Defensive tackle Jaleel Fields could feel his heartbeat quicken the first time he spotted a college coach this season, a man dressed in Pitt attire during Week 2.
But by the time he played in the state title game Saturday -- surrounded by several coaches from Pitt and Penn State -- the junior lineman out of Aliquippa (Pa.) didn't mind much. With all the recruiting attention he's received, they just started blending in with the crowd.
"I got nervous in the beginning of the year, but it was just like a regular game there," he said. "I didn't let the nerves get to me. I just hope they liked what they saw. I tried my hardest out there."
The run-stuffer has become accustomed to seeing coaches pop up around Aliquippa, a Pittsburgh suburb. Penn State assistant Charlie Fisher scouted him and a few other teammates during practice last week, and Fields has been approached or contacted by schools ranging from Wisconsin to West Virginia.
Ohio State and Pitt are recruiting him hardest right now. He attended games at both schools, the most recent of which occurred Nov. 24 between Ohio State and Michigan.
Still, he said, he's open to all colleges at this point. But he does hold a few preferences -- and he's hoping to grab an offer from N.C. State, a state where a lot of family members reside.
"Academics are important to me and, wherever I go, I would prefer down South," he said. "But I just need to do more research and look at the best school and talk it all over."
Fisher, dressed in a black jacket, stood on Aliquippa's sideline Saturday and watched Fields and a few other players. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound junior said it's a "possibility" he could attend a camp at Penn State, but hasn't yet visited Happy Valley and had no immediate plans to do so.
"I heard they have a great atmosphere down there," Fields said. "The fans are kinda cool, and they get the place jumping."