One to Go for Joe

Forgotten about by Stanford once he tore his ACL, forcing him to miss his senior season, Cypress Bay offensive lineman Joe McNamara is closing in on his final decision. With four offers and a lot of scholarship interest, McNamara will visit Wisconsin before making a final choice.

MADISON - When he shut down his college decision over the summer, life was good for offensive guard Joe McNamara.

He picked up the phone and called the coaches from Iowa State, Florida International, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Wisconsin to thank them for recruiting him, but he was shutting down the process and giving his verbal commitment to Stanford.

The 6-foot-2, 270-pound McNamara, a three-star prospect rated the 28th-best offensive guard in the country by, was excited to become a Cardinal. That's when his recruitment started taking a turn for the worse.

Tearing his ACL roughly a week before the season started, forcing McNamara to sit out his entire senior season, McNamara wanted to be sure Stanford was still behind him. After no returned calls or emails, McNamara had to start from scratch.

"The thing that took the longest was finding out if Stanford was in or out," McNamara told Badger Nation Monday. "They never came out and said I was out of the picture but at the same time, there was no communication. I would say probably November was when I re-opened the recruiting process."

One of the schools that McNamara reached out to was Wisconsin and Defensive Line Coach Charlie Partridge, who came to visit McNamara in the spring of 2009 and the two developed a good relationship.

"Charlie Partridge came out for our spring game, got a chance to watch a couple of practices before and they offered before I committed to Stanford," McNamara said. "After I got hurt and things started to fall through with Stanford, and deciding to reopen the process, Wisconsin still had the offer for me."

McNamara currently only has scholarship offers from Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Marshall and Wisconsin, but the interest level with him being back on the market is enormous, as schools like Bowling Green, Colorado State, Kentucky, Michigan State and Pittsburgh have all shown interest.

"It takes a lot of courage (to offer an injured player) and I really respect that. I haven't touched the field since last November," McNamara said. "It's an honor to still have people to still have people interested."

In terms of his ACL injury, McNamara is ahead of schedule and should be cleared for workouts in April, only 6 1/2 months after the injury.

"I started running and lifting and it's feeling good," McNamara said. "The doctors don't want to push it too hard and have me get a set back."

McNamara doesn't list a favorite, but was able to visit FAU two weeks ago, FIU last weekend ("It was a nice visit," he said) and will head to Wisconsin this weekend, his last visit planned.

"My goal is to go up there and really see what a ‘day in the life' of an average Wisconsin player is," McNamara said. "I want to see the school, the campus, meet some of the coaching staff and players. I want to know what they do on and off the field. I want to really get a feel for it."

While McNamara doesn't have a favorite heading into the visit, he plans to make his favorite and finally destination known before next Wednesday's National Signing Day.

"Each school has pros and cons," he said. "Right now, I am trying to view all the options before I make the final decision and find what's best for me and the coaching staff I am going to be playing for. I will probably sit down with my parents and we'll discuss each of the schools, and we'll come to a conclusion as a family."

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