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April 8, 2010ALLEY RECRUITING: Out-of-state prospect on campus | Potential 5-star linebacker visiting Thursday | Cali quarterback visits Florida | Wednesday practice visitors
Normally when a prospect has as many outstanding scholarship offers as Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson offensive lineman Errin Joe, when asked which one's stand out the most, they'll point to the offers from the so-called football factories as their crowing achievement.
However, after speaking with Errin for a short period of time, it's evident that he is no ordinary Joe.
Despite an offer list which includes the likes of Miami, Florida State, West Virginia and Illinois among others, when asked if any stood out above the crowd, Joe replied, "My first offer was from Miami. I got that on September 1st of my junior year. That was the first one to show up. But what was really great for me and my parents was getting offers from 'academic power houses' like Stanford, Vanderbilt and Duke. Those are good football programs too, but what they stand for academically is what really excited us."
There's a simple explanation as to why the Joe household thinks so highly of those three offers in particular.
"My parents are both educators," explained Joe. "My dad is a principal of a high school and my mom was a principal of an elementary school. They take a lot of pride in education. That made it even more amazing to receive offers from those three schools."
After talking about growing up a fan of the Big Three instate football programs, Joe was asked to comment on each:
Miami: "My dad coached [former Hurricane linebacker] Ray Lewis. So we have a little connection there. I went down to see their spring game and got a chance to communicate with all the coaches. I have a good amount of interest in Miami."
Florida State: "From what I've seen from them, they're going in the right direction. There's a change there, a great feeling in the atmosphere there. I love their tradition. That was another great offer to get. Anytime you get an offer from the school where the great Bobby Bowden coached, that's amazing."
Florida: "Florida hasn't offered yet. They told me they are highly interested in me, but they are still in their evaluation process and they're coming to see me in the spring."
On Wednesday, Joe and his father spent the day at Florida.
"The first thing, we sat down with coach [Steve] Addazio. We talked face-to face for about an hour to get familiar with him. We toured the campus and checked out the facilities. We talked about academics and then we also got a chance to sit down and talk to coach [Urban] Meyer. We saw that they graduated 100% of their players the past couple of years. They'll let you know, that's the one thing they do at Florida - not only are they going to prepare you athletically, but if you go there you will get your degree."
Now that he has visited all three instate programs, Joe is ready to pull back a little as far as unofficial visits are concerned for right now.
With a couple of trips behind him, and perhaps a few more coming up after the spring, does he know what he is looking for in a program?
"Education, a position coach that I have a great relationship with, that is a father figure because I'm going to be close to him for four or five years, then a big family atmosphere and then last but not least, the head coach."
With 10 months until Signing Day 2011, there's still plenty of time for Joe to formulate a leader board. From the sound of it, he is in no hurry.
"I'm taking everything in right now," replied Joe. "We'll narrow it down later on. It's going to be a tough process to evaluate all the schools that are on the list. We don't know who is going to make it, but we do know that when we know that there is a school that we aren't going to go to, we are going to let them know. We're going to do it with class. We're going to let them know, 'Thank you, but no thank you.'"
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