Stein, a two-star recruit, already has a pair of scholarship offers from Butler and Drake. But he wants to see what happens with a school that hasn't offered – Northwestern – before he commits anywhere. And that is why his decision is – like a good punt – so up in the air."They haven't offered," Stein said of Northwestern, "but they have told me that they had limited scholarships available. So I am currently being considered to be a preferred walk-on, so that's the point I'm at right now."
And that's where Stein, from Carpinteria, Calif., could be for a while.Stein has already applied to Northwestern, but he likely won't know whether or not he's accepted for a few months. Unless, that is, Northwestern offers him preferred walk-on status, which, according to Stein, would allow the school to streamline the admission process.
"The schools that I do have an offer from I have been accepted to," Stein said. "Admissions-wise, I'm all set with those schools. And I have in fact sent an application to Northwestern. The only problem is they would tell me if I've been admitted in mid-April, and that is too long to wait on other offers."Stein said that he is "on the borderline" of being accepted to Northwestern, which makes his decision even hairier: If he waits to get accepted to Northwestern and doesn't, then he may miss his chance with the other schools that have already offered.
"I don't have an exact deadline (for making a decision)," Stein said, "but you know, within the next three to four weeks, that would be the latest I would wait because I do have other offers. I have offers from schools that I would not want to keep waiting."Even though Stein does not have an official offer or preferred walk-on status, Northwestern is nonetheless interested. The Wildcats had offers out to a pair of other punters who committed elsewhere, leaving Stein as the high-rated punting target.
"I received an email that right now I'm at the top of their punter recruiting…" said Stein, who visited NU last July. "They had two offers out to other guys who they were recruiting, but they said, ‘If those two guys don't commit to us, then we're definitely interested in you.'"Indeed, those guys didn't commit to Northwestern. Mike Sadler (Grand Rapids, Mich.) ended up pledging to Michigan State, and Will Hagerup (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) is committed to Michigan. Each player held an offer from NU, and each passed on the Cats.
So, in steps Stein, right? Well, there are a few hang-ups. First off, Northwestern has yet to officially offer Stein preferred walk-on status, which would give him every opportunity to earn a scholarship within a year or two of arriving in Evanston. And of course, Stein will need the preferred walk-on status to simply navigate the admissions process in time to make a decision."They said that the school allows them to have five preferred walk-on spots," Stein said, "so they're in the process of deciding who those preferred walk on spots go to. But they did say that they're committed to recruiting me."
Whether or not NU is committed enough to offer preferred walk-on status could decide whether or not Stein ends up in Evanston. But despite the uncertainty of his recruitment, Stein doesn't seem upset about the process. Indeed, he said that he'd consider being a preferred walk-on at Northwestern even with guaranteed scholarships elsewhere."(Being a preferred walk-on) would not matter because academics has always been the most important thing to me in terms of college," he said. "If I had the opportunity to earn a scholarship at Northwestern then I would definitely consider that even if I had an offer from other schools."
Stein said that he should hear in the next few weeks whether or not he'll be a preferred walk-on at NU. Until then, everything is up in the air.