Sharon Davis knew her son, Eddie Goldman, was a good football player. She just didn't know how great a prospect he was.
"I don't know a lot about football," she said. "I've learned a lot these last couple of years."
Davis' latest lesson has been about recruiting. Davis knew that football would afford her son special opportunities, but she never realized just how bright his future on the gridiron could be. That all changed when the two took an official visit to Florida State in September.
"We sat and listened to the coaches talk about him," Davis said. "That's when I kind of realized how serious it was."
Goldman, a five-star defensive tackle from Washington (D.C.) Friendship, still remembers his mother's reaction.
"She was overwhelmed because that was the first official visit she went on and the first college game she's been to," Goldman said. "She didn't really know how to react. She didn't really know what to say."
The family still remembers the student section chanting for Goldman and holding up signs bearing his name. The visit definitely left an impact, although it's one that Goldman recalls with caution.
"Recruiting isn't real," Goldman said. "It's just people showing you their best. It's not how it's going to be when you go down there. I've still got to remind myself how good it was, but at the same time know that that's not how it's going to be when I go down there."
After official visits to Auburn, Alabama and Miami, Goldman's family is a bit more hardened to the sights and sounds of an official visit. Emotions won't likely play a part, but it's natural to wonder if distance from home might. Goldman admitted it would be difficult for his mother to see him if he played football far from home, but he hesitated to say that would be a strong factor in his decision.
"It's just a game," he said. "If she can't see it, she can't see it. She always came to all of my high school games so there would be a part missing because she's not there, but it's not a concern."
Goldman has it narrowed down to Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Miami, and one thing is certain: His mom and the rest of the family will play a key role in the decision.
"She's always been active [in recruiting]," he said. "She's definitely going to influence my decision, as well as my grandmother, my aunt and my father."
Davis has watched her son mature in the recruiting process. He's more comfortable now with interviews. Still, she said he's understandably growing tired of the recruiting process, and there is some talk that he could make his decision before national signing day.
"I think he's getting a little tired, but it's just something that we're working through," Davis said. "I just have to constantly remind him that come February it's going to all be over, so just bear with it."
Wise advice. Especially from someone who was once taken aback by her son's recruitment.
"I had to learn everything," Davis admitted. "The only thing that I knew about football was a touchdown. Now I pretty much know his position, the kind of thing he does and what's good and what's bad."
Dave Hooker covers Southeast and Atlantic Coast recruiting. He has covered recruiting and college football for more than a decade. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.