It's hard to miss Deone Walker.
Arguably the top uncommitted recruit in the state of Michigan, the two-way lineman burst onto the radar long ago thanks to versatility and a massive 6'6", 340-plus pound frame.
Now, college football programs are fighting for visit dates centered around the two-way lineman ahead of the Early Signing Period, which kicks off December 15. The Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech star wants to be locked into a program by then.
While there is no final group of contenders for Walker, there are a handful of programs with staying power in the race for his services. It was recently shaping up to be a top four but recent events are widening the window for a fifth program, as it currently stands.
"It might be one headed back into the conversation," Walker told SI All-American Thursday evening. "I'll say Oregon is knocking on the door. Missouri, Michigan, Kentucky and Alabama have been there.
"I haven't been to Oregon. I've always been cool with Coach (Joe) Salave'a but what has them creeping up the list is their D-line play throughout the season for real."
If there is a program trending in another direction on the fluid list and it may be the one he knows best. The in-state Michigan Wolverines have a strong class of 2022 but there was a parting of ways with elite edge prospect Mario Eugenio, who Walker is close to, that became public on Thursday.
Eugenio expresses a desire to play with Walker at the next level, something each again commented on through Twitter on Thursday, and it appears UM won't be a possibility for that potential package deal.
Jim Harbaugh's staff was in contact with Walker Thursday but it was not related to Eugenio's decommitment.
"Before today I was towards Michigan, I'd say," he said. "I mess with Coach Clink (Steve Clinkscale), who came from Kentucky, I mess with Coach (Shaun) Nua and my family likes Coach Nua, Coach Clink, Coach Harbaugh, Coach (Ron) Bellamy. I thought it was a family environment. It's not looking all that right, right now."
The Wolverines remain in the running for Walker, however. He spent last weekend watching Clinkscale's former program get a big win over Florida.
"Kentucky was great," he said. "Their fans are hype. There wasn't really a dull moment when I was there. Coach (Eric) Wolford is real, Coach (Anwar) Stewart has been talking some and Coach (Brad) White, also."
The next big trip will be an official visit to Missouri next weekend. The Texas A&M Aggies will be in town.
"I feel like my connection with Coach (Marcus) Johnson and Coach Drink (Eli Drinkwitz), even with what Devin Nicholson, their starting LB, has been telling me -- I just hear only good things about them," Walker said.
Kentucky is likely to get an official visit at the tail end of the contact period in December, potentially the final weekend before prospects can sign a National Letter of Intent.
Alabama could receive a game day visit, too, though the logistics are still to be sorted out.
"They're the most winning program in college history," Walker said. "They have great production, they have a great D-line coach, Coach (Freddie) Roach, they have a great system, great player development, all that. It's old school.
"Missouri, their training facility is all renovated and all. At Alabama, I went to one of their camps, and it's not as high-tech as everyone else's. It's more built to put work in, and I like that."
Game visits are part of the evaluation process for Walker with about two month remaining to make his pick. In between, absorbing recruiting pitches at both offensive line and defensive line figure to be key in where he signs, too.
"I'm leaning toward D-line but I still want the option," he said. "Most schools are recruiting me for both. 'Bama thinks I have more upside at O-line. Missouri is leaning O-line.
"I don't really know what position I want to play in college, still, but I want to be open to both."
Cass Tech travels to Detroit (Mich.) Western International on Friday night.