Playing on St. Peters Prep in Jersey City (N.J.), senior wide receiver Masaki Aerts has the luxury of working with a high-profile team. As a result, Aerts has visited several colleges on the East Coast, such as Boston College, Yale and Penn. Those schools are all known for their academic prestige, and Aerts knows where he wants to focus his energies as a recruit.
“At this point I’ve narrowed all of my schools to within the Ivy League,” Aerts told Today’s U. “A few more are still in talks. There are also some schools waiting on tape from my first few games from next season.”
Those schools in question are Princeton and Villanova, although Aerts indicated that he wants to make a verbal commitment “before the regular season starts.”
If his recruitment remains unchanged from now to when he plans to announce his collegiate decision, the New Jersey wideout would decide between Dartmouth and Cornell. These two programs felt comfortable offering Aerts after seeing him in person this summer at camp. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound athlete broke down how his offseason has progressed.
“It’s gone really well,” Aerts said. “As a team, we’ve been grinding in the weight room and conditioning ourselves since January. Camp season just got started off this week and we’ve been working hard to be a well oiled and cohesive unit. We’re excited about our potential and have big plans for the season. Personally, I’ve finished up all my camps and as a result have received two Ivy League offers from Dartmouth and Cornell. I’ve set high expectations for myself this year.”
When it comes to making the call on which college to commit to, Aerts is placing a priority on strong academics; a program with a winning record; and a foundation of coaches and players he feels he can bond with.
Judging from his highlight tape, which can be viewed here, Aerts is typically used on the outside but is more than comfortable going across the middle and making tough catches. Many of the grabs on his tape come off slants or other routes directed toward the middle of the field to target a zone defense. He shows strong hands and fights for tough yardage after the catch, qualities that surely stood out when camping at both Dartmouth and Cornell.
“This offseason I’ve been trying to be more consistent in all aspects of my game,” Aerts said. “I’ve also been working on diversifying my route running and taking it to a more complex level. By this I mean trying to confuse my defenders into believing I’m running a different route than I really am, and create opportunities for myself to get open for my quarterbacks.”
Once he commits before his senior season begins, the wide receiver will have an opportunity to take official visits, five to be exact. Will he visit schools other than the one he commits to on an official basis? Aerts is unsure.
“I haven’t given it much thought to this point,” he said. “I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”
Aerts snagged three touchdown receptions last season, but he hopes to top that number as his team shoots for a state championship for the 2016 season.