Mike Cruz the 6-foot-3, 245-pound three-star tight end from Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, Pa., continues to deny a favorite. Earlier this year Cruz had committed to Pittsburgh, but quickly changed his mind, citing that he needed to visit some more schools before making a final decision.
Cruz, Scout.com's No. 22 tight end, says he likes Florida State, Clemson, Pittsburgh, Illinois and West Virginia. All five have offered (35 total). The only official visit he has set up thus far is to West Virginia for Dec. 8.
"They (West Virginia) have been a top team for the last few years," Cruz said. "They have a great offense."
Cruz says he always followed local favorite Pittsburgh. "They are close to home (under two hours away) and I've always liked the players and the team chemistry they have," he said. "Especially now the team seems to have a great bond and the coaches really care about the players. I have a great relationship with them and know a few guys on the team already."
Although the Panthers are close, Cruz denies that distance will be a factor. "My dad wants me to stay close, but my mom likes the South. She likes the warmer weather and thinks the SEC is a great conference."
One of those southern schools that Cruz is considering is Florida State. "I really like the state of Florida a lot," he said. "It's a great place and they have a great reputation. Coach Bobby Bowden is a really cool dude. He's been around and seen it all. He's been through everything with his team and they are still improving. He's smart and has sent a lot of guys to the NFL and I think they'll get back on top."
Besides coach Bowden, Cruz also describes Illinois coach Ron Zook as a "cool dude."
"Coach Zook is cool," he said. "I like him a lot. I also really like how well they are doing. He's done a great job with that team and they should be even better next year. They played a lot of true freshman this year and I think I'd be able to play early there."
Although it wasn't an official visit, Cruz says he's already visited Clemson. "I really liked it," he said. "It's a great environment."
Cruz says he's in no rush to make a decision. "I'm still really open and haven't been thinking about college much," he admitted. "We're in the playoffs and I'm just trying to focus on my team. I'm not too worried about where I go to college because I can't really go wrong with any of these schools.
"I just want to find a team where I can be a playmaker and make a real difference."
Cruz has seven receptions for 135 yards and three touchdowns for his 9-1 team. "I'm good at catching the ball, but I'm also a great blocker," he said. "I'm just a good athlete overall and have great hands.
"I still want to improve my speed and movement, but I feel like I can improve on every part of my game."
His brother, Jose Cruz, is a sophomore tight end for Akron.
He reports a 3.4 core GPA and an 890 SAT.