You've undoubtedly read the reports on the Internet, where WR/KOR phenom Doug Dutch has proclaimed that four of his official visits are set. To recap, he says that he will first head to Virginia the weekend of November 29-31. Next he hits Miami (FL) December 6-8. The following week he will trek to Michigan the 12th through 14th. His fourth scheduled trip will bring him back to the Sunshine State to Florida on January 9-11. Recruits are only allowed five official visits, and that would leave the Washington D.C. standout with only one trip to schedule. The schools he has mentioned of late in the running for that final visit have not included Stanford.
Things look bleak for Cardinalmaniacs™, who are looking for a true burner at the wide receiver position in this recruiting class. While there are others on the Stanford roster who have some speed, only fifth-year senior Luke Powell has demonstrated gamebreaking playmaking explosiveness on Saturdays. Stanford signed no scholarship receivers in the 2002 class, and only two of the four signees in the 2003 class are at receiver today. Jai Miller signed a professional baseball contract, while Tim Sims has moved to cornerback. The two remaining WRs are exciting talents, but neither come even close to the speed that Dutch offers.
The inability to sign this D.C. dynamo come February could be a crushing blow to Stanford, to say nothing of the failure to bring him out for an official visit. But as the sprightly Lee Corso would say: not so fast!
"We are definitely taking an official visit to Stanford," Dutch's mother, Veronica, proclaims. "We will both go there. Mom says so."
"I've told him that he doesn't need to take the official visits to the Florida schools," Veronica Dutch continues. "He's already seen them with the trips during the summer. I'm telling him that Stanford is such a special opportunity that he needs to at least take a look. The only two visits that are firmly scheduled right now are Virginia and Michigan. The rest still need to be scheduled with [Gonzaga College HS head coach] Kenny Lucas."
In addition to the mother, Coach Lucas is in an advisory position of strength in this matter. He is another ally who is encouraging the senior wide receiver to take an official trip to Stanford, and he believes that his speedy star might take just one of the visits to the Florida schools.
But when I speak with the elite recruit directly, he stands resolved that he will take the four announced official visits to Miami, Florida, Michigan and Virginia. "Stanford is still in contention with Maryland, Pitt, Notre Dame and Tennessee for my fifth visit," he opines. "My mom is really pushing Stanford, but nothing has been set up yet."
"I'm getting a few phone calls each night, and that is becoming hard to deal with during school and my season," Dutch continues. "That's why I need to narrow down my school list soon - to cut down on all the time the calls take. That's something I will decide with my coach and family. But I'm looking at what the school offers me. How will they make me a better player and how will I fit in. I want to play early, too."
The Cardinal coaches have been calling Dutch as often as NCAA rules permit, and he does recognize that their pitch is a little different from what he hears at other schools. "They are different because of their academics," the recruit offers. "The other places have good programs and are good schools, but Stanford stands above the rest when it comes to education."
That indeed is the distinguishing appeal for the Card to many recruits, but Dutch says that there are lingering concerns he cannot currently see past. "With Stanford I'm still getting to know the coaches," he begins. "But the real reason I'm unsure on them is that last year they didn't have a winning record. They are not a football powerhouse like my other schools. A lot of college coaches tell me that I am a nationally recognized recruit, and I should go to a national powerhouse program. If Stanford could put together a winning record this year, that would be nice."
While this internal battle brews on the recruiting front for Dutch, he is otherwise occupied with a battle on the football field. Gonzaga College is 1-1 thus far on the year, and he is a little disappointed with his stats thus far. He has caught just two balls for 41 yards, one of those receptions going for a score. He has also returned an 80-yard interception for a touchdown, and brought back a 60-yard kickoff return.
"I could do better," the U.S. Army All-American asserts. "Our passing game could be better right now. But I've already proven myself, so I'm not personally worried for myself."
If there is ever a big stage to reestablish his reputation as a nationally elite playmaker, this Saturday will present a fantastic opportunity. Dutch and the Gonzaga Eagles will take on nationally ranked DeMatha Saturday in a game that USA Today has tabbed their Game of the Week.
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