Cardinal, Westphal at Crossroads

Illinois cornerback Parker Westphal is interested in Stanford, but he says that he doesn't visit schools which haven't yet offered him. Read on to learn the latest on the defensive back's recruitment.

2014 Illinois (Bolingbrook) cornerback Parrker Westphal is a top prospect, no matter one's metric of choice.

Scout gives him four stars and dubs him the No. 9 cornerback in the nation, and other services largely concur, with Westphal averaging out as a top-100 prospect nationally.

The offers back up the services' evaluations. Listed at exactly six feet and 175 pounds, Westphal reports some 20 offers, with Florida on that list alongside virtually every Midwest power, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin among them.

"Schools stop in every day to pull me out of class for a few minutes," Westphal said. "Then I talk to coaches, and then there's interviews after school and practice, but it's nothing I can't handle."

From a Stanford fan's perspective, the good news is that Westphal has serious interest in the Cardinal.

"It's a prestigious school that's always ranked high academically," he said. "I think I saw a world report that ranked them in the top five in the world. They're also starting to be a powerhouse in football, winning the Rose Bowl. They've produced great DBs, like Richard Sherman. And then I saw a video of the secondary last year, and they were killing it."

Stanford has visited several times, per Westphal's account, but a catch-22 looms.

"I honestly have no clue," he said of the latest on Stanford's recruitment. "They visited three times within two weeks, but then a few questions popped up. They don't accept early grads, but it wasn't set in stone [that I graduate early]. Then they want me to come out to camp and get an offer. So far, I have no clue. So they say they're interested, but then ask the tough questions."

Thus, we've reached the paradox. Per Westphal, Stanford doesn't want to offer until they see him on campus, in part to confirm his interest and in part to ensure he is a good fit on the gridiron. Yet Westphal doesn't want to visit a school that has yet to offer, and further, is upset by Stanford's extra scrutiny given that 20 other schools have proffered.

He reports a 4.3 GPA and an ACT score that would not derail his recruitment, though Stanford may ask for a retake.

"I'd have to take two AP classes next year and I'm already taking AP physics next year, so that's no big deal," he said.

Obviously there are two sides to any story and, in this instance, NCAA rules prevent a reporter from a recruiting website from contacting Stanford coaches to obtain their input. Thus, The Bootleg is left with Westphal's perspective, which is that the Cardinal have not reciprocated the interest of a player who is seriously considering Stanford, admissible and quite talented to boot.

"They said they were going to offer but they haven't offered," he said. "It's been a top school I'm considering, but there's always been something that came up. I was real interested but then [came] all the red flags."

Westphal adds that while he has contact with tight ends coach Morgan Turner and a Stanford linebacker coach came to watch his track meet last week, Westphal has yet to speak to a defensive backs coach. While Stanford has no coach so designated, defensive coordinator Derek Mason was Stanford's DB coach before the promotion, and still retains many of those same position group responsibilities.

Westphal reports Stanford is still trying to get him to visit, but he's noncommittal at the moment.

"I don't know yet," he said. "I've only been visiting schools I have offers from."

Westphal would like to make a decision soon, but is prioritizing making the right decision over a timeline. As such, there does appear to be enough time for the Cardinal and the DB to iron out their differences, if that's the path this recruitment takes.

"I'd like to make a commitment before the season starts and get it out of the way, but I'm going to make a decision when it feels right and I'm comfortable, because I don't want to regret it," he said.

This offseason, Westphal is working on footwork, speed and technique, especially in press coverage. He works out with his DB coach Mondays and Wednesdays, and concentrates on footwork and technique on Thursdays.


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