You just have to patient a little while longer.
The saga of Matt Pipho's recruitment has stretched since last spring, when Stanford was the first school to offer the Iowa offensive tackle. The Union High School standout expressed a strong desire to wrap up his college decision before his senior season got busy in the fall, but he shifted gears late in the summer and decided to let recruiting go until after his season. That move paid off with new scholarships coming from the likes of Miami, Nebraska and Oregon. Oklahoma has been in hot pursuit as well, and may offer.
Now most of the action is compressed into January, with four official visits on the docket. Pipho took the first of the New Year this past weekend to Stanford, though it was his second trip overall - he saw Oregon in December. Though the remaining trips to Miami (1/14), Nebraska (1/18) and Oklahoma (1/21) will still go a long way toward determining his ultimate decision, he does now have two data points to compare. Recruits often find that their first visit is difficult to assess because of the lack of anything with which to compare. Pipho has seen two Pac-10 schools officially and felt they offered different things.
"I had met a lot of the kids this summer," Pipho says in referencing his unofficial visit to The Farm in July. "So I wanted to meet the coaches this time and see what they have planned."
While you might think the offensive tackle recruit would be primarily interested in Walt Harris, he says that his opinion of and relationship with his position coach trumps the head coach. The tackles and tight ends at Stanford are now being led by new assistant coach Ben McAdoo, who comes to the Cardinal from the New Orleans Saints. Pipho was keen this weekend on sizing up McAdoo, a 27-year old hire who worked with Harris in Pittsburgh in 2003.
"Coach McAdoo is young and energetic. He puts in a lot of time - I can tell," the recruit opines. "My football and basketball coaches are both 25, so that's all I know. The youth doesn't bother me at all. We talked quite a bit about how he uses his players and what he has in store."
"The Oregon visit was good, and I'm sure all schools are going to show me a great time. But right now, I would probably feel better going to Stanford than Oregon," Pipho reveals. "I learned a lot [at Stanford]. I definitely learned a lot about the school and the student body. It pulled Stanford up in my mind."
One of the reasons the Iowan enjoyed his time was player host Jon Cochran, who was in Pipho's shoes three years ago as a prized offensive tackle deciding whether to make the uncertain leap to Stanford and the West Coast. Cochran shocked experts and recruiters in the Midwest by choosing the Cardinal over Iowa and Iowa State. While Pipho is looking exclusively at schools outside the state, he still was able to lean on Cochran for empathy and insight.
"I had met Jon last summer, and he was my host again this weekend," the recruit relates. "He's got a lot in common with me. I learned a lot talking with him. He said he originally was planning on going back to the Midwest after he graduates from Stanford, but his experiences now have him unsure. The place is good enough to sway him, and that says something."
Pipho also says that he had an array of unique experiences during his official visit to The Farm that separated it from his time in Eugene (Ore.). He cites the men's basketball game on Saturday, where he watched the Cardinal soar and stun #13-ranked Arizona, as well as golf cart tours of the campus and a faculty brunch. These positive impressions are all welcome news to the Stanford staff, who have been trying to regain their recruiting momentum for the last month. When Buddy Teevens was fired, and much of his staff not retained by Walt Harris, Pipho felt a bond break with the Cardinal.
"I really liked the old coaching staff," he allows. "They were the first ones to offer me, and I respect that. Coach Teevens and Coach [Steve] Morton saw something in me long before most people did, and that meant a lot. It hurt Stanford when they left; they slipped a little bit. Now I'm looking at Stanford with a clean slate. They have a new coaching staff, and I like what I've seen so far. They've climbed back a little."
The Cardinal were in a leadership before for Pipho, and they have lost the advantage of being first-movers with him. He no longer associates those decisions with the school given the changeover in the coaching staff. But he is happy enough with what he learned this past weekend to declare that Stanford has risen up to his top two.
"Stanford has the school and the sports together. Miami is a powerhouse football program and have great weather. I'd probably say those two are at the top for now. But a lot can change with the visits I still have to take," the La Porte City standout declares.
The 'Canes are the next school to host the 6'7" athletic offensive tackle. That is the next big event to watch, and we will continue to keep you updated with the ebb and flow of Matt Pipho's outlook as he gets closer to a college decision.
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