March 30, 2009

Rivals-250 tackle starting visits

At 6-foot-4 and 296 pounds, Peoria (Ariz.) offensive lineman Nick Rowland has a tough time hiding in most settings. After a season where his high school - Centennial - won a state title and he was named a four-star prospect by, Rowland is finding time for himself even more difficult thanks to calls from coaches as well as recruiting analysts.

Rowland said his scholarship offer list consists of eight offers, including Colorado State, Colorado, Arizona State, the University of Arizona, Stanford, Cal, Oregon and Washington. With so many offers, Rowland is beginning to visit schools to get an idea of what he is looking for in a football program. That process included a Junior Day stop to Tempe, Ariz.

For Rowland, attending Arizona State could be a right of passage as his parents were both Sun Devils, although they have been quick to point out this is Nick's decision.

"They were my first offer," Rowland said. "They are a great school, a great staff and they struggled last year, but they are really young. I am going to their Junior Day in two weeks."

A trip to northern California netted visits to Stanford and Cal.

"I liked both schools," Rowland said. "The campuses were beautiful, the weather was great. I got to see Stanford practice. All the players seemed to be having a good time, but were practicing hard. They were busting their butts, but having a good time doing it."

"I like Cal a lot," Rowland said. "It is a great location in the San Francisco Bay. the weather was incredible and I really liked Memorial Stadium. It is an incredible atmosphere for college football."

Rowland, a member of the 250 - is also hearing from former Arizona State recruiter and current U of Washington Coach Dan Cozzetto, whom he has a strong relationship as well. He will also visit the University of Arizona's spring scrimmage next week. While he grew up in the Pac-10 and is being recruited by several west coast schools, he said he isn't restricting himself to the Pac-10. That works out well for Colorado State, which has offered Rowland a scholarship, but has been out-of-touch lately.

While the recruiting visits are keeping him busy, next up for Rowland is spring football starting in May, where technique is stressed. Rowland plays for Centennial high School - the three-time state champion. Rowland said a fourth state title is not out of the question.

"This could be the best team we've ever had," Rowland said. "We return nine people on offense and five on defense. We were a real young team last year. Seven our our guys have been playing varsity since they were sophomores.

"Success breeds success," Rowland said. "I was a transfer to Centennial. I went to a different school as a freshman and I can tell you our coaching staff is second to none."

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