Harrison Hand, the top cornerback in New Jersey, will cut his list in the coming days, but he gave an indication on which schools could make it when he said he spoke to several the most frequently.
The 5-foot-11 1/2, 183-pound Hand said Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and Virginia Tech were the schools he communicates with most frequently. Syracuse and Maryland are two making a strong push in the last month to six weeks.
"The schools that are talking to me a lot are Rutgers, Maryland, Temple, Syracuse and Virginia Tech," the Cherry Hill (N.J.) West standout said. "I will be taking my officials during the season. I have not set up any yet. My (family) has some dates to some schools I may go visit, but I am not sure yet. I have to see my schedule.
"I don't have leaders right now, but in a week, or sooner, I may cut down to six or seven schools."
As Hand is looking to set official visits and begin formulating a checklist for schools, he has a basis of what is important in his recruitment.
"You have to have somewhere that feels home to you," Hand said. "It's not just the school, but the coaches and the players. Are they someone you can be around every day?
"Also, people that have your back. You can go anywhere and take care of yourself and do your school work and focus on that. But say you are falling off and you need help, you need someone who would have your back on it. That's an important thing I think of."
As Hand sets dates for visits, one school he is curious to see is Maryland.
"Ever since they offered, they've been on me heavy," Hand said. "To be honest, I don't know a lot about them, which is why I plan to get there soon. The only thing I really know is their defensive backs coach (Aazaar Abdul-Rahim) is a great guy. Also, their running backs coach (Anthony Tucker) ...I talk to both of them a lot.
"I know (Abdul-Rahim) is a fun guy. He definitely knows what he is talking about. ...He teaches you."
Although Hand does not know much about Syracuse -- assistant coach Mike Hart is his recruiter -- he has a connection to the Orange.
"I know (safety) Rodney Williams. He's from my school," Hand said. "I don't now much else about them. Coach Hart is the only coach I speak with there."