Every high school athlete who goes through the college recruiting process should be as smart as C.J. Fiedorowicz of Johnsburg.
The 6-7, 250-pound junior is the biggest, fastest, most athletic and best tight end in the country in the class of 2010.
He knows who he is, what skills he possesses and how he wants to use them. He is a tight end who wants to play in a passing offense where he can catch the ball, not just block for ball-carriers.
I wish all kids did as much research about colleges, to see where they fit in best. It shouldn't come down to a personality contest between assistant coaches. Most Chicago kids commit too early. A lot of them make mistakes. They don't check out all the schools to determine all the options they have.
I've been evaluating high school players for 30 years and I see so many kids pumping gas and in jail because they didn't make the right choices. This decision, where to go to school, will echo through the next 40 years of their lives, right or wrong. I see a lot of kids come back complaining what a bad choice they made. Some kids commit after they make their first campus visit or receiver their first scholarship offer. They don't talk to professors or students, only coaches. They only think about football.
Not Fiedorowicz. He has a dilemma and he isn't in a hurry to come to a conclusion. Originally, he wanted to make a decision in the spring. But the process is more difficult that he anticipated. Instead of rushing to meet a deadline, he has opted to wait until he is absolutely sure. He might not make a decision until after his season season begins.
At the moment, he is debating between Ohio State and Iowa. He is leaning to Ohio State but admits that he is looking for a program that will prepare him for the NFL. Ohio State doesn't throw the ball to the tight end often enough to suit him. If coach Jim Tressel doesn't adjust his playbook to include more pass routes for the tight end, Fiedorowicz will pack for Iowa.
Ohio State is a premier program. If Fiedorowicz is a go-to guy at tight end, it is a great choice. But he is a receiving tight end. His forte is catching the ball. On film, he is split out like a wide receiver. He doesn't want to go to a college program where the tight end is a last resort in the passing game and only catches a few passes.
The key for any recruit is to find which program suits him. If I was Fiedorowicz, I would wait until at least October to see which schools on my list throw to the tight end. Look for proof that Ohio State, Iowa or any school he is considering is actually committed to throwing to the tight end.
If a college really wants him, it will make the necessary adjustments in its offense. As one of the top-rated prospects in the country, Fiedorowicz can afford to be patient and picky.