Football News & Notes

If you think June is a slow time for Stanford football, you couldn't be more wrong. There are all kinds of exciting updates to give you on current players like Babatunde Oshinowo and Kirk Chambers, plus incoming freshmen. Find out who is arriving early, and which walk-ons are joining the 2003 class. Finally, Stanford's big overnight football camp just started and we have a ton of breaking news and notes...

  • Your Stanford football team is taking the last days of their break after concluding their spring quarter finals, and will all report for their voluntary summer workouts on July 7.  The word from one member of the team is that an unprecedented attendance will have all but two or three returning players on campus for those workouts.  And if they continue in the mold I saw in the spring, they will be vastly more productive than those of the 2002 summer.  A select few incoming freshmen have of their own accord elected to come out early and join the returning players for these workouts.  After contacting a number of the freshmen in the 2003 class, I have verified that Patrick Danahy, Jason Evans and Mikal Brewer are all coming on July 7.  Danahy is staying for three weeks, will take a brief break back home and then return when freshmen report in early August.  Evans will be at Stanford for two weeks in July.  And Brewer is staying all the way through the start of August camp.  Kudos to all three fab frosh for their intensity and efforts to come out early.  All are of course pushing to play as true freshmen this fall.
  • A lot of Stanford players are still on campus right now and working out, though.  I saw Kyle Matter, Gerald Commissiong and Gerren Crochet working together on offensive plays and execution on the practice field just yesterday afternoon.  A little later I bumped into defensive linemen Will Svitek, Scott Scharff and Ian Shelswell - all are looking huge.  They are predicting a big year of pass rushing for the defensive line, though both Scharff and Svitek inquired as to why they don't get enough love from Stanford fans on the Bootleg's message boards.  That's a shot across the bow to Booties if I've ever heard it, and these guys are working hard with a chip on their shoulder, ready to prove themselves in a big way this fall.  Those same two DL also pointed out that Shelswell is ready to contribute this fall, playing with the best agility and lowest pad level seen from him yet in his young football career.  The defensive coaches concur, and co-defensive coordinator Tom Williams has told me that Ian has a professional football future ahead of him in Canada with his upside.
  • Also seen around campus, a number of the football players keep in shape with pick-up basketball games in the afternoons.  The consensus is that Grant Mason and Oshiomogho Atogwe are the best ballers, with Jared Newberry also getting mention.  But what drew my attention was seeing Greg Camarillo and Babatunde Oshinowo on the floor.  Camarillo has been recovering from a broken fibula and was just cleared by the doctors to move around.  Oshinowo had some loose cartilage in his right knee that had been giving him swelling and stiffness, and had surgery soon after the completion of spring football to clean it out.  He tells The Bootleg that it was successful and he's in good shape.  "I feel 90 to 95 percent right now," he says.  "And that knee is the most flexible I've felt in a long time."
  • In other off-season player news, Marilyn and Kirk Chambers are expecting their first child, a baby girl, in late July.  "We're not that high strung right now," says the senior offensive tackle. "It will be a lot of work and added responsibility, but it can be a good pressure to make me stay on top of things."
  • We have covered in excruciating depth the jumbo scholarship recruiting class coming in August to join the 2003 Stanford football team, but if you talk with Buddy Teevens you'll find him awfully excited about a talented and deep group of walk-on additions also arriving as freshmen.  They are PK Derek Belch (San Diego, CA), OT Merlin Brittenham (Renton, WA), WR Matt Buchanan (Sarasota, FL), S Peter Griffin (Memphis, TN), WR Mike Miller (San Clemente, CA) and LS Brent Newhouse (Los Angeles, CA).  You know about Buchanan from our recruiting coverage of him last winter, and Griffin made some waves this spring when Stanford and Notre Dame battled it out for him to walk on.  But you have to be intrigued by Buddy Teevens' push to go and get great special teams specialists like Belch and Newhouse.  Most programs in the country have the power to bring in kicking or snapping specialists because the cost of their state tuition is low, but convincing a kid to walk-on at Stanford is a serious recruiting challenge.  These two guys may go a long way to shoring up Stanford's special teams for years to come.  And we know how much of a hot button that is with Cardinalmaniacs...
  • Here are recruits of note I spotted yesterday as kids from all over the country arrived, enrolled and tested to kick off Stanford's four-day overnight football camp.  OL Alex Fletcher (NY), OL Bobby Dockter (WA), WR Austin Collie (CA), CB Brandon Robinson (MN), QB C.J. Bacher (CA), QB Liam O'Hagan (MN), LB Jonathan Alvarado (LA), ATH Philip Ray (LA), ATH Slade Norris (OR) and OL/DL Andy Levitre (CA).  As if that is not already an incredibly impressive haul, I'm expecting that DT Jon Kirchner (VA) and OL/TE John Gibson (CA) will be joining shortly.  This is further evidence of the aggression and success of this coaching staff's recruiting efforts, bringing more blue chip prospects to the campus for this camp and experience than at any other time I can remember.
