Hartline focused on four

Ohio quarterback has two official visits scheduled and a favorite in mind

Mike Hartline has two official visits scheduled, and a Big Ten favorite in mind. But he is waiting eagerly to see how two other Big Ten schools re-evaluate his film, in hopes of setting official trips to those campuses as well.

Hartline, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound class-of-2006 quarterback prospect at Canton (Ohio) Glenoak, has several scholarship offers, but he has honed his list down to four suitors: Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

The Badgers and Spartans, however, are re-evaluating his film, Hartline said in a telephone interview Monday, and determining whether or not to bring him in for an official visit.

In Wisconsin's case, this is a direct result of the coaching change that will take place sometime after the 2005 season, when defensive coordinator Bret Bielema takes over for Barry Alvarez.

"Wisconsin with the new coaching change they want to start re-evaluating any recruit that they're looking at," Hartline said. "So they want more film."

Hartline has an official visit scheduled with Kentucky for Oct. 29 and one with Illinois Dec. 1. He hopes to add official trips to Madison, Wis., and East Lansing, Mich., to his itinerary.

"[The Badgers] are still looking at my film and re-evaluating that stuff," Hartline said, "so I've just got to keep in touch with them…

"[The Spartans] are doing the same thing with the film. So sit back and wait a little bit for them too."

Hartline has other scholarship offers outside of his four favorites, but he is set on those schools.

"Those are just the four that I'm really looking at, I'm really down to and I'm not really going to change that," he said.

Right now, Illinois has the edge for his services.

"I would say Illinois probably has a slight advantage over a lot just because they've been in contact more and they say how much they want me to come up there and check it out and that I'm the No. 1 guy on the list," Hartline said. "They just show a lot more attention that just makes me feel comfortable with them."

Hartline said he feels Illinois and Kentucky are up-and-coming programs.

"Definitely with Illinois with Coach (Ron) Zook and what he's bringing in, his coaching staff," Hartline said. "And what really attracted me to them is both Kentucky's and Illinois' quarterback coach, they've produced some really great guys. As far as Kentucky, (quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper) he's produced Eli Manning out of Ole Miss, and the Illinois quarterback (coach) (Ed Zaunbrecher) he's produced Rex Grossman, Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich. So it's all a good process from here."

Hartline's interest in Michigan State has picked up recently.

"They have a great offense," he said. "They have an offense based around the quarterback that can make plays and just what I've been seeing this year they've been doing real well from a team that really didn't have too many high expectations from... everybody in the country. So it's kind of a surprise. I'm just looking at the coaching staff, I really like the coaching staff with John L. Smith up there. So it's just something I've been more attracted to here in the past couple months."

Wide receivers coach Henry Mason is recruiting Hartline for Wisconsin.

"I know that I'm one of their top guys that they're recruiting but, you know, I guess the feeling I'm getting from Coach Mason is that they're kind of slowing it down a little bit right now just with the whole new coach and the coaching staff changes," Hartline said. "But right now I like the program, I've been up there, saw the facilities. I know it was really nice… I really want to take a visit up there so they just got to give me the go-ahead and I'll be ready to go."

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