Although the season ended premature and without a playoff berth for Jaleel Hytchye (Cincinnati/La Salle), the senior cornerback made great strides in his final high school season. With his senior tape already sent to prospective colleges, the feedback from coaches has been nothing but positive.
"The coaches that got my senior tape, they said I improved so much and are so excited for me to come and make an early contribution," Hytchye said.
A four-star prospect and the No. 23 cornerback nationally, Hytchye did not see much attention his way from opposing quarterbacks this season. So much of the improvements he made are on the mental side of the game.
Hytchye played in a 3-3-5 defense previously before switching to a 4-3 during the middle of the season. He said that will help him get accustomed to college defenses quicker, as the 4-3 is the base defense for several programs. He is more adept at reading offenses and quarterbacks, and he also switched up his stance, which has allowed him to break quicker and break up more passes.
Penn State, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin have all seen Hytchye's senior tape, and the Badgers are the only program of the three yet to offer. That could change if and when Hytchye makes an official visit to Wisconsin. There is a chance a visit could be set up this week, as Hytchye expects a visit to his school this week from the Badgers coaches.
"They want to get me up to campus," he said. "On their bye week they're sending people down."
Hytchye said he is pretty sure he would receive an offer if he visited, but he is not 100 percent positive he will. He would like to visit, but if he commits on a visit before a trip to Madison he would stop making visits.
One of his first visits will go to Northwestern, and that visit could happen the weekend of Dec. 7. Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald and assistant Randy Bates were in to see Hytchye on Tuesday. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Hytchye is high on the Wildcats coaches and likes that they have been patient with him as he continues to let the process play out. He understands his spot could be taken, but the Wildcats are not pressuring him.
Northwestern received an unofficial visit from Hytchye, but he still wants to see a little more from Northwestern.
"I felt like last time I enjoyed the visit but wasn't sure if Northwestern was the right fit for me, so I need to see the people on campus and hang out with the guys and talk to some of the players," he said. "The players were on break last time I was up."
Pittsburgh is in line to receive the first official visit, which would take place the weekend of Nov. 30.
"I love the Pitt coaching staff. I like Coach [Paul] Chryst and Coach [Joe] Rudolph. I want to get back there," Hytchye said.
Hytchye could also visit Kentucky, but he is concerned about Joker Phillips' job security. Hytchye might wait until Phillips' future is determined before deciding on a visit.
Penn State offered Hytchye not long ago, and the No. 20 player overall in Ohio likes Penn State, but the sanctions still scare him off. Under different circumstances, Hytchye said the Nittany Lions would likely have received more consideration.
"I know they're doing good and all," he said, "but I always imagined playing in a big bowl game."
Arizona State is also in the mix for Hytchye, as is Cincinnati. Bearcats coach Butch Jones talks with Hytchye on a weekly basis, but Hytchye wants to get away for college.