  • If you've been wondering about the admissions progress of All-American center Alex Fletcher, he updated me that his high school is experiencing classic bureaucratic slowness.  Though he finished most of his classes weeks ago and his finals earlier this month, he just learned it will take his high school another two weeks to get his final junior transcript sent out to Stanford.  Fletcher says he isn't stressing and upset by this delay, but it helps to underscore to Stanford recruiting followers the unforeseen delays that consistently stretch the admissions process longer than you expect.
  • Speaking of applications, C.J. Bacher was working hard on his application between the recent Boston College camp and his arrival at Stanford yesterday.  He completed all the forms and essays and was relieved to hand it in when he set foot on campus.  In other Bacher recruiting news, he had a very good camp in Boston but the day after he left, quarterback Chris Crane committed to the Eagles.  It is believed that they will take just one signal caller, which may effectively end his BC recruitment.  "I don't know if I wanted to go that far away from home for college anyway," he comments.  Just before BC he camped at Cal and enjoyed the chances he had to work directly with head coach Jeff Tedford.  "[Coach Tedford] said the only thing he questioned with me on tape was my arm strength, but that he thought after seeing me in person he thinks that I have plenty enough," Bacher relays.  "And he said they were gonna sit down and rank QBs soon."
  • Another quarterback who is at Stanford's camp but was with Bacher in Boston, as well, is Breck School's Liam O'Hagan from Minnesota.  The O'Hagan name should ring familiar to Cardinal fans, with his older brother David recently providing great heroics in the College World Series for Stanford's baseball team.  Like his older brother, Liam is a baseball/football two-sport star and might have looks in both from several schools.  "I think I have the edge over David as a quarterback," the younger brother proclaims.  "But he had a phenomenal junior year as a pitcher and has me there."  Liam says that he's a three-pitch guy with a great change-up and curve, plus a fastball that touches 85 or 86 mph right now.  He feels his football prospects are his best bet today, though "college baseball recruiting isn't rolling right now - that will start up July 1."  He has football offers from BC, Vanderbilt and Minnesota currently.  In his recently concluded baseball junior season he hit .556 with 8 HR, 45 RBI and 39 runs scored, as well as a 6-1 record and 1.3 ERA on the mound.  O'Hagan struck out 80 batters in 50 innings.  He figures his college baseball future might actually be as a 3B or SS, rather than a pitcher like David.
  • Breck teammate and Stanford-offered cornerback Brandon Robinson came to camp with O'Hagan, who he says is his best friend, as well as both parents.  The parents were on the rail watching the testing late yesterday afternoon, with Mr. Robinson sporting a Stanford cap.  Both parents were constantly attended to by swarm of Stanford coaches and will be here for the duration of the camp.  Says Robinson about his college choices, "I'm still looking at Stanford and Boston Colege as my big two.  I had a great time in Boston, which is where my dad grew up.  He likes BC but both my parents like a lot about Stanford.  I'm just looking for the place where I'll feel the most comfortable."  He later added an eyebrow-raising comment about the Stanford recruitment of his buddy, O'Hagan.  "If Stanford were to offer Liam, we would both commit right away that day," he states.  Another news item that transpired while he was in Boston was the latest twist in the ACC/Big East fiasco, whereby BC is no longer one of the invites to the ACC.  That was troubling news for the BC recruit.  "It's kind of a letdown," Robinson admits.  "I kinda wanted them to go to the ACC, and that might play a little role."
  • A lot of guys at the camp have been talking up the anticipated battle between Robinson and fellow Stanford offeree WR Austin Collie.  But the buzz last night was that the two may have been placed on the same team within the camp's structure, which would take away those fantastic battles during the 7-on-7 work.  Bacher as a quarterback was not happy with that and was chiding both late yesterday to make sure they maximize their matchups.  If that doesn't come in team play, then we'll still look for them to go up against each other in individual drills.
  • Alex Fletcher compares LB/ATH recruit Slade Norris from Jesuit HS in Portland (OR) with an athlete he's familiar with.  "He looks a lot like Matt Hahn, with how he's built," Fletcher opines.  Hahn is the other standout Division I talent on the St. Anthony's team, and has given a very early commitment to Penn State.  Fletcher and the Stanford coaches are eager to see Norris on the practice field, though, after he lost his junior year to injury.
  • Look for John Gibson to get a hard look as a tight end during this camp.  It's funny how things come full circle; he was nationally hyped as a tight end after working out there at USC last summer, but then moved to the offensive line in an effort to redirect his high school preparation for his best college position.  Stanford was looking at him as a guard/center, but he might have his best crack with the Cardinal at the tight end position.  This camp will go a good ways toward that question.

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