A signing day special for Abdunafi?

It is sometimes interesting to watch how recruiting can imitate life. Like a circle, a player can start out at one point, move 180 degrees from it and then end up back where it all began. For Ismail Abdunafi, an All-American DT from Bakersfield (Calif.) College, a love for one conference as a child could end up being the difference when finalizing his four-year college plans. But he's not ready to go there just yet.

"Growing up as a kid, I watched the Big-Ten conference and I know I want to play in the Big-Ten conference and two schools from there (Illinois and Michigan State) are recruiting me," Abdunafi told Scout.com Saturday. "But I also have two other great universities recruiting me in Washington and Texas A&M. I want to play in the Big-Ten, that's always been in my heart, but who knows now.

"You've got different locations and different environments. There are a lot of factors that are going on. It's crazy and it's a huge decision for me, so I want to make sure I put everything under evaluation. It's going to affect me for the rest of my life."

Ismail met with coaches from all of the schools recruiting him in the past few days, ending with Texas A&M on Friday. At this point, Abdunafi is steadfast in declaring no leader.

"I could go to the University of Mars and my family will be behind me 110 percent," he said. "It's so close. Every day it swings. But when I went on my visit to Washington, Coach Willingham told me it would happen but that the truth never changes. I have to look at what fits me best, but I've also been asking the Man above to guide me in the right direction. And I've been getting signs here and there."

But it's hard to ignore the two schools from the conference he grew up with. "I visited both universities, and out of the two I would probably be leaning more toward Illinois," said Abdunafi. "I felt the environment a little more, I got a better vibe on the academics and I've got one of my closest friends playing running back for them. Those are some of the advantages."

Meanwhile, Ismail has all the letters of intent at home, sitting on his table. They are a constant reminder to Abdunafi, but not the only ones. "Anytime I'm anywhere I see Texas license plates or Illinois license plates, all I think about is my trips and all the attention I've been shown. I've gone through so much," he said.

Ismail Abdunafi Scout Profile

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