"I would probably have to say everything that it has to offer as far as the education and football combined," Brandon Fanaika said of the reason for his Cardinal commitment. "I just thought that it was the perfect package, so you know you couldn't really turn it down."
Although Fanaika had expressed a high interest in Stanford for much of his recruitment, the 6-foot-3, 295-pounder didn't officially announce his decision until the Offense/Defense All-American Bowl, which was played on Dec. 30. Fanaika informed his recruiter, Cardinal assistant coach Lance Anderson, of his choice that same day.
"I actually told Coach Anderson the day of at the All-American Bowl," Fanaika said. "He was just really happy and super excited and Coach David Shaw and [offensive line coach Mike] Bloomgren, they're also very excited, so it was good."
Fanaika hopes to spend more time with Shaw, Bloomgren, and the rest of the Cardinal coaching staff next weekend when he takes his official visit to The Farm. The visit could also provide an opportunity for Fanaika to get final word on the status with the Stanford admissions office.
"I have everything in," Fanaika said of the Stanford application. "Coach Anderson is coming in [today] and he'll take back the rest of my essays, but as far as everything else, I have those turned in and I'm just waiting to get word.
"Hopefully I'll find out on my official trip."
Since his commitment to Stanford, Fanaika has been in touch with a number of Cardinal recruits on Facebook.
"I've actually had a chance to talk to all of them through Facebook, and they've all welcomed me and I'm really excited to build that family relationship with these guys," Fanaika said.
During the Offense/Defense All-American game, Fanaika got to spend time with one of his future teammates in person. Cardinal defensive lineman Ikenna Nwafor was on the West team with Fanaika, and the pair went up against each other in practice.
"He's an amazing player and we're very fortunate to get a defensive lineman like him," Fanaika said of Nwafor. "As big as he is, he has a lot of technique, and strength is already automatic, so I definitely think that he can contribute to the program and show things that he's got."
Stanford's betting that Fanaika will also be a strong contributor to the program, but it might have to wait for the lineman to arrive on campus. Fanaika plans to take a two-year Mormon mission, which he'll begin either immediately following high school or after one year of college.
"I'm not quite sure yet," Fanaika said of the mission timing. That's something that we'll decide down the road."
Similarly, Fanaika has yet to decide whether he'll follow through on plans to take official visits to other schools that he scheduled before his Stanford commitment.
"I'm not really quite sure," Fanaika said. "Again, that's something that we'll decide a little later. We'll definitely see how it turns out."
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