Succumbing to peer pressure can undo a person. That's why Ross Pierschbacher is careful about to whom he listens.
"I have a very tight circle around me," he said. "I think that's how you become successful. You don't listen to the outside world. You just stick to your business and focus on what's best for you."
The approach is working for the Cedar Falls (IA) offensive lineman. Scout.com ranks Pierschbacher as its No. 1 guard in the country for 2014.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder delighted Iowa fans in January when he verbally committed to the Hawkeyes, their first pledge in the class. Opinion from some of the faithful shifted when Pierschbacher talked about visiting other schools.
"I committed early, which I have no regrets about, but I don't think I checked out all of the things that I wanted to," Pierschbacher said. "These schools jumped in after I committed. Things kind of changed after that."
A who's who of college football programs offered scholarships to Pierschbacher this spring. He's listened to them since that time and will visit two schools next week.
Pierschbacher is scheduled to be at Alabama from July 23-25 and then Stanford on the 26-27. These trips depart from his plan to wait until after the season to visit schools.
"I didn't have that much going on and I would rather visit during the summer," Pierschbacher said. "Going to (college) games are kind of boring for me. I don't get that much out of it.
"These are two schools that I really wanted to look at in depth and take my time there and check out all of the academics and everything else that you can't do as closely on game-day visits. If I waited until after the season, it's down to the nitty gritty time in the process. This will be more relaxed and I think it will work out perfect. I'll get two visits down before football starts."
Auburn, USC, Cal and others also offered scholarships to Pierschbacher in the spring but he's focused on Stanford and Alabama.
"They just fit my interests more than the other places," he said. "Stanford has great academics and it's a great program. I like their style of play. They have great people there and it's obviously a great location. I've never been out there so I thought I'd give it a look. This only happens once so why not take a visit?
"Alabama is a top-tier program. When I went to the game visit, I didn't get to see that much and they hadn't offered yet. All of those things have kind of changed now so this is a chance to check things out more in depth."
Offensive Line Coach Mario Cristobal leads Alabama's recruitment of Pierschbacher. Tight Ends Coach Morgan Turner and O-Line Coach Mike Bloomgren are double teaming him for the Cardinal. He said he talks to assistants from those schools a lot.
Pierschbacher is looking forward to getting to know better Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban and his counterpart, David Shaw, at Stanford.
"I've talked to both of the head coaches but it will be nice to sit down with them face to face," he said. "It will be a good opportunity to see what their feelings are for me and where I fit into their system and what they have to offer."
Iowa frequently sends Pierschbacher letters talking about the upcoming season and how it can develop him as a player.
"I haven't talked to them on the phone lately," he said. "I think Coach (Kirk) Ferentz called on the last day of the May contact period."
Coaches are prohibited from calling prospects during dead periods, which it has been since May. Prospects can call college staffs.
Pierschbacher has been up front with the Hawkeyes during his recruitment. He's looked at other schools to erase any doubt he might be feeling.
"It's just to check things out in my mind so there's never going to be that "what if?" factor down the road," Pierschbacher said. "I think after these visits I'll have a pretty good idea of where my head is at."
Pierschbacher has said that he believes Iowa will bounce back from last year's 4-8 season. He's also hinted that the Hawkeyes' performance this season could factor into his final decision.
On Wednesday, Pierschbacher wasn't sure how much those results would impact his choice.
"It's hard to say," he said. "I guess we'll just have to wait and see when the time comes. I have no idea right now."
Ross Pierschbacher remains committed to Iowa but the four-star prospect from the Hawkeye State has scheduled visits to two of the nation's top programs. Alabama and Stanford are set to play host to him next week and he talks about those trips and the rest of his recruitment in this premium story.