Tucson lineman will visit Stanford

This year Tucson may have it's best crop of Division-I prospects since the mid-90's. There could be as many as five or six players who sign with upper D-I programs coming out of the Old Pueblo. The best of these could be Daniel Borg. This weekend the 6-6 offensive linemen will use his Rodeo Vacation to visit the Bay Area.

Ironwood Ridge's junior tackle Daniel Borg's vacation happens to coincide with Parents Weekend at Stanford. His older sister, Lindsay, is currently a freshman at The Farm, so Borg and his parents are getting on a plane today to San Francisco for a four-day trip to the Bay Area.

The family is staying tonight in San Francisco and sightseeing, then Thursday through Saturday nights will be in Palo Alto. The younger Borg is being recruited by a number of schools in the Pac-10 and says that the Cardinal have a small advantage today. That stems from their recruiting intensity, which in turn has its roots in their opportunity to evaluate and get to know the young Arizona recruit last summer at their overnight summer camp.

"Stanford has probably been recruiting me the hardest, so maybe they have a little advantage," Borg offers for his current recruiting preferences. "But I'm very open right now."

In addition to talking with the Cardinal coaches, he says that he might have the opportunity to check out Jeff Tedford's program across the Bay. Cal is also in Borg's early school list, along with Washington, UCLA, Arizona and Nebraska.

Daniel Borg has a 4.1 GPA and a 1180 SAT that he just scored in January.

Even Tucsonans may be unfamiliar with Ironwood Ridge. If you haven't heard of the school, don't worry, it hasn't been around long.

Populations are changing in Arizona, with rising numbers and evolving demographics. That is pushing more D-I kids out of these desert programs each year, and it is no coincidence that Stanford has landed two signees in each of their past two recruiting classes. This year, their attention is squarely focused on Ironwood Ridge, a program that just concluded its second year of varsity football and first year with senior players. The school is less than three years old, opening its doors for its first classes in the 2001-2002 school year to help handle the overcrowding at nearby Canyon Del Oro HS. That year was also the first year of football at the new school, with the Nighthawks fielding freshman and junior varsity squads.

Borg was a freshman in that first year, and then in the 2002 season the sophomore started both ways as an offensive lineman and defensive tackle for the varsity squad. Ironwood Ridge was just 5-5 in their debut year of varsity football, despite no seniors on the roster, and then in 2003 they surged to the state playoffs with an 8-3 record. Just as the Nighthawks have experienced rapid and somewhat surprising success in their infant stages, so too has Borg enjoyed immediate success. He was named First Team All-Tucson as an offensive lineman his junior year and Second Team All-State.

"He is extremely dedicated and gifted athletically," says Ironwood Ridge head coach Gary Minor. "He has a real mean streak. Daniel is just a tough, physical player and we are very fortunate to have someone like him."

In addition to his physical gifts, Borg is an attractive recruit for his early aptitude at pass blocking. While most high school gridders excel at drive blocking in run-oriented schemes, Ironwood Ridge runs a spread offense that takes many tenets from the Texas Tech offense. That experience plus his basketball and track work have developed great footwork and technique in pass protection out at right tackle.

"I could play a little more aggressively," the 6'6" 285-pound Tucson tackle says of his improvement to come this next year. "You can always improve your strength."

Borg currently benches 300 and squats 430 pounds. Last year as a sophomore, he placed ninth in the state in the discus with a personal best throw of 139-6, and he was 17th in Arizona in the shot with a best of 48-5. To round out his athletic profile, his basketball team enjoyed a 25-3 season that just concluded with an upset loss in the first round of the state playoffs.

Stanford got a head start in their evaluation and recruitment of Borg when he camped at Stanford last summer as an underclassman, and he made an impact on the coaches. At first glance, it was assumed that this big-bodied lineman was a rising senior, but he really turned heads when people realized that he was a 2005 prospect.

"I don't want to put words in anybody's mouth," the junior recruit begins. "But from what Stanford told my head coach, it sounded like I was one of the bigger tackle performers at the entire camp."

One school you always have to watch closely for a Tucson product like this one is of course the UofA. However, their recent problems and current coaching transition leaves him with some questions.

"I'm definitely a UofA basketball fan but not as much for football," he allows. "But I'll be watching to see what Coach [Mike] Stoops does with the program this fall."

CAT TRACKS' ANALYSIS: The Wildcats are aware of Borg and should make a big push for the lineman. Mike Stoops has put a premium on in-state talent, and keeping one of the best in the city at home would be a huge coup.

This story was compiled from a couple of stories that originally ran on The Bootleg, the Stanford Insiders site.

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