Ifeadi Odenigbo talks Cal, Stanford, Part 2

Ohio linebacker Ifeadi Odenigbo took his long discussed trip to the Bay Area early last week, visiting Cal and Stanford. Odenigbo stopped in Berkley on Sunday (Father's Day, June 19) before seeing Stanford June 20 and 21. The four-star recruit was blown away by his time in the Bay Area. Here, he discusses his Stanford visit.

Unlike California, Stanford was a well-known entity to Ifeadi Odenigbo even before he stepped on campus. Palo Alto matched his already lofty expectations.

"It was everything I expected," Odenigbo said. "Stanford was pretty much my very first offer, so even at the time I was doing research and looking at what the campus looked like, so I had a general background. I pretty much know the whole coaching staff because they were one of my first offers. I was pretty comfortable with the campus even though it was my first time being there. My mom, on the other hand, she'd never really seen Stanford, and she fell in love with palm trees. She was like, ‘Oh my god.' She was going on and on about the palm trees."

On Monday, after spending a few hours meeting with the coaching staff, Odenigbo participated in Stanford's Monday Night Ball camp.

He blew everyone, from coaches to fellow participants, away.

"Ifeadi [Odenigbo] was just scary how well he moved, all the coaches were saying that they hadn't seen guys at the [NFL] combine do what he was doing," recent Stanford commit Graham Shuler said. "He's a specimen for sure."

Not one to flaunt his own credentials, even Odenigbo admitted that the coaches gushed at his showing.

"They wanted to see how athletic you are," Odenigbo said. "The coaches were pretty excited that I was doing that. They were pretty happy overall because I was the same exact person they saw on film. They were going nuts.

"The coaches really liked the pass session drills. Coach Anderson was just getting so excited. He was like, ‘Oh, man, I just imagine you and Noor Davis coming off the edge.'"

That night, Odenigo stayed over with his uncle who lives in Hayward. On the road back to Palo Alto the following morning, the recruit got a taste of what Bay Area residents are all too familiar with – rush hour traffic.

"California traffic is terrible," Odenigbo said. "My uncle lives about 25, 30 minutes away from Stanford. We left during rush hour. It took us an hour and ten minutes. We were in the left lane. California's really the state that has that left lane rule, in Ohio we don't have traffic nearly as bad as in California. If I was just one person in a car, I would have been there forever. I might have been there even talking to you on the phone."

Eventually Odenigo arrived back on The Farm, however, in time to soak in Tuesday's Junior Day activities. The highlight? A meeting with former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. "What really made my day was when Condoleeza Rice spoke," Odenigbo said. "I got to take a picture with her and I got to speak with her and I was so excited. That's my [Facebook] profile picture right now. That's pretty cool that Condoleeza Rice was there."

While not as glamorous, Odenigbo also enjoyed learning about the training and sports medicine aspects of the program.

"I really liked their strength and conditioning coach," Odenigbo said. "I think he's someone I can relate to really easily. I, myself, I'm not really the strongest guy ever or the biggest guy ever, for a defensive linemen. I'm pretty good size for an outside linebacker, but for my high school I play defensive end. What was cool about that was he was talking about how in the weight room they don't have a whole bunch of boards about how much someone can bench, how much someone can clean or squat. Because the emphasis isn't on how much or how heavy you are, but how good the technique is. He was crazy about technique, which I like."

"[Another] thing that I really liked was the football field. I liked how the football field was grass. I'm a big fan of grass, even though I have the worst allergies, because grass is just like natural. I talked to one of the coaches and he said that they have grass because it's natural, that's how the game of football was made, and also because it takes pressure off the players' knees and shins and helps prevents injuries.

"One other cool thing was they had a PowerPoint when the strength and conditioning coach was talking to us. When he got to Stanford, it was 1-11 and they had a whole bunch of injuries. That team was just injury prone. To see the four-year, their injuries were reduced significantly, and that's the most important thing."

In all, while it might not have had the eye-opening effect Cal's new facilities did, Odenigbo's Stanford visit earned high marks.

"The Stanford trip was a very, very special trip," Odenigbo said. "Because like I said, it was one of my very first offers and it just felt at home. I'm so comfortable with the coaching staff and I have a whole bunch of family in the San Francisco area. I have an uncle there, an auntie there, another auntie there… I have cousins there, and I have a couple of close family friends there."

With his Bay Area visit now behind him, however, it doesn't seem like Odenigbo is any closer to making a decision.

"I really don't know," Odenigbo said. "I was hoping to decide before my football season kicked off, but we'll see. I might even end up taking official visits. It's extremely close. I didn't think making a decision would be this hard. Even thinking about it gives me a migraine."

Odenigbo does plan on bolstering his course load for fall, both to meet Stanford's admissions requirements and to help him with a possible computer science major.

"Instead of taking standard pre-calculus, I'm probably going to switch to honors pre-calc," Odenigbo said. "I'm going to talk to my counselor, because computer science is really heavily based on that and physics. I'm taking Chemistry 2 right now, so I don't know what's going to happen. I have to take 2 AP classes, that's a requirement for Stanford. I already enrolled in that."

As such, it's not a surprise that Stanford will likely be in the mix until the end of Odenigbo's recruitment.

"Stanford's easily one of my top schools, even with Cal-Berkley [in the mix]," Odenigbo said. "It's likely going to come down to how Stanford, Cal, Northwestern, Ohio State, and likely Notre Dame, too. There are other schools in the mix because I'm going to visit Michigan and Michigan State this weekend."

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