Nwafor solidifies commitment after trip

After seeing his recruiting stock soar during his senior year and a standout performance at the Offense/Defense All-American game, defensive tackle Ikenna Nwafor took his official visit to Stanford last weekend. Nwafor made the trip with his parents and two brothers.

"The visit started Friday morning," Ikenna Nwafor said. "They had a bunch of stuff planned out for us. I had a lot of fun, I loved it. It was cool getting to see the guys for the first time. I had met like one of them at the All-American game, but it was good to see the rest of them and get to know them a little bit.

"We got to tour the academic department that we were interested in. I got to see the medical center, which was pretty cool. Then we got to see the Sleep and Dreams class, I guess it's a pretty popular class. Then we had like a little Xbox tournament Friday night where we paired up with our hosts and played a round-robin type deal. That was cool. I lost to Graham Shuler. Graham Shuler lost to Kodi Whitfield in the final game, so I made it pretty far. We just hung out with the host the rest of the night."

After months of communicating with his fellow Cardinal commits over the Internet, Nwafor, who was hosted on the visit by freshman defensive lineman Anthony Hayes, enjoyed finally getting to meet them in-person over the weekend.

"Yeah, it's a cool group of guys," Nwafor said. "I really liked then. Everywhere I had gone before it was sort of like a small group of guys I was cool with, but it wasn't like the whole team. Everyone on the team was welcoming, nice guys, from the freshmen that are there all the way up to the juniors, they're all nice guys, they really took care of us. I definitely see myself fitting in with the team."

Nwafor also spent time with several of the uncommitted visitors on the trip, including Jameis Winston and Aziz Shittu.

"I actually spent a lot of time with Aziz and Jameis," Nwafor said. "That was my first time meeting Jameis. Jameis is a really nice guy, very cool guy. He has sort of has a similar personality to Aziz. I talked to him a little bit…I had a good feeling he liked Stanford and that could be a very good possibility.

"Aziz, he loved it and he already knew everyone. Everyone knew Aziz. Professors, the coaches, players, he fits in there, and he got accepted. I also got to talk to Kyle Murphy. That was my first time meeting him. He liked the place, we had a good time. It was cool just talking to him and getting to know him."

Nwafor wrapped up the visit on Saturday by touring the remainder of campus and making a trip to the campus bookstore. Before he went home, he met with Stanford defensive line coach Randy Hart, who shared some interesting news about his plans for Nwafor's first year on The Farm.

"I got to talk to Coach Hart, it was actually my first chance to see him since July," Nwafor said. "We messaged a little bit, but we hadn't seen each other in a while. I talked to him and we watched some film of practices and games and stuff like that. That was the first real time of me seeing what the defense is like. He was telling me that, you know, I should prepare myself not to redshirt. More than likely would be getting some playing time, it just depends how hard I work this summer, that will determine how much time I get."

In late December, Nwafor opened some eyes around the nation after a strong showing at the Offense/Defense All-American game in Texas.

"I had a lot of fun," Nwafor said. "I got to hang out with Brandon Fanaika who committed [to Stanford] in the game. It was cool getting to know him a little bit. It was cool getting to size myself up and see how I compared to the other guys that are highly touted. I went out to show people that I'm just as good coming from where I came from, it's not going to hold me back when I go to college…To prove that good talent comes from anywhere and also to represent my school well were the main goals I had in mind."

With his Stanford official visit behind him, Nwafor has no plans to take official visits to other schools, and has effectively shut down his recruitment.

"No, I don't really [plan to take other visits]," Nwafor said. "Before I visited I really didn't know what else was out there so I was thinking of planning Vanderbilt and Arizona and stuff like that, but after the visit I'm sure I'm done. I'm going to sign with Stanford on signing day.

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