John Lovett concedes the process has been difficult, but the Cherokee senior is not complaining. He signed up for the hullabaloo that comes with being one of the area's most desired football recruits.

If there is a lot of interest in Lovett, he has nobody to blame but himself. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Lovett was an Inquirer first-team all-South Jersey defensive back. But he said he is being recruited mainly as a running back. This season, he rushed for 1,359 yards and 23 touchdowns, averaging a hefty 7.6 yards per carry.

He can run over and around defenders, and players like that tend to get noticed. And make no mistake, Lovett has drawn plenty of notice.

In the summer, he made an oral commitment to attend Rutgers. During the high school season, Lovett had second thoughts and announced he was opening up his recruiting.

He is still considering Rutgers and has made an official visit to the Big 10 school. Lovett has also visited Iowa and has a trip set next month to Penn State. Per NCAA rules, a football recruit is allowed five official visits, and Lovett said that Baylor and Michigan State are, at the moment, schools he plans to visit.

Between now and the Feb. 1 date that a high school senior can sign a football letter of intent, it promises to get a little hectic in Lovett's world.

Actually, it already is. Not only do schools call him often, but so do reporters and his friends as well.

"I am always getting asked where I am going," he said.

Then laughing, he adds, "It's been crazy."

Still, instead of stressing out, Lovett has embraced the process.

"The official visits have been a lot of fun," he said. "You meet a lot of different people from everywhere."

The visits have been so good that it will make his final decision even more difficult.

"When you leave, you leave with a part of that school in your heart," he said.

Lovett isn't taking anything for granted. He'll trade the pressure of having to make such an important decision for the opportunity he has.

It wasn't that long ago, last year to be exact, that he was so excited to receive his first offer from a college - Old Dominion.

"It made me feel good," he said of the initial offer. "Before that, I thought I was under the radar and was wondering why schools weren't coming after me."

He's wondering no more.

In football, a high school player is often recruited off his junior and sometimes sophomore season. Yet the senior year still counts, too.

Lovett's big senior year has added his name to the lists of several recruiting coordinators.

"This year definitely helped me," he said. "A lot of new schools contacted due to what I did this year."

As the options increase, so does the difficulty of the decision.

"The more offers you get it makes the process harder," he said. "You can only go to one school."

Still, he has decided to enjoy this process as much as possible while acknowledging there is pressure to make the right choice.

Lovett understands how fortunate he is, and if the byproduct is a little extra stress, so be it.

"I feel privileged," he said.

And Lovett is intent not to be overwhelmed by the process. So many people are tugging at him, wondering where he will end up.

He remembers what it was like to be under the radar. With that in mind, the added craziness that comes with recruiting, is indeed welcome.

@sjnard