"It's good talking every time I chat with them," said Tanner, a Columbus, Ohio, native. "They're definitely one of the schools I communicate with the most."
The 6-1, 190-pound Tanner talks regularly with either Pat Fitzgerald or running backs coach Matt MacPherson, who handles much of the recruiting in Ohio. According to Tanner, Northwestern is recruiting him at least as zealously as anyone else.
"They're def recruiting me hard," Tanner said of NU. "I talk to them on a weekly basis. I have a good relationship with them and their staff. They're really interested in me, and I'm interested in them….
"They told me I'm their top prospect for safety. They let me know that they really want me, that I'm special and that I could really help their program."In addition to Northwestern, Tanner also has offers from Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Stanford and more.
Tanner says he plans to visit Northwestern sometime this spring. In addition, he is also planning trips to Pittsburgh, Ohio State and Purdue, each of which seemed all but set in stone. Possible trips to Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois were in the offing, as well.
Tanner, who tallied 83 tackles and seven interceptions last season as a junior, has already made his way to Evanston, stopping by last fall for the Penn State game."The coaches were real cool, the staff, the fans, the whole community," Tanner said. "It's definitely somewhere I feel like I could fit in."
As is the case with most Northwestern recruits, Tanner's college choice won't be based solely on football."Academics are definitely key in my decision," Tanner, who has a 3.8 GPA, said. "Northwestern definitely displays excellent academics, just graduating so many of their football players, and a Northwestern degree takes you far after football.
"Football only takes you so far, even if you go pro. So definitely the academic prestige – that's what's going to set me up for the rest of my life. That's the focus, definitely, outside of playing for a good team, a good staff."Tanner admits an affinity for the Big Ten, but says that there are "other powerhouse conferences out there." He also says that there isn't a short-list of candidates or a timetable for making a decision.
"Sometimes I say I want to get it over with before the season, but I really don't know when. Whenever I feel 100 percent sure, that's when I'll make that decision."A lot, therefore, is still up in the air. But in the meantime, expect that Northwestern and Tanner will keep in touch.
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