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Monday, January 23, 2006 - Page updated at 07:16 PM

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Information in this article, originally published January 19, was corrected January 23. A previous version of this story contained an error. Stephen Schilling of Bellevue High School plans to announce Friday where he plans to play college football. An article Thursday gave an incorrect date.

Recruiting

Bellevue football recruit Schilling sketches schedule

Seattle Times staff reporter

Stephen Schilling was eating dinner in a restaurant the other night with a friend, discussing, as he put it, "the whole college thing."

Suddenly he looked up and rising from behind his booth was a sign that said simply "UW."

"I guess they overheard my conversation," said Schilling, a Bellevue High offensive lineman who is the top player in the state yet to commit to a school, and among the highest-rated undecided prospects in the nation. "I just laugh at stuff like that."

Soon, he won't have to worry about being bothered anymore.

Schilling said Wednesday he will announce his decision Jan. 27. He is considering four schools — UW, California, Michigan and USC — but said he will narrow his field to two by early next week.

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Schilling took official recruiting visits to Cal and Michigan in December, visited UW last weekend, and will visit USC this weekend.

As has been his manner throughout, he gives no hints about which way he may be leaning. He said he will wait until after his USC visit to begin comparing schools.

Schilling was hosted on his UW visit by Huskies linebacker E.J. Savannah, who also played at Bellevue.

"It was fun," Schilling said. "I had a good time."

Other than that, he offers few clues about what he's thinking about UW.

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Long before the sign at the restaurant, Schilling was aware of how important he is to UW's recruiting efforts this year, the first full class being assembled by coach Tyrone Willingham.

"The coaches tell me how important I am and how much they need me," Schilling said. "I get a lot of people saying stuff to me around this community, telling me to go there. All that stuff is funny to me. I just laugh it off. I'm going to make the decision that is the best one for me."

In recruiting circles, Schilling's value to UW only rose this week after the Huskies lost out on two other key recruits who initially said they were likely headed to Seattle — running back James Montgomery of Rancho Cordova, Calif., and offensive lineman Cody Pope of San Diego.

Schilling said he has become friends with Montgomery and talked with him about his decision to go to Cal.

"He just said it was a better fit for him and his family," Schilling said. "But that kind of stuff doesn't really influence my decision."

Neither, he said, is the recent push from USC's coaches that he is needed more than ever now that the Trojans have lost two linemen early to the NFL.

"I think I'll know the place where I felt the best," Schilling said.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

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