July 8, 2008

Almost decision time for versatile QB

Now Nathan Scheelhaase has a decent idea how a rock star feels.

The four-star quarterback from Kansas City (Rockhurst), Mo., has spent most of the last five weeks on the road or in airports, traveling from one hotel to another and being wined and dined in the process. He's met university chancellors and presidents, received personalized tours and talked Xs and Os with some of the brightest minds in college football.

He's caught a few winks in the back of his father's car, struggled through time changes and been wowed and confused by men who have made small fortunes by recruiting immensely talented 17- and 18-year-olds.

"I've caught up now," Scheelhaase said Tuesday afternoon. "My last visit was to South Florida. I had just gotten back from Stanford and I think I was in Kansas City for 16 hours between going from Stanford to South Florida and the time on that got me. But I'm cool now. I'm glad to be back with my football team and getting ready for our season."

Now comes the hard part. With a couple of notable exceptions, the recruiting is all but over. It's decision time for Scheelhaase, and unless he's the best actor this side of Hollywood, the versatile signal-caller still has quite a bit of contemplation ahead of him.

"I've learned a lot of things about a lot of schools," Scheelhaase said. "It was good to get out to these different places and see opportunities at different places and different things. It's been an enjoyable June of visits and everything."

Scheelhaase started his summer tour with a trip to Ole Miss. Before his final cross-country swing to Stanford and South Florida, the 6-foot-3, 184-pounder visited Oklahoma, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado and Missouri. A planned trip to Iowa had to be postponed because of the severe flooding in the Midwest.

"Nobody really, because of my visit, dropped themselves off," Scheelhaase said. "Each school had different points that were better or worse than the others. It's tough to say which one was the best by far. There were so many different things that we looked at. Some schools were strong here and some were strong there.

"I haven't been back as much, so I haven't really narrowed anything down. You know, we're sat down and talked about the positives of each school. I haven't really had much time to think about too much."

In large part because of geography and also because of the program's struggles in recent seasons, many recruiting analysts haven't given Ole Miss much of a chance in the race for Scheelhaase's services. However, Scheelhaase had a close relationship with the Ole Miss staff during its days at Arkansas, and the trip to Oxford still sticks out in Scheelhaase's mind.

"There are a lot of schools that are in a group that I enjoy and yes, Ole Miss is up there," Scheelhaase said. "I still remember that. Even though it was my first visit, I still remember that I had a most enjoyable time down there and I like the coaches there. Ole Miss is still a school I'm considering. That's for sure."

The Rebels plan on taking two quarterbacks in the 2009 signing class. Ole Miss already has a commitment from Louisville, Miss., quarterback Clayton Moore and are in the mix for talented Texan Drew Allen. Ole Miss and the rest of Scheelhaase's suitors should know something by the end of this month, as the summer tour has provided him with just about all the information he needs to make his decision.

"I still plan on getting it done this summer," Scheelhaase said. "I still want to visit Iowa. I'm going to Kansas next week and then I want to sit down and narrow it down and get this thing done. We really haven't sat down yet but my plan is to get it done before summer's up. I think I'll be able to get it done in July."

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