After receiving around 30 scholarship offers, Woodbridge (Va.) C.D. Hylton junior running back Ricky Slade trimmed his list to five schools in August.
Florida: "The coaches stand out and they act life they've been together for ages," said the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Slade. "They just have that bond with the players that many coaches don't. Football takes care of itself at Florida. Obviously, they're a very good football program. I also like the weather and campus."
North Carolina: "I like coach (Larry) Fedora a lot as a head coach. They're also very good at recruiting. (Linebackers) coach (John) Papachis -- my recruiter -- knows how to recruit. I also feel at home when I'm down there. I feel comfortable and they treat me like I belong there."
Penn State: (Running backs) coach (Charles) Huff is a really good recruiter. Coach (James) Franklin is also a great coach. Penn State is amazing all around in all aspects of the school. I just love it there."
Tennessee: "I like the way they use their running backs. I also like (running backs) coach (Robert) Gillespie and coach (Butch) Jones. I see them on the rise and they're becoming a school that can win the SEC, so I just see potential."
Virginia Tech: "They obviously recruit well. It also feels like home because I've played with a lot of their players. It's far enough from home, but it's still close. And I'm very familiar with the program. I like them overall and it would feel nice to play there."
In regards to visits, his last trip was to North Carolina for the Georgia Tech game.
"Since I've been down there a lot, I didn't have to take any tours," Slade said. "I just sat with the coaches and continued to build on the relationship that we already have. We also talked some football. I spoke with (running backs) coach (Larry) Porter, coach Fedora and coach Papachis.
"I'd say I spent the most time with coach Papachis and we definitely have a really close relationship. It's like the relationship I have with my high school coach. He's just a cool guy. He talked to me about how they would use me if I chose UNC and showed me certain plays. I also talked with coach Fedora and he made it known that he really wants me there. He always stays in touch and is on top of things."
His next stop will be Virginia Tech this weekend for their in-state battle against Virginia.
"I've pretty much seen everything at Virginia Tech, so I'm really looking forward to continuing to build a relationship with the coaches, and build that bond.
"(Running backs) coach (Zohn) Burden is recruiting me and we try to talk every week or other week, and that relationship is getting stronger and stronger. He's been telling me that they're getting things going and they're getting back to being that successful program. He's wants me to stay home and help win a national championship."
When it comes to other visits, Slade said he will definitely take trips to Florida and Tennessee in the spring.
He does not have a definitive timetable for his decision, but knows what he is looking for at the next level.
"All the schools obviously have great programs, but I'm looking for some place that I would be happy as a regular student and where I feel comfortable," he said.
Slade finished his junior campaign with 164 carries for 1,509 yards (9.2 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns and 25 catches for 335 yards and four more scores.