Several days of speculation are over. After taking an official visit to Cal over the weekend, Nifae Lealao has decommitted from Stanford, according to his Twitter. The Sacramento defensive lineman had been pledged to the Cardinal since September, but he joins safety Kirk Tucker as the second player to decommit from David Shaw's program over the course of the past week.
@HalitoBlake I Decommitted From Stanford— Nifae Lealao Jr. (@NEE_FEE_ZEE) January 23, 2014
About two weeks from the February 5 National Signing Day, Stanford's 2014 recruiting class now owns 16 verbal commitments. DL Solomon Thomas, DB Terrence Alexander, OL Casey Tucker, and OL Jesse Burkett (currently verbally committed to Derek Mason's Vanderbilt program) remain on the Cardinal's radar. All four paid an official visit to the Farm two weekends ago, and all four are expected to take their decisions down to the wire.
Stanford received positive news this week regarding Alexander. He was officially admitted into the school, and assistant coach Lance Anderson informed Alexander of this during an in-home visit Wednesday night.
"He didn't tell me right away," Alexander told The Bootleg. "He said that he wanted to wait until coach Shaw gave me a call, but he couldn't resist telling me."
Meanwhile, Shaw called commit Lane Veach to inform him of his admission this past Friday. It's been a busy week for the 6-foot-6 outside linebacker prospect who hopes to model his game after Trent Murphy: He also underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ACL that he unknowingly played on throughout his senior season. Veach's physical rehabilitation process begins next Tuesday. He expects to be fully ready to participate in football practice by the time he reports to Stanford this coming summer.
Quarterback Keller Chryst was also admitted this week.
Mason has taken former Stanford inside linebackers coach David Kotulski with him to Vanderbilt to be the Commodores' defensive coordinator. That leaves two vacancies on the Cardinal's defensive staff and one on the offensive side, where Mike Sanford left three weeks ago.
Shaw has yet to publicly announce a hiring for any of the three coaching openings on Stanford's staff. Anderson has been rumored to be a top option for the defensive coordinator spot, but he's also been extremely effective handling the bulk of the Cardinal's recruiting efforts, so Shaw may not want to detract from that by burdening him with Mason's old position. The Bootleg will continue to track ongoing developments in this shuffle.
Either way, the next two weeks are absolutely critical for the Stanford program as it tries to simultaneously replenish its player and coaching pool.
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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