Stanford's notable surge in recruiting momentum has coincided with a flurry of campus visits that have come courtesy the program's weeklong series of instructional camps for high school players. Holder and fellow cornerback Alameen Murphy attended Stanford's camp Wednesday, while this past week's third commit, speedster Isaiah Brandt-Sims, visited campus last Monday (though he didn't participate in a camp).
"I had a great visit at the Stanford camp," Alijah Holder told The Bootleg. "I liked what I saw, I liked what was going on. So I made a call to Coach [Lance] Anderson and gave my commitment to be a Cardinal."
Listen to Holder's longer interview with The Bootleg Radio here.
In Holder and Murphy, David Shaw has netted a pair of physical cornerbacks who thrive in the midst of contact near the line of scrimmage. That's true to Stanford's defensive style, which favors overpowering opponents not only in front seven, but also on the edges. Last season, Alex Carter found a perfect niche within this system, using tremendous physicality to earn starting time as a true freshman. It's clear that defensive coordinator Derek Mason is counting on Holder's 6-foot-2 frame to fill out with muscle that will make for another physically imposing force on the outside.
In April, Shaw discussed the value of large cornerbacks. He mentioned that Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said the NFL is looking for physical corners who are taller than the past prototype. Fittingly, 6-foot-3 star Richard Sherman, a Stanford product, plays for Carroll now in the Pacific Northwest. The Cardinal also hopes that 6-foot-2 junior corner Ra'Chard Pippens earns more significant playing time because his physical attributes fit the Farm Boys' defensive philosophy so well.
Alijah also has a twin brother, wide receiver Mikah Holder, who is also looking for a Stanford offer. It was initially speculated that Alijah and Mikah's college football commitments might come as a package deal, but that plan is in jeopardy now, as Mikah awaits a nod from the Cardinal coaching staff. That situation is expected to develop over the summer.
Stanford now has pledges from three defensive backs in the 2014 recruiting cycle. Holder and Murphy join touted Texas safety Brandon Simmons in the class. Running backs Brandt-Sims, Christian McCaffrey, and Daniel Marx (being recruited by Stanford as a fullback) round out the current list of commits. The next month could see more developments on the recruiting front in the defensive backfield, with burner Terrence Alexander scheduled to visit The Farm.
David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
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