When I reported on Mahtomedi HS (Mahtomedi, MN) senior fullback Jerod Arlich just two days ago, there was a heated race between two schools for his fifth and final scheduled official visit. Looks like I should have held that story 24 hours because a significant event transpired that Monday night that changed the balance of power between Stanford and Iowa in their fight for a visit from the talented 6'4" athlete.
That evening Arlich received a phone call from Stanford head coach Buddy Teevens, during which time the Cardinal head man gave a scholarship offer to the prized fullback recruit.
"It really helps me to know how interested they are in me," the Minnesota fullback proclaims about the Cardinal offer.
Arlich has seven offers from Division I programs now: Minnesota, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Navy, Colorado and Stanford. He has knocked Wisconsin and Navy out of the running, which would appear to have the Cardinal sitting pretty for his final visit. Iowa has yet to offer, but they have told him that they will do so once they have a chance to eyeball him in person. That opportunity is just three days away as Arlich will take an unofficial trip to Iowa City to watch his home state Gophers do battle with the Hawkeyes.
"I wasn't going to take the trip if I didn't bag a deer," Arlich explains about his hunting expedition last weekend. "But my uncle and two cousins, who I was hunting with, both told me I'd be crazy not to go to the game. My brother bagged a couple of does last weekend, but all I got was a bad cold with the weather below zero. To show you how serious I am about hunting, though, I'll be back out in two weekends. And that was when I was supposed to go to this back dance with my girlfriend of the last two years. She's not too happy."
So for Stanford fans who want to know, what are the possible outcomes that we could see with this weekend trip to Iowa? How will that effect his decision on his final official visit?
"I don't necessarily need to take an official visit to a school to learn what I need to know," Arlich begins. "The campus is the most important thing for me. Even before going to Iowa I'm consider Stanford about Iowa right now. The academics just blow everybody else away. However I could come back from this trip completely in awe of Iowa and dead set on taking an official visit, too. But I doubt it. I've seen several campuses and expect this to be much like the others."
Arlich has already taken official visits to Colorado and Notre Dame in the last month and will take his next pair of official trips in December when he visits the frost campuses of Northwestern (12/5) and Minnesota (12/12). "I've already been unofficially to both places," he says of the latter pair. "I've been to Minnesota a bunch of times and Northwestern once."
Last week Arlich proclaimed those four school as his top four, with the others jockeying for position just behind them. Today he spreads the love a little more broadly.
"All the schools are equal right now," he professes. "But Stanford has moved into that group of equals, if you know what I mean. I don't know the right way to say it. I'm wide open right now, but Stanford has definitely moved up."
To that end the Mahtomedi senior has launched himself into the earnest task of filling out the in-depth Stanford admissions application. With his football season just completed, he finds that he has a good amount of time to devote to the task.
"I just finished the first part of the application and am sending it in," Arlich describes. "I want to show Stanford that I am serious about this. I still have to write the essays and get the recommendation forms filled out. There are two teacher forms and one optional, which I'm giving to my counselor."
Arlich carries a 3.92 unweighted GPA at his high school and has scored a 27 on the ACT.
With November quickly slipping away and the first two weekends already gone from this recruit's schedule in December, both Arlich and Stanford are looking ahead to January for a possible visit date. "We didn't talk specifically about the official visit," the Minnesota target says of the Monday conversation with Buddy Teevens. "But I remember that Stanford mentioned early on that a visit could be in January, so we would probably do something one of those first couple weeks."
With four impressive offers and college options already entrenched in his mind with official visits before the calendar turns over to January 2004, though, there is a finite risk that Arlich could be off the board before a Stanford visit.
"That's possible," the recruit admits. "But I don't see it happening. While it's true that I would like to get my decision out of the way as soon as possible, I have to make sure that I am as informed as can be for this decision."
Another dimension of concern for Stanford fans has to be the distance factor, which has several times in the past worked against Cardinal recruiting efforts in the Midwest. While Stanford currently boasts a pair of Minnesotans in linebacker Jared Newberry and center Tim Mattran (plus a third who could commit any day in cornerback recruit Brandon Robinson), the road is long and arduous to convince a family and recruit from that area to let go.
To that end, Teevens also spent a full hour on the phone with Arlich's mother Monday evening. "My mom absolutely grilled him," says the son. "She tried to pick his brain as best she could."
How she feels about this newest entrant into the Jerod Arlich sweepstakes could go a long way toward a visit decision and ultimate college choice. Though the more immediate news should come after the recruit returns from Iowa City, and makes a comparative decision between the Hawkeyes and Cardinal for that last official visit. We will keep in touch with the 6'4" athlete and let you know all the latest.
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