February 22, 2009

A busy week for Nick Montana

The recruitment of Westlake Village (Calif.) quarterback Nick Montana has been in fifth gear for a good part of the month of February. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder has pulled in double digit offers and made a big trip to Columbus (Ohio) and Austin (Texas) before spending Saturday afternoon at USC to take in a Trojan basketball game.

Montana spent the first part of the week on the Ohio State campus and got a first opportunity to check out the Ohio State facilities and meet with coaches and players during his two day visit to central Ohio.

"It was a lot of fun and I had a good time with the coaches taking me around and showing me the campus and getting to know the coaches a little better," Montana said.

The class of 2010 star also had an opportunity to meet with the current Ohio State quarterback and former recruiting phenom, Terrelle Pryor. This was not the first time that the two had met however.

"We saw Terrelle Pryor so I said hi to him," Montana said. "I knew him from before over the last summer at one of the camps. I hung out with the four new guys from the 2009 class, the group with Storm Klein. I got to spend a couple of hours with them."

The weather in Columbus was nothing like the weather of Southern California during Montana's visit and while lifelong Midwestern residents might be ready to head to a place that is somewhat warmer it didn't deter the highly decorated Ohio State recruit.

"It was good and I liked it and the weather doesn't bother me because I would get used to the cold after a couple of months," Montana said.

Montana jumped on a plane and spent the next two days in Austin to check in with the Longhorns. While Nick did not have a Texas offer at that point it was a good opportunity to take in another large program with a rich history of developing quarterbacks.

While Nick was in the Lone Star state however the Horns picked up a commitment from Connor Wood at quarterback and along with Case McCoy the Texas quarterback board was complete and there would be no need for Montana's services. But this did give the senior-to-be a chance to compare the two large programs after seeing each of them back-to-back.

"They are both really close to each other with coach Mack Brown and coach Jim Tressel both trying to instill the same kind of things in their players," Montana said. "The programs to me were pretty similar and they are both just great places."

Exciting news came in for Montana on Friday night when he picked up a pair of big offers from Alabama and Notre Dame. One doesn't have to look too hard to see the Montana family history at Notre Dame with father Joe Montana arriving in South Bend (Ind.) in 1974 and older brother Nate Montana walking on to the football team last season.

"It is always exciting to get an offer from them," Montana said. "With my brother (being on the team) it is a little closer to my heart, so it was cool."

Montana also is excited by the Alabama offer as well and is looking forward to looking more into that offer from the traditional SEC powerhouse.

Nick has maintained that he wants to make his decision before the start of his senior season and that it could come really at any point depending on finding the right fit. Does the additional interest from schools do anything to that timeline and could it possibly throw a wrench in his plans to be an early decider?

"I am starting to get a better feel, not necessarily narrowing it down, about the ones I am going to be more interested in and try and focus on more," Montana said. "There are about five I am really looking into and trying to get a better feel for and possibly try and get a couple of more visits out (to see them)."

And even with those visits Nick would still like and still plans on ending the process before the start of his senior season at Oaks Christian so he can focus on his senior season.

Montana has received offers from schools all over the nation but hasn't landed an offer from either hometown schools of USC and UCLA. Nick spent part of Saturday watching the Trojans and Washington Huskies on the hardwood and has also been a visitor to the Rose Bowl to see the Bruins play football but neither of the schools hold a perceived hometown advantage for his signature.

"I have been talking to UCLA and USC but I am not too certain where I stand with them," Montana said. "My familiarity (with those two schools) doesn't really play a big role in my decision and I don't care if it is close to home or if I have been to a couple more UCLA games than wherever like Ohio State or Alabama… I am just looking for the best spot and the best situation for me so I can try and get to the next level."

The Buckeyes may have an opportunity to get Nick back out to Columbus in April for the annual spring game. Montana has been in contact with coach Nick Siciliano and while the two have not been able to firm up any sort of plans the desire to return to Columbus is there if the dates work.

… I understand that you only have one shot at it so I am trying to make the best decision.

Nick Montana on the process

"I can't say yes or no but it is always a possibility," Montana said.

Overall Montana feels truly fortunate to be in the situation that he is in and is not going to take his recruitment lightly.

"I am genuinely fortunately to be in the position that I am in with the ten or so offers that I have right now," Montana said. "I look at it as a blessing and I am taking it seriously and I understand that you only have one shot at it so I am trying to make the best decision. My future pretty much lies in this decision so I am really going to look into it hard."

And there is little doubt that Ohio State will be on his mind all the way through his recruiting process and that is good news for Buckeye fans.

"Ohio State is a great place and what coach Tressel is doing with them is great," Montana said. "Not just on the field but off the field… they just help the kids develop into men and making (players) into just all around better people. I think it is a good situation for anyone who has an opportunity to go there."

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