Stanford in pursuit of Corvallis lineman

In 2009, Stanford lost OL Michael Phillipp to Oregon State, where he started as a true frosh at left tackle.This recruiting cycle, they're looking for revenge with another offensive tackle of Polynesian decent, but the challenge here is harder yet: pull Isaac Seumalo away from his hometown Beavers – while his dad is on the Beaver staff.

"It's going good, going to some Junior Days," Oregon offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo told The Bootleg. "I went to Oregon's last weekend, Boise State's this weekend and I'll go to Stanford's in May. I haven't really narrowed down a list though. I'm keeping it open."

Seumalo reports six offers, with four schools from the Pacific Northwest and five from the conference formerly known as the Pac-10.

"My offers are Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Stanford, Boise State and UCLA," Seumalo said. "Stanford was more toward the beginning [chronologically], second or third."

That Stanford offered Seumalo relatively early has allowed their coaching staff to build a relationship with the four-star, 6-foot-3.5, 286-pound junior.

"I've been talking with Coach Hart for awhile and talked with Coach Shaw," Seumalo said. "I went down to the camp last summer, and saw the whole campus and everything. It was pretty cool. I'm really looking forward to the Junior Day."

Certainly a trip to Palo Alto can be great fun (though Seumalo is probably too young for Rudy's), but why in particular is the big man looking forward to his visit?

"Other than the fact that it's Stanford, it's the academics I can get there and that I will walk away with a degree from Stanford," he said. "It's a life full of opportunity ahead of me. To meet the new head coach and the new offensive line coach are key."

Alright David Shaw and Mike Bloomgren, your mission is clear. You'll also have to compare favorably to the old staff, which gave Seumalo his first impression of Stanford.

"I was talking with the old OL coach [Tim Drevno] during the camp and I really liked him, but he left," Seumalo said. "I do like Coach Hart, so that's all the old staff I've kept in touch with.

"I haven't talked to Coach Hart in awhile, but I do get a lot of letters from the University, just regular letters they send to most people. I do know Coach Hart has asked me to call.

While Seumalo currently plays on both sides of the line, recruiting services and most colleges project him to be an offensive lineman. For his part, Seumalo says that won't be a major factor in his decision, however.

"Most of them are OL," Seumalo said of his six offering suitors. "UCLA is a DL, and other than that most are OL. It's not [a major decision factor] right now, and I doubt it will be because I just want to go in there, wherever they put me. That's where I'll play."

As a current two-way player, Seumalo is working hard to improve his offensive and defense game.

"I'm trying to get a lot faster for the D line, for both sides of the ball," he said. "I'm mastering my technique and craft. Going into the little details that can make me a great player is vital. It's being able to transfer all the work I do in the weight room and out on the field technique-wise, bringing that every single play during the game. It's definitely being in shape, because going both ways is hard on your breathing, especially for a big guy.

Seumalo is careful, however, not to do too much, basing that decision upon sound reasoning all too rare among young athletes.

"Every day, especially during the offseason, to keep healthy I'll go into weight room and try not to do too much. Injury prevention is what I want, and soon the running will start, but it's being able, as my weight goes up, to stay in shape and be healthy."

Now that he's mentioned weight, us mere mortals may take for granted the amount of food a player of Seumalo's size and physical activity level needs daily. However, as Seumalo reports it, he probably eats as much as two 9-to-5 adults.

"During the school days, I try to get a big breakfast in," he said. I could eat so much during the day. [Laughing.] I have to eat every couple of hours. It's ridiculous. I try to eat during class, during lunch, then after workouts, and even a snack before I go to sleep. I'm especially drinking a lot of Gatorade and water."

Seumalo also has a lot on his plate in terms of his recruitment. On the one hand, he has identified what he perceives to be Stanford's strengths. On the other, Oregon State would also be a logical fit for Seumalo for myriad reasons.

"My connection with Oregon State is that I really love the OL coach and the head coach, and my dad's there," Seumalo said. "But I'm kind of open to every school."

It's not every day that a son has a chance to play college football in such close proximity to his dad, but Joe Seumalo has been the defensive line coach in Corvallis for six years. He's coached Stephen Paea and Ben Seigert in that time, and helped make the rush defense a key strength of Oregon State football year in and year out.

"It's been a lifelong thing," Isaac Seumalo said of his on-field connection to his father. "I would never be the kind of football player if not for my dad making me who I am, and I'm thankful for that."

Then there's the possibility that the father-son coaching could continue, should the younger Seumalo switch to the defensive line at Oregon State.

"If I were to go to Oregon State, I don't think that decision would be up to me," Isaac Seumalo said. "I would be under Coach Riley. I would say I'd play whatever is the best position to help the team out."

Still, while playing with his father is an obvious draw, Seumalo realizes his college experience won't stop with the final whistle of football practice.

"It can go both ways, but really I think it'd be pretty cool to say [that I played with my dad]," Seumalo said. "If it just came down to football, Oregon State would be hard to beat, but college is not all about football. It's about the kind of teammates I'll be around, the academics, where I'll feel most comfortable. I'm open to everybody right now."

Seumalo has mentioned several times that he is indeed open to any school. What could schools offer, we asked, to make them stand out from the rest?

"How comfortable I am, it's pretty key for me," Seumalo said. "I just want to go to a place where I know the coaches will make me the best I can be and love me, where my teammates are best guys, and I can really move forward my life. That's where I'd feel most comfortable."

Seumalo also knows what he'll be assessing in terms of comfort at his May Stanford visit.

"What can Stanford offer me?" he asked. "I kind of have the answers, but want to make sure I make the best possible decision for me, and what I want to go into as a major. I'd like to be a kinesiology or exercise science major, and be a weightlifting or football coach after college."

Though Seumalo has been to Oregon State plenty, will be visiting Stanford next month and plenty of other schools in the upcoming months, he anticipates his recruitment will carry on until the very end.

"I'm probably going to go to National Signing Day," he said. "I want to enjoy this process, take my time with this and meet new guys. You only get to do this once in a lifetime, so I'm really going to enjoy it."

Academics, per Seumalo, don't appear likely to keep him from receiving a thick envelope from Stanford Admissions.

"My GPA overall for high school is 3.98, 3.97 and the SAT I took last year," he said. "Depending on what university I choose, we'll see [about a retake]. Stanford hasn't mentioned it. If my heart was set and they said do it again, I would, but as of now I don't see myself taking it again unless that happens."

Instead, Seumalo will push himself next year during the school day.

"Next year, I know it'll be tough for me," he said. I'm taking AP Calc and AP Writing. Those are the two I'll be taking. My mom thinks I'm a smart student or something."

Or something. Stay tuned to The Bootleg for more from a most humble group of 2012 recruits.


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