"It was a great time," said Tanner Kearns. "I've never really been up top Chicago. I've never realized how close it was to the water. The campus is beautiful, being right on the water with Lake Michigan. I like Coach Fitzgerald and Coach Heffner. They seem like nice guys. It was a great time."
One of the highlights of the Lexington, Ohio native's trip was seeing the windy city, something which he's never been able to do.
"I've seen Chicago in movies and stuff, but I've never seen Chicago," he said. "Getting to see Chicago was a breathtaking experience. I really enjoyed that."
During practice, Kearns spent his time watching how the coaches run practice. When it was over, he got to talk to superbacks coach Bob Heffner and head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
"Coach Heff seemed like someone that you can talk to," Kearns said. "He's funny, he really enjoys being around his players, and he seems like a great guy. Coach Fitzgerald seemed intense, but not in a bad way. He seemed like he knew what he was doing."
While talking with the coaching staff, Kearns learned a little bit about where he stands among the NU tight end prospects.
"They told me that I was really high up on their list, and they're going to talk things over before they do anything," he said.
The thing that stood out the most of Kearns' trip with the small town feel of Evanston and the big city feel of Chicago. The combination is what left him impressed.
As his recruitment picks up, Kearns is beginning to gain more interest. His two offers are from Central Michigan and Toledo, and his main interest has come from Northwestern along with Cincinnati, Indiana, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and others. But after his visit to Evanston, Kearns says Northwestern is right up in his top-three.
As Kearns evaluates his options, he already knows what to look for in a school
"I'd probably say academics are number one," Kearns said. "Then the coaching staff, I want to feel comfortable with who I'm with. I don't want to go somewhere where it's winning and not caring about you as a person, I want them to care about me."
As a junior in 2010, Kearns caught 25 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns, but those numbers were slightly hurt by the loss of Lexington's star quarterback. After that injury, LHS became primarily a running team. Off the field, Kearns carries a 3.6 grade point average.