Sign with Stanford, Potential Up Arrows: Thomas has been academically admitted to Stanford, and the program is in the process of reloading along the defensive line. In an interview with The Bootleg Radio before the start of his senior season (below), Thomas came across as the type of well-rounded student-athlete that the Cardinal has so successfully pursued during the Jim Harbaugh-David Shaw era. His Coppell High School coaching staff is well connected with Stanford. They were even on hand to check out a spring practice in person last year. Added bonus: Thomas has been exposed to fellow Stanford defensive line recruit Harrison Phillips, who is apparently the most convincing influence in this Cardinal recruiting class.
Sign with Stanford, Potential Down Arrows: Arkansas and UCLA are Thomas' other two final candidates. The Bruins have been building momentum on the recruiting trail and also carry a proud academic tradition that can potentially lure Thomas to Westwood. The Razorbacks, meanwhile, struggled to a 3-9 record (0-8 SEC) in Bret Bielema's first season on campus. It's possible, though, that Thomas may embrace the challenge of being part of a rebuilding effort, especially since his sister Ella is currently a student there. According to Twitter posts, Thomas puts a heavy value on family, and his girlfriend also plans to attend Arkansas.
Decision Time, TV, Prediction: 5 a.m. PST, ESPNU, Stanford
Sign with Stanford, Potential Up Arrows: The Cardinal have been recruiting Alexander for a long time, distance is not an issue for the Louisiana native, and he was recently admitted to Stanford. The cornerback had long stated that an academic admission to The Farm would make Shaw's program extremely hard to turn down. He has also emphasized that Derek Mason's departure to Vanderbilt has not negatively impacted the Cardinal's recruiting efforts. Alexander discussed all of these positive factors in-depth during his interview with The Bootleg Radio three weeks ago (below), and his own father has recently told Scout that Alexander has come to a decision. Smart money says that Stanford is that pick, since it's difficult to believe that Ole Miss or Notre Dame would have been able to completely leapfrog the Cardinal so quickly.
Sign with Stanford, Potential Down Arrows: Ole Miss and Notre Dame are the two other finalists here, and Irish coach Brian Kelly flew all the way out to Louisiana to pay an in-home visit to Alexander just a few days ago. According to Anna Hickey's report, the recruit was impressed with Kelly's preparation during the visit. Alexander also believes that there may be a chance for early playing time in South Bend. It should be noted that Shaw did not pay a late in-home visit in rebuttal of Kelly's efforts; however, that can also be taken as a sign that Stanford is extremely confident in its standing with Alexander.
Decision Time, TV, Prediction: 7:30 a.m. PST, ESPNU, Stanford
Sign with Stanford, Potential Up Arrows: Leiataua is from Compton's Dominguez High School, and he knows alumnus Richard Sherman personally. In fact, he got plenty of press in the Los Angeles area for following in Sherman's footsteps when he verbally committed to Stanford. The term "committed," though, has lost value here since Leiataua himself (a Mormon) admitted he is currently grappling with a tough decision between the Cardinal and BYU. Some of the defensive lineman's tweets have been cryptic yet potentially insightful:
Is the smart decision always the right decision ??— Uriah Leiataua (@lopa54) February 4, 2014
It appears that he's referring to Stanford, with its acclaimed academic reputation and four straight BCS appearances, as the "smart" decision.
Sign with Stanford, Potential Down Arrows: Faith is powerful. He recently visited BYU, his childhood dream school. The Cougars offered Leiataua after he had committed to Stanford, but they rolled out the red carpet during the recent visit. The LDS Church has historically proven to be a strong draw, especially for particularly devout followers. Leiataua places himself in that category. Along those lines, it should be noted that Cardinal defensive coordinator Lance Anderson is also Mormon. Since he shares Leiataua's faith, it can be assumed that he has provided advice and understanding in this situation, and that may be a factor that ultimately benefits Stanford.
Decision Time, Prediction: 11:55 a.m. PST, no TV, BYU
Commit to Stanford, Potential Up Arrows: Vecchio has told The Bootleg Radio that he is a believer in the way the Cardinal puts its preferred walk-ons in a position to succeed. As a three-star recruit, he clearly believes that he has what it takes to earn a scholarship at Stanford. Vecchio has been academically admitted to The Farm, and he has mentioned that the cost of tuition (at least for his potential first year there) would not be an inhibiting factor. Listen to his interview with The Bootleg Radio below.
Commit to Stanford, Potential Down Arrows: Boise State and Penn are Vecchio's two other finalists, and the Broncos have offered a scholarship to him. The Broncos have a rich history of attracting recruits who weren't offered by major conference programs. This decision obviously presents an interesting dynamic because former Stanford coach Mike Sanford is now Boise State's offensive coordinator.
Decision Time, TV, Prediction: 1:30 p.m. PST, FOX Sports West/Prime Ticket (available in Southern California), Stanford
David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!