeling and South Carolina being 15-20 minutes away, it’s even more like home because I’m not leaving. A lot of people don’t think so, but SC has a good program.”
Those visits were followed by an end to an impressive spring of track and field for Connor. He broke both of his own school records in the 100m and 200m and finished as runner-up in both events at the state meet earlier this month.
“We always wanted to win state,” Connor said. “Actually doing it, it was a lot of hard work paying off. It was exciting and overwhelming. Hopefully, I hope my best gets me where I need to be and it did this year.”
Connor said he has no set dates now on other visits. But he plans to see Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Georgia, Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Vanderbilt and Tennessee over the next few weeks.
“I have no clue on a decision,” Connor said. “My mom, she’s been working a lot lately, so I haven’t been able to talk to her, but we’ll get it together soon.”