When Washington High School football star David Perkins got home from a trip to Ohio State Sunday he had a lot to think about.
His football future. His broken commitment to Notre Dame months earlier. His position on the football field. His position geographically in relation to his family. Academics. Life beyond football. His coaches. His family and friends.
And thus is the life of a highly recruited football star in need of a school to call 'home.'
"It was really stressful," Perkins said. "Especially after committing to Notre Dame and then de-committing. Taking visits and stuff you're wondering, will I like the next school? How will this visit be?"
For Perkins, the stress was relieved on Wednesday when he admitted to the world that the answer to all of the aforementioned questions was Ohio State University.
"After I got home from my visit, Sunday night, I was like, I really enjoyed it. I didn't want to leave," said Perkins, whose skills on both sides of the ball lead Washington to the 4A State Finals this season. "I just loved the coaches, I loved the people and everything, and the next day I was just sitting there thinking the whole day.
"Then you know, comparing them to the other schools and how much I enjoyed myself and how comfortable I was there, and all of the things I want in a school, they fit the bill perfectly."
Perkins played both linebacker and running back for the Panthers but says Buckeye coach Urban Meyer sees his future at the linebacker position. And Perkins is just fine with that.
"That's what I want to play. I couldn't see myself playing running back, being a big back, taking all those hits all the time," he explained. "I'd rather just be able to go after the QB's and go and hit some folks."
And of course, the four-star recruit will be playing for a coach widely considered a five-star among college football minds in Meyer.
"He's a great coach. He's a great person, " Perkins said. "Talking to him, you can tell how fiery he is about what he does. I'm the same way. I love the game. He has a lot of wisdom and knowledge of the game and being able to play under him and learn from him is going to be a great opportunity."
While Perkins is still focusing on football, he also realizes how important a college decision is off the gridiron.
"Ultimately, I want to be successful," said Perkins. "Nobody is promised to go on to the NFL, so you've got to have that education to fall back on. When I'm done, my degree will be able to take me a lot of places."
Ohio State stood out for Perkins not just because of its high academic reputation, but also for the support they lend to student athletes. "If you go there and fail," he said, "it's because you wanted to fail. They support their players so well."
Perkins doesn't want to fail. While he's finally achieved one goal of attending a top-notch school, he's got a few more to to knock down.
"I want to graduate with my degree, I want to win a National Championship, I want to win the Heisman, and then after that, I want to be a coach."
And when it comes down to game time in Columbus, Perkins says he wont forget where he came from.
"I love this place, " he said of Washington High School and South Bend. "All of the people here supported me and I love all the people here."