The news broke Thursday about the commitment that Stanford had just received Wednesday night from Mukilteo (WA) offensive tackle Bobby Dockter. While it is true that there was an important conversation that evening to finalize a verbal commitment with the Cardinal, the 6'5" lineman had his decision made long ago.
"I had actually given Stanford a silent commitment in June at the end of their overnight camp," he explains. "We kept it on the down-low all this time. Now I'm able to get the word out."
That made the recruiting phone calls Dockter had been receiving this month a little awkward. He needed to keep schools recruiting him at some level, in the event that he did not gain admission to Stanford. But at the forefront of his mind, Dockter knew where he was going while coaches chatted on the other end of the phone.
"I just listened politely," he says of the calls. "I did actually tell Oregon State that I was pretty committed to Stanford, though. They asked me straight up, and I wasn't going to lie to them."
The Beavers were not the only Northwest school to offer, though the in-state powerhouse Huskies took a wholly different path in their recruitment. They offered Dockter way before any other school, yet they never once rang his home phone in the last three weeks. "They had told me that a scholarship was there for me," the recruit reports on Washington's early interest. "But I guess they got a couple good guys in-state and decided they had what they needed. That's OK, though. I got exactly what I wanted: Stanford."
With Dockter silently committed more than two months ago, you may wonder why it took so long to make things final and public. The hold up was his Stanford admissions application, which he had thought he completed in early July. Turns out one teacher recommendation was missing, and he could not get back with that teacher until the start of school in the fall. He just recently wrapped up that detail and turned in the recommendation with his application fee. That was two weeks ago, and this Tuesday he received the first hint that a conclusion was in sight.
"Coach Teevens called and left a message with my coach Tuesday saying that he had some exciting news for me," the recruit recalls. "I called [offensive line] Coach [Steve] Morton Wednesday and he told me that I had been admitted. Coach Teevens called me that night and told me as well. He asked, 'How committed are you?' I said, 'I am totally committed.' We just had some other things about NCAA rules and my official visit to talk about. I think I'll go there the weekend of December 5-7."
For a player who through the spring and beginning of the summer was so undecided between the Cardinal and Huskies, what exactly swayed him so strongly at that camp?
"It's a place with an Ivy League education with the best Division I sports program in the nation," he answers. "That combination is something you can't find anywhere else. It's a great school, great campus, great coaches and there are a lot of great people there. I made a decision that will help my immediate as well as my long term future."
Bobby Dockter is the third commitment in this 2004 class for Stanford, and he is also the third OL recruit. It has been a clear and hard push that the Cardinal coaches have made for big bodies to bolster the front five this year, and there could easily be room for at least one more in this class.
"Coach Teevens says that they have some good guys on the line right now," the recruit explains. "But they don't have the depth. There have been talks about where I should play, maybe at guard, maybe at tackle. I've played offensive tackle all but two years of my career, but I'll play wherever they need me."
The early betting money is that Dockter plays at tackle at Stanford. For one, he is very quick and light on his feet and can cover a lot of ground pass protection against an edge rush. A second factor is that Stanford is thinner at the tackle position in its current ranks than guard.
With the final chapter now written in his college recruitment, the 6'5" 285-pound Kamiak High School senior is now able to turn every bit of his energies toward his final high school season. His school is 2-0 on the young season, but they have been decimated on the offensive line with injuries. Dockter plays at left tackle and has been a rock for Kamiak, but already two left guards have been lost. The first blew out his ACL and MCL, as well as sustaining bone damage, on one play. The second injured his MCL. Another lineman has blown out his shoulder.
"We're a little thin right now," Dockter explains. "That means young guys have to step up. The guy playing now at left guard is doing OK, but he has some mental things he wrestles with. There's a lot of telling him what is what and where to go."
Sounds like a parallel process the 2004 Stanford freshman will experience when he becomes the young pup in the pen at the next level.
But for now, Dockter is continuing his lifelong pursuit of improving himself as a technically proficient offensive lineman. Two games into his senior season, he has this to say of his play:
"I've only missed a few blocks so far, and hopefully they are few and far between," he begins. "I've played more up to my potential than in my past. I'm just playing better. I'm more confident. I'm hitting things harder. I move my feet a little better."
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