For one thing, Early has got the numbers. As a junior at San Diego (Calif.) Cathedral Catholic, Early had 35 receptions for 988 yards and 12 touchdowns (28.23 ypc), and was named to three all-area teams while helping lead his team to the CIF-San Diego Section D-III title.
For another, Early has the bloodlines. His father, Quinn, played for 12 years in the NFL after a stellar career at Iowa (1984-87), earning first-team all-Big Ten honors as a senior. After starting his career with the San Diego Chargers, the Early family stayed in San Diego, but never wavered from its Midwest roots, a main reason Early is looking closely at Iowa and Wisconsin.
"It helps a lot with him having gone through it," Early told Badger Nation about the recruiting help from his dad. "He's signed me with all the recruiting places and talked to the all contacts and people he knows with Iowa. The people he played with at Iowa are well connected because they've gone different places. My dad has had a big impact on that and been a big help."
One of those connections brought the Earlys to Wisconsin last week for a spring practice, as Quinn Early developed a relationship with UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez during his Iowa tenure. The Iowa connection also bleeds over to the current head coach, as Bret Bielema and his Iowa tattoo also have roots with the Hawkeyes.
"Wisconsin was great," said Early, who made the trip with his dad. "We got to walk around and see the trophy room and get a tour of the facility a little bit. Like my dad said, we got a good vibe from it all and the coaches are great, nice people. The players are a good family.
"I talked to Coach Alexander and he said they are a small group of wide receivers with people like Nick Toon. He said they like to coach players individually to make them better instead of coach everyone in a big group. They said they really like my film, too."
The trip gave Early plenty of time to compare Wisconsin with Iowa, as the Midwest journey started with a Sunday practice in Iowa City.
"Going to Iowa, everything there is about the Hawkeyes because they don't have any other teams," said Early, who is still looking for his first offer. "Everybody in the community just comes in and enjoys the games. But Wisconsin, I like the city, it was a lot bigger and more populated. Both the teams and coaches were nice and have winning traditions."
In addition to the Badgers and the Hawkeyes, Arizona is the other top school on his radar, as the Wildcats have been in constant back and forth with emails and phone calls after Early had camped with them the past couple of years.
Although it's a long journey from San Diego, expect to see the Early family back in Madison for an official visit during the 2010 football season.
"Yeah definitely," said Early about an official to UW. "I've gone to a couple of Iowa games and they've been great, but I definitely want to come out to Wisconsin and feel the vibe of what it's like on the field and with the fans."