"(Ian) is always talking about Northwestern," said Schwaba.
Schwaba (6-5, 235) has offers from Northwestern, Akron, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, and Toledo. He's also picked up interest from Boston College, Illinois, Penn State, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others.
While Schwaba has a number of offers, it's not enough to begin ranking schools. However, Northwestern is a school that is "up there" on his list.
Schwaba grew up in nearby Wilmette, and remembers going to Northwestern's campus as a kid. For the tight end, the Northwestern offer is a big one.
"It was very important to me," Schwaba said. "It's my first Big Ten offer and right by my hometown. It's great—one of my biggest offers so far."
A couple of things make the Northwestern offer stand high on his list.
"It's a program on the rise," Schwaba said. "Pat Fitzgerald is an amazing coach. The academics at the school are top-notch. It's borderline Ivy League. If I got a degree from Northwestern, I'd be set."
Schwaba has been frequently hearing from Northwestern assistant coach Adam Cushing—his main recruiter, and Northwestern superbacks coach Bob Heffner.
In his conversations with Coach Heffner, Schwaba has learned what it is like to be a "superback" in Northwestern's offense, as opposed to being a tight end.
"To me, it means that I'm a very important part of the Northwestern offense," Schwaba said. "Superbacks are a key role in each play. I'd be a very involved, well-balanced player."
In June, Schwaba is set to visit Northwestern's campus for the first time since he lived in Wilmette. He will fly in on June 20th, and spend a few days in Evanston. In that trip, he hopes to meet with Pat Fitzgerald and the coaching staff, and visit the campus.
"I know it's a very beautiful campus," Schwaba said. "It's right on the beach by Lake Michigan. That's really all I know. I can't wait to see it for myself."
Schwaba is still in the early stages of the evaluation process, but one thing stands out as a must-have for the perfect school.
"The big one is early playing time," Schwaba said. "I'm not the kind of player who likes to sit on the bench. Not saying I start right away, but I want to make an impact early—either on offense or special teams. That's important to me. Academics are important to me as well."
Schwaba hopes to further evaluate each of his options before making a decision, and the first step with that is visiting each school. After a summer of trips is completed, he hopes to make his commitment either at the end of the summer or beginning of the fall.
As a junior, Schwaba helped his Panthers to an 8-3 overall record and a deep run in the WPIAL High School Playoffs.