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Northeast Pass-Catcher Ayomanor Focused on Three Schools, Nearing a Decision

2022 Deerfield Academy (Mass.) wide receiver Elic Ayomanor discusses his finalists ahead of looming decision

6'3", 205-pound Deerfield (Mass.) wide receiver Elic Ayomanor took five official visits when the recruiting world re-opened in June, including stops at Cal, Notre Dame, Stanford, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. 

A final decision now approaches.

With time to reflect on each stop, Ayomanor has narrowed his focus and is working towards making his college decision. The versatile pass-catcher provides the latest in his recruitment with SI All-American. 

"Getting to see everyone person-to-person was a whole new ballgame," Ayomanor said about the busy month of June. "Especially starting out with official visits. They treat you really well, and you get to see so much on those visits, which is a really great part. Just getting to meet the coaches in person for the first time, finally, was another really good experience because it had only been zoom calls up until then, so it was a really good experience to see people in the flesh as opposed to on the phone." 

The academic standpoint is essential for Ayomanor, and it was a focus of those official visits. 

"Going in, that was a big part of what I wanted to see in a school," he said. "All of the visits I went on, they did a really good job of pooling their resources and showing me more of the academic pieces. At Tennessee, I think it was the head of the Biology department, I got a separate meeting with her, and she showed me around their biology building. All of the other schools did very similar things to show me that they had outstanding academics. I appreciated that part of all of those schools."

Each official visit gave the standout pass-catcher plenty to think about, and he has since narrowed his focus to Cal, Stanford and Tennessee. 

"Most of all, I think they make you feel like family there," Ayomanor said of Cal being one of his finalists. "You can't really miss on academics, and that is a huge part, but the family feel they had there was really incredible. I thought that was kind of their number one priority when I went there, and I was the only one on my visit, so I really got a feel for what Coach (Burl) Toler was like and Coach (Michael) Bruno, which was really great. I had a whole bunch of meetings with the head coach, so I thought it was a really inclusive visit and something I really enjoyed."

Staying in the Golden State, Stanford unfolded their plans for Ayomanor and remain a serious option for him down the stretch of his recruitment. 

"The academics, again, you can't miss," he said. " They are consistently in the top five, so that was not a concern for me going into the visit for me. When I went there, they did a really good job of presenting what they have on the football field as well. I watched a lot of film with the coaches and was really impressed with what they were doing. I felt that I could fit into their system, and it would work for me. I was really impressed there because I think it was an all-around great school and staff. The coaching staff was great, and they had that family feel just like Cal and Tennessee. Then the academics are top five every year. All of it was really good."

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The new staff at Tennessee is working to flip the culture under Josh Heupel, but Ayomanor believes they have already established that family feel in Knoxville. 

"Again, this is why they are in the top three; it was a family feel," Ayomanor said about the Vols. "The new staff did a really good job of creating that. I think they are a long way into it already being built. Although they are not as highly ranked as Cal and Stanford academically, I think a big part of Tennessee Football in itself brings a lot of connections in the academic world because it's Tennessee and you play football there. I think from a networking standpoint, which is what you get at those high academic institutions, it checks the boxes there because it is an SEC school and it does have a lot of networking opportunities there."

One of the pitches from Tennessee included showing Ayomanor what walk-on wide receiver Grant Frerking has done as a Volunteer, which includes running a million-dollar business and recently becoming the face of NILU at ON3 sports. 

"I got a lot of that," Ayomanor said. "They mentioned that he was going to be working with NILU, and another big thing was they just showed me the connections that they could provide to me. I want to be a dentist, and they got me in contact with a bunch of opportunities. Their team dentist, I had a meeting with him. Coach (Kodi) Burns connected me with some of the dentists he has had from players before, and they just did a good job of showing me that they network just like the higher academic schools, so that is what I was most impressed by." 

With three remaining contenders, Ayomanor is in decision mode, and it could come within the next couple of weeks. 

"I haven't made a specific date yet," he said. "I am going to start calling the coaches within the next week of when I am going to make a decision, so it should be really soon."

So what is it going to come down for in the coming weeks for Ayomanor?

"We have kind of already gone through the checklist," he said. "So right now, it is really going to be how I feel in my guy. My mom said at the end of the day that she knows where she wants me to go, but she wants me to go where I want to go, so leaving it up to me and just saying go with what you want to do." 

Whenever the time comes, Ayomanor provided insight on what he thinks his commitment will bring to the team he pledges to. 

"The thing that I think is that I am somebody that is going to outwork everybody," he said. "I am going to be a non-verbal leader, and by that, I mean that everybody is going to see me working and want to work as well. I am going to contribute to that hard-working environment and contribute to the success of a program. At the end of the day, that is what success is built off of."