Proviso West's Kyle Prater, who has been elevated to the No. 4 ranking in the nation in Rivals' evaluations and is arguably one of the two or three leading wide receivers in the country, continues to waver on his college choice.
"I'm still trying to see what feels comfortable yet," Prater told me earlier this week. "It is more difficult than I thought it would be to make my decision. I want to make sure I won't have any regrets. I want to make some official visits so I probably will wait until after the season."
Even though Prater's close friend, Proviso East safety Corey Cooper, who long ago committed to Illinois, has publicly stated that he believes Prater will join him in Champaign, Prater isn't ready to announce his choice.
He has 40 scholarship offers. He said he has narrowed his list to six--Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, Illinois, Tennessee and Notre Dame. He plans to visit Tennessee on Aug. 1 and might visit Alabama before the season begins.
Prater knows what he is looking for. All of the six finalists are passing teams that have a reputation for developing talented wide receivers and have sent some to the NFL in recent years. Alabama's Julio Jones, Illinois' Arrelious Benn, USC's Damian Williams and Notre Dame's Golden Tate are among the best in the nation this season.
"I want to go to a school that is throwing the ball," he said. "I want to look at the offense and the wide receivers and see how they have developed wide receivers for the NFL."
Recruiting coordinator Randy Taylor of Chicago-based National Collegiate Scouting Association rated Prater as the No. 17 player in the nation. He believes there is no question that Prater can play as a freshman.
"He has a huge upside," Taylor said. "He hasn't gotten as big or as strong as he can be, which will make him faster. He will be a monster in a couple of years."
In the meantime, however, the 6-5, 205-pounder with 4.48 speed is working out with his high school team, attending 7-on-7 camps and working out with the strength and speed coaches.
"Right now I'm focusing on my team and trying to get better," Prater said. "Then I want to plan for official visits. I want to see the campus atmosphere and get a feel for it when I attend games. I will be the total package this season. When I go to camps, I want to compete and see how I match up against others."
Prater may not end up at Oklahoma. But he admits his visit to the Norman campus "was one of the visits that stuck out in my mind."
"I had heard so much about the school," Prater said. "It was a great environment, meeting the players and coach (Bob) Stoops. There was so much crimson red at the spring game. It was cool."