Tight end A.J. Branisel might be one of the more unknown prospects in Ohio, but that is quickly changing. The Chardon Notre Dame Cathedral Latin athlete has hit the recruiting radar of college programs.
"I had a good season as a junior, and I think I played well for the most part," Branisel stated. "I caught a lot of balls in our offense, and I blocked well when asked to do that. Overall, I would call it a solid junior season."
Branisel, 6-foot-4, 225-pounds, caught 35 passes for 536 yards, and scored six touchdowns for Cathedral Latin. His film shows a player with the speed and athleticism to get open down the seam against the defense.
"I would say I am an athletic receiver that plays tight end, but I'm able to play in the slot or outside," he explained. "I want to work on getting bigger and stronger, and I'm in the weight room trying to make that happen."
His recruitment has taken off recently, and Branisel holds offers from Toledo, Kent State, Northern Illinois and Missouri.
"Recruiting is going great," Branisel stressed. "I have four offers, and the Missouri offer really excited me. My head coach knows a lot of college coaches, and he spoke to Missouri about me. I called them last Thursday, and their tight end coach gave me the offer."
"The Missouri offer means a lot, and it proves I can play football at the BCS level," he noted. "If I continue to work hard at getting better, I'm hopeful there will be more offers at that level."
Missouri isn't the only BCS school interested in Branisel, as he is in contact with several top programs.
"I'm hearing from Cincinnati, Illinois, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan State and Louisville," he said. "I've been to Illinois for a junior day, and it was really nice. The coaches are great and they're still evaluating their tight ends."
"I've talked to Coach (Mike) Vrabel at Ohio State, because he's from my area, but I'm being recruited by Coach (Stan) Drayton," he continued. "Ohio State wants me to come down and visit for the spring game, so I will probably do that. Louisville is a school I'm interested in, and I speak with (head coach) Charlie Strong often. I also want to learn more about Michigan State, and they've been talking mostly to my coach."