- Jared Shanker, College Football
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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Noah Spence has a big family -- his parents Greg and Helen have nine sons -- but he felt more than just his family's support Wednesday when he was awarded his Under Armour Game jersey in a presentation at Bishop McDevitt. It was part of the 80-stop American Family Insurance presents the Under Armour All-America Game selection tour.
"I feel like everybody in the city is supporting me," Spence said.
It doesn't just feel like it, though. They really are.
"The whole city is coming down with us," joked Helen, referencing the large group of family and friends who will travel to St. Petersburg, Fla., for the Under Armour Game on Jan. 5 that will be shown on ESPN.
The Spences are big on family, and that will be the biggest factor in Spence's recruitment, which the No. 4 player in the ESPNU 150 plans to end that night in St. Petersburg.
"Family atmosphere," Spence said is the No. 1 factor he is looking for in a school. "My parents have to like it. I (have to) feel God is involved in the school, and I feel I fit in there, fit into their defense, feel like I can make an impact immediately."
During the summer, Spence named a top seven of Florida, Maryland, NC State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State and USC. He now says that he has re-opened it to include just about everyone again and is wide open.
"At one point I had seven, but schools are coming in, coming out," he said. "There's always something different, something new with coaches, something new with the team, I really don't know.
"... I'm not real sure where I want to go yet. I made a top seven, but watching football on TV, I'm not really decided at all."
On Friday, McDevitt will finally play its first Friday night game of the season. With the Crusaders almost exclusively playing on Saturdays and Sundays, Spence has not been able to visit any schools, which he said is one of the reasons his top seven and recruitment has become more muddled.
Last year, McDevitt's final game was on Dec. 17 and didn't have a single bye week all season. If the Crusaders make it back to the state championship game, that would leave Spence only two weekends before the Under Armour Game, one of which is Christmas weekend.
Still, the plan is for Spence to still announce at the game. Spence has shut down his recruitment since the season started and isn't even speaking with college coaches. So he is looking forward to getting the process over with.
However, that isn't the only thing he is looking forward to on Jan. 5.
"I want to see what kind of gear they got for us," said Spence, whose eyes were being protected from the sun in a cloudless sky by a brand new Under Armour hat.
He is most looking forward to meeting and competing against the country's elite, though, and see where he stacks up against other defensive lineman, such as Eddie Goldman, a friend of Spence's.
"It's definitely going to help me show where I am and what I need to improve in and what I'm already good at," he said.
Jared Shanker covers Midwest recruiting. He can be reached at email@example.com.
During UA Game selection tour, five-star DE Noah Spence says he's no longer down to just seven schools