Oakton (Va.) Flint Hill School kicker Justin Duenkel camped at Virginia Tech this Summer, and returned for an unofficial visit for the Old Dominion game. While he enjoyed seeing campus the first time around, getting to see the gameday atmosphere was an animal all it own.
"This past summer at camp I saw all of the athletic facilities," he said. "Last spring when my sister played lacrosse against VT, I was able to go to the football facility as well - she plays for JMU.
"[This time], I was able to walk through campus with my family to get to the football center. There was a pre-game luncheon in the indoor facility where they sat my family in the tables up front to meet the coaches. The indoor facility is really nice, and great for special teamers. The best part was watching the game. We were on the 50-yard line and walking through the tunnel was awesome. I loved Enter Sandman. I like Joey Slye; he was really cool to me at camp."
Since Duenkel was already familiar with some aspects of Blacksburg - and the coaching staff - through his stop for camp over the Summer, getting new experiences was an important part of this trip. Seeing a game in action, with all the pomp and circumstance around it, played a big role in his enjoyment.
It was also important for him to get a chance to talk to the coaches, to gauge their interest in him and build a relationship.
"I had just played the night before and we talked about the game," he said of his conversations with the coaches. "We beat [Richmond] Collegiate who was the state champs. I had two big 40 yard field goals, and seven touchbacks on eight kickoffs, most through the end zone.
"I was really excited about the Tech game and we talked about that. They were all so nice."
Duenkel is being proactive in getting his name out on the recruiting trail. He attended camps at a number of schools this Summer, and has made tentative plans for several campus visits as soon as possible. His high school football schedule - which includes plenty of weekend games - makes that a little tough.
"I have visited Penn State, and have been in contact with a number of others including UVA, ODU, and JMU," he said. "Some of my films got sent to Alabama and they have interest. I went to camp this past summer at Penn State, UVA, WVU, JMU, and ODU. I did really well so they have all been in contact.
"I am planning on going to UVA, and tentatively going to Alabama but since my games are on Saturdays, it will be hard. Possibly going to JMU based on game timing to get down there."
With the number of schools returning his interest, it should only be a matter of time before Duenkel - who also plays middle linebacker for his high school team - starts to rack up major-college opportunities.