Though May is the hotbed of activity for most junior blue-chip recruits, with the NCAA-allowed evaluation period, April was a hoppin' time for Sacramento quarterback C.J. Bacher. The Jesuit High School junior took several trips down I-80 to check out his pair of favorite schools, plus a shot down I-5 for a passing camp.
The month started with a trip to Berkeley for a Saturday with the Cal coaches during their spring practices, which we recapped for you four weeks ago. The very next weekend he planned to check out a Friday at Stanford's campus, though the trip stretched into a two-day affair. Bacher and his father stayed over Friday night with a relative in Palo Alto and enjoyed two days of Cardinal spring football for the "price" of one trip, though they unfortunately found twice the rain. Much of the four weeks of Stanford's spring ball was sprinkled with doses of rain, and these two days were no exception.
But Bacher certainly didn't have his spirits damped by the downpour, and came away very positive after the experience. "I thought it was actually great," the 6'2" slinger says. "I like the coaches and really enjoyed what they had to say. I feel particularly comfortable with [quarterbacks] Coach [Bill] Cubit - he knows what he's talking about. Stanford is #1 on my list right now."
More than just the coaches, though, Bacher took the visit as an opportunity to get the unbridled truth on the program from the primary sources that count the most: the players. "I knew [Sacramento native] Matt Traverso already a little before, and we talked a little bit," the Jesuit junior recalls. "I also talked with Trent Edwards. We discussed redshirting, which he said was tough but overall a good thing. He says he added 20 pounds and a lot of strength. He helped me feel more comfortable with what that would be like at Stanford."
Frankly speaking, this recruitment appears to have reached a point of strength for the Cardinal coaching staff. Bacher has them at the forefront of his mind, and that sentiment was echoed when father and son again made the trek to The Farm for the concluding Spring Game two Saturdays ago. As in any recruiting situation, one must continue more of the same to maintain that lead, but the next phase to watch is the offer stage.
Most of the nation's top high school quarterbacks will find their recruitment to be a fleeting flurry of early activity followed by an early commitment. T.C. Ostrander indeed was Stanford's first commitment in last year's class, and the majority of the elite Northern California crop of QBs in that year were done before the middle of the fall. When Bacher took this mid-April visit to Stanford, he wanted to communicate his impressions and desires along those lines to the Stanford coaches, as well. "I told Coach Teevens when we talked in his office that I want to commit in August," he tells. "I want to have this done before my senior season because I want to be totally committed to my high school team. Coach Teevens told me that he understands, and he explained how they will move forward with me."
Cubit will have a good look at Bacher in the unique environment of the Student Sports Nike Camp this coming Saturday, as Bacher and hundreds of other high school preps converge at Stanford for what has traditionally been the largest and most talented of the nationwide series of camps. That environment not only puts Bacher on display, but allows him to showcase his mechanics and arm strength in a direct comparison with other top QBs. Incidentally, it was after the Nike Camp at Stanford's campus this time a year ago that the Cardinal made the offer to Ostrander. Though Teevens cautions that the Cardinal may not make the move as quickly this year. They will have an even closer look at Bacher in June when he comes down for Stanford's football camp, and that is the timeframe they are giving him.
"The coaches were great in spelling everything out, and it answered a lot of our questions," says father K.C. Bacher about the meetings and conversations.
The younger Bacher notes that his other top schools have similar stories for their evaluations and offer timelines. "Cal said about the same thing," the junior quarterback says. "I didn't get to really talk with Coach Tedford, but I was able to talk with [offensive coordinator] Coach Cortez. Notre Dame has also told me that they are still evaluating their quarterbacks, which is normal. They say they have their pool narrowed down to eight guys at this time of year, and I'm on that list. They want to take a hard look at me and will visit Jesuit in May. Arizona State still says I'm #1 on their list, and the only thing they are waiting for to offer is to meet me when I visit there in person."
Bacher names four favorites beyond his stated leader in Stanford: Cal, Arizona State, Boston College and Notre Dame. He says that BC and Notre Dame are both "stepping up" and have asked him to come to their summer camps, though he says that the Irish trip won't work given that it overlaps with Stanford's dates. He has plans currently to camp everywhere else.
Later in April, the Jesuit junior made a weekend trip down to L.A. for Bob Johnson's quarterback camp. And while some "camps" are more showcases than learning experiences, this one was fruitful for the young slinger. "They told me to stay on my back foot a little longer, and they gave me a few things to help with my arm strength," Bacher recalls. "It helped me out a lot - gave me a lot more power."
He will meet up with Johnson again this weekend, as the renowned quarterback coach comes to Stanford as he does for all the Nike Camps. Johnson works with the QBs and is very influential in national rankings at the position. He is also at the center of the invitations handed out to Student Sports' famed Elite Eleven quarterback camp, to be held later in the summer. Bacher is hoping to put on a good show this Saturday for the college coaches in attendance as well as for Johnson, with an eye toward that Elite Eleven invite. "I can't wait for the Nike Camp," Bacher exclaims. "I'm ready to match up against the best of the best in the drills. My goal is also to run a 4.5 in the forty and to bring down my shuttle time."
The Bootleg will once again be at this weekend's affair, which is held on Stanford's practice field, and will bring you a report on Bacher's performance and numbers, as well as quotes, notes and photos from the day.
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