While the rest of us wish for less snow and more holiday shopping time, it's a different list for high school seniors.
College applocations are in, decisions are still up in the air as 2011 comes to a close.
For five key contributors to Lake Forest High School's conference championship football season, four are still deciding on their collegiate destination next year.
Here is a status update on all five:
- Nick Keefe, safety:
If Santa is good to the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder, he will be enjoying surf and turf for the next four years.
The University of San Diego is Keefe's first choice. He hopes to be unwrapping an acceptance letter sometime after Jan. 1.
"I'm talking to them every day right now, and they are in the process of taking my transcript to admissions," said Keefe. "If all goes well, I will get in offer after that."
USD is a non-scholarship NCAA Division 1-AA program. They operate much like Ivy League schools when it comes to recruiting. While technically they cannot offer scholarships based on athletic ability, they do provide merit-based money if you give them a good enough reason. Keefe is banking on his grades, test scores and football ability providing that good reason for the school to extend an offer.
Keefe has six Division 2 offers and is considering walking on at Miami of Ohio (where his brother Max is on the football team) and Tulane University (New Orleans). But his dream is to be able to play football and when the game's over, play on the beach. That sounds pretty good this time of year.
"I know I can play at the Division 1 level. I know where I want to go," said Keefe. "I want them and they want me."
- Brandt Pfeifer, linebacker:
Things are a bit more muddled for the Scouts 6-2, 220-pound playmaker. Pfeifer, who could start as a freshman on a number of Division 2 or 3 programs, decided he wants to play only D1. This limits his options, which are down to four or five schools at this point.
"I want to play at the highest level," said Pfeifer.
The schools in the mix are Indiana, Ball State (Muncie, Ind.), Eastern Michigan (Ypsilanti, Mich.) and Kent State (Kent, Ohio).
His top choice now is Kent State, which has offered him a preferred walk-on status. This is a recruting tool used by many Division 1 programs to get athletes like Pfeifer enrolled. They are treated the same as scholarship athletes, only they must pay their way through school. If a spot opens up and the athlete plays well enough, they have a good chance of earning a scholarship by their junior year.
This is what Kent State, Eastern Michigan and Ball State have told Pfeifer.
"They don't give them to anybody. I'm excited about it," said Pfeifer. "I know going into sophomore year I could get a partial or a full (scholarship)."
A chance to play at Indiana would be a best-case senario. Because of their status, Pfeifer will have to wait until after signing day in February to be offered a preferred walk-on with the Hoosiers. In the meantime, he will take his visits in January and stay in touch with all of the schools. If there's one thing he's learned, persistence is everything in recruiting.
"Getting noticed is the biggest thing. Even if you email them five or 10 times and get no response, these coaches get so many emails, you have to stay in contact," said Pfeifer.
- Owen Williams, running back.
Inside the Huddle was unable to touch base with the Scouts' team MVP. When we last spoke in November, the University of Pennsylvania was his first choice. Williams was also in the mix with other Ivy schools like Bucknell (Lewisburg, Penn.), Dartmouth (Hanover, NH) and Yale (New Haven, Conn.). He was also talking to Division 1-AA schools Drake (Des Moines, Iowa) and Butler (Indianapolis).
- Jordan Beck, quarterback.
Lake Forest's offensive MVP appears to be healed from an elbow injury suffered during the season. Last we heard, he had applied to the U.S. Military Academy (West Point, NY), according to his dad, Dan, and coach Chuck Spagnoli.
- Bo Dever, wide receiver.
While his teammates are scrambling to figure out where they are going, Bo already knows. It's the University of Michigan, where he committed in June. Lately, it's just rehab work for the 6-2, 200-pounder, who tore his right ACL in a game in early October.
"I'm doing a lot of exercises that don't involve my knee," said Dever. "I'm hoping to be cleared to start jogging by (early) January."
Dever said the sting of missing the second half of his team's season was softened by his already knowing what lay ahead.
"It's made me work harder and get to the gym every day," said Dever. "I've always had a positive outlook."
Watching his teammates figure out where they will begin the next phase of their lives has reaffirmed his decision to commit to Michigan when he did.
"I really just wanted to get that over with and have that done before the school year," said Dever.
For Dever, Christmas came in June.