Charlie High once thought the recruiting process might be fun.
Less than a month from national signing day, the record-setting senior quarterback from Christian Academy of Knoxville thinks differently.
"It's not much fun," he said. "Maybe it would be for a five-star (recruit)."
He hasn't given up on the process, though. He hasn't given up on his dream team, either.
Long before High had his first 5,000-yard passing season at CAK, he wanted to play football at the University of Tennessee, where his father, Bill, was a standout hurdler.
But UT didn't evaluate him much differently than the scores of other major-college programs to whom High's high school coach, Rusty Bradley, has sent video.
"Ultimately, Coach (Derek) Dooley pulled the plug," High said. "Coach (Jim) Chaney called me and said, 'We're going in a different direction.' "
Dooley was fired before the end of the season. Chaney, with whom High has developed a close relationship, subsequently was hired as an offensive coordinator on coach Bret Bielema's new staff at Arkansas.
The rejections haven't sapped High's motivation. In fact, they seemingly have bolstered his resolve.
If major-college recruiters had deemed High incapable of playing at that level, perhaps he could have accepted their evaluation and committed to either UT Martin or Tennessee Tech, who already have offered him a scholarship.
It's not about talent. It's about size.
Or, as High has heard more than once, "We love you, but … "
The "but" is about 6-foot-2. High is just taller than 6 feet or just under depending on whether you measure him in shoes or his bare feet.
Bradley said Alabama assistant coach Lance Thompson told him if "Charlie was 6-3, he'd be a top-10 quarterback."
The size issue isn't all about length. College recruiters also question the "thickness" of a quarterback who weighs 176 pounds and wonder if he could withstand the punishment of college defenses.
I don't know how much thicker High would become through the wonders of a college strength, conditioning and nutrition program. I don't know if he will have a growth spurt as NFL star Aaron Rodgers did in junior college after being ignored by recruiters coming out of high school.
I do know he can throw a football with uncanny accuracy, which distinguishes him from most quarterbacks of any size. In two full seasons, plus one start as a sophomore, High completed 74.4 percent of his passes for more than 10,000 yards while leading his team to a pair of state championships.
News Sentinel prep editor Jesse Smithey, who has watched High numerous times, marvels at his football instincts, poise in the pocket, and his ability to perform under pressure.
"He made some plays against Alcoa (in the playoffs), that I will never forget," Smithey said.
High's coach is his biggest advocate. He sent video of his quarterback to 125 schools last January. That was just for starters. He even mailed video of a spring scrimmage and 7-on-7 play in the summer.
"I'm really frustrated with it," Bradley said. "It's not about being good on film anymore. It's about them getting you in their camp and them liking you in their camp.
"One school, they called and wanted to know if I had any kids (who were college prospects). I knew I had already sent them film. They're not looking at it."
High hasn't lost his patience or hope.
He wonders if his connection with Chaney might help him at Arkansas or if the coaching change at UT could work in his favor. He wonders if the volatile nature of recruiting could open a major-college door at the eleventh hour. Never mind the circumstances or how late the offer came. He wouldn't feel slighted.
"I would be grateful," he said.