West Linn (Ore.) defensive back Elijah Molden has been one of the most sought after players in the West. The four-star recruit's final four is Stanford, Oregon, Washington and USC.
Molden, along with quite a few other top targets and commits, visited Stanford for the Cardinal’s 27-10 win over USC this past weekend. This was Molden’s third visit (an unofficial) to Stanford. Getting to see the Cardinal work, and dominate, up close made an impression on him.
“I always knew that they were a good team, that their offense controls the ball and plays smart,” Molden said. “Just being in-person and seeing how they operate, that changed my view of them positively.”
Among the recruits on campus with Molden was Stanford commit and tight end Tucker Fisk. Fisk and Molden were kindergarten classmates in San Diego. Their fathers were teammates on the San Diego Chargers and their mothers remain best friends. The two came up as high school football stars in California and Oregon respectively and reconnected through the recruiting process.
“I saw his name pop up in recruiting about a year and a half ago and thought, ‘Oh my gosh he just got offered by Washington. Wow, that must've been a cool kindergarten class,’” Molden joked. “We coordinated the game where I would go down and he would go down.”
In addition to his ties to Fisk, Molden said the other Stanford commits, including Georgia safety Stuart Head, were making their case for the Cardinal. Additionally, Molden was joined on The Farm by a group that included fellow alums from The Opening like Davis Mills, Colby Parkinson, Foster Sarell and Walker Little. Being around players who are going through the same process has been helpful to Molden.
"I've seen them a lot whether it's at The Opening or camps or what not. Seeing their faces isn't surprising to me anymore," Molden said. "It's cool that they're going through the same process as me and they can relate to what I'm going through."
The relationships aren't the only thing Molden got out of The Opening.
"I did come out of camp more confident because I can play with those guys," Molden said. "I can play well even with the best talent. What I'm looking forward to at the next level is playing with those guys consistently, and that will improve my game and be an even better player."
Molden plans to visit Oregon when they host Washington on October 8th and will head to Seattle for the Huskies and Oregon State on October 22nd.
He does not plan to visit USC.
Molden said he plans to make his decision after the high school football season, and while these four schools are on an equal ground now, he thinks a frontrunner will reveal itself over the next few months.