Perception often does not mirror reality. It’s frequently true in the fast-moving race of recruiting.
When Iowa offered Mason Stokke a scholarship last month, it was assumed to be the clear leader for his services. Much of that speculation came from his Menomonie (WI) High teammate Nate Stanley already being committed to the Hawkeyes.
Stokke and Stanley visited Iowa together on Wednesday. Anticipation surfaced that it could be the day when duo would link up their college commitments.
Stokke tapped the breaks on that notion.
"It definitely would be cool to play with Nate, but I’m going to the school that’s best for me individually," Stokke said.
Stokke, an outside linebacker and outstanding wrestler, has no timeline for a decision.
"I don’t know when that will happen. I’m still going to keep all my options open," he said.
Army, Western Illinois and Northern Illinois also have offered scholarships to the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Stokke, he reports. The in-state Badgers have been involved with him as well.
"Yeah, I plan to visit Wisconsin in a couple weeks or so," he said.
While Iowa didn’t gain a commitment from Stokke, it impacted him when he saw it up close.
"I was impressed by the facilities. I also thought the coaches were good quality people," he said. "The coaches did a good job of showing off the new facilities and we watched a practice. They answered all my questions when I was touring the campus as well."
Stokke led Menomonie in tackles last fall, earning all-conference honors. He intercepted three passes, recovered four fumbles and contributed about 500 yards rushing as a running back.
Stokke said he felt familiar with concepts the Iowa linebackers discussed in a position meeting he attended Wednesday.
"I noticed some of the stuff they were talking about. I see myself fitting in very good. I tried to compare myself to some of the linebackers while I was watching practice and I think I would fit in good," he said.
Stokke said he’s not favoring any schools at the moment and that he’s interested in all of the programs that have offered him a scholarship along with Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes are firmly in the mix.
"It was a great visit. I am very interested in Iowa," he said.
Stokke won the 195-pound state championship in wrestling last month, completing his junior season at 44-0. The wrestling-football combination has a history of working well for football players at Iowa.