The last time we checked in with 6'4" fullback Jerod Arlich, he was preparing for an important event that could turn his recruitment one of several directions. An unofficial visit to Iowa to see the Hawkeyes play his home state Minnesota Gophers was setup, and that trip would heavily influence what the prized Minnesotan would do with his fifth and final official visit. He has already taken paid trips to Notre Dame and Colorado, and he is firmly committed to see Northwestern (12/5) and Minnesota (12/12) next month.
"There was a lot of driving, but it was fun," he begins. "I stayed over Friday night, got up Saturday morning and had breakfast with the coaches and then went to the game. My Gophers, and I can say that because I'm from Minnesota, got beat and beat badly. That was a bummer to see."
"I talked with the coaches after the game and was surprised they didn't offer me," Arlich notes. Iowa had previously communicated to the recruit that they needed only to eyeball him in person to make an offer, and he drove home a little perplexed and disappointed. The Hawkeyes rang his home phone quickly though, with a call last Monday night.
"He told me first that they thought I was too small to be a wide receiver, and I was like 'OK, nice talking to you.' But then the coach caught me and told me he was joking around. They had put an offer in the mail as a tight end/offensive lineman. They say I'm a big offensive athlete for them who could play my first couple years at tight end and then grow into an NFL lineman."
With Iowa now on board, the decision is even more difficult for what Arlich should do with his fifth official visit. All of his top six schools have offered, including Stanford. Will the Hawkeyes or Cardinal be blessed with the 6'4" athlete for an official trip?
"I'm thinking it will probably be to Stanford," Arlich reveals. "I already took an unofficial to Iowa, and I would really like to get out to Stanford. It's a place I can't get to on my own."
Though no date yet set for his West Coast trip, Arlich says that there is a probable date that will firm up once he can successfully complete Stanford's admissions process.
"They want to get all of the admissions stuff cleared before we schedule a visit," the recruit says of the Cardinal coaches. "But it will probably be January 9. I have already sent the first form to their admissions office, and just have my essays left. My three recommendation forms have already been handed to two teachers and my counselor. I really want to get it all done as soon as I can."
Arlich has previously said that we would like to wrap up his commitment earlier rather than later, and a January visit with a few "ifs" attached to it could be a cause for some nervousness for Stanford fans and coaches. How much of a chance is there that he might not wait that long for his final college decision?
"It's definitely going to work out," he emphatically responds. "Everybody tells me I'll get that feeling of where I want to go, and I'm still waiting for that. If I feel it at Minnesota or Northwestern, I might commit right away. But I doubt it. I've been to both places already - Minnesota several times and Northwestern once."
Of the two visits that Arlich has already completed, one thus far gripped him more strongly as a college probability.
"At Colorado I wasn't completely enamored," he begins. "But I liked it a lot. The location is unbelievable. We have hills in Minnesota that we pass off as mountains, but these were awesome. I'm a big outdoors guy, and mountains could open a lot of new doors for me. The campus was cool, too. I'm also interested in engineering and computer science, and they showed me a ranking where the Denver/Boulder area is third on the list of top destinations for technology companies. That could set me up really well after college."
Also with an eye toward his future, the Mahtomedi man understands what he could have ahead of him if he plays for his home state Gophers.
"If you play football at Minnesota, you are almost guaranteed a job in the state. The coaches figured that with all the times your name is in the papers, radio and TV, you get the equivalent of $1.2 million in publicity in the state," Arlich explains. "But if I graduate from Stanford, I can get a job just about anywhere in the country. I'm 18 and don't know where I want to live and raise my family."
The buzz Arlich is hearing about the Cardinal campus and environment is also building his excitement for the school. While he declines to name explicit favorites, his comments and enthusiasm hint at a three-school race right now with Minnesota, Colorado and Stanford in the lead. There may be seven or more weeks before he can reach his final decision, and he has three crucial visits still in front of him. Recruiting is too fickle a game to call anything with complete certainty. But it is undeniable that Stanford is rapidly building momentum with the Mahtomedi High School senior.
"The more and more I hear about Stanford, the more I like it," he allows. "The place just sounds amazing. But around here, California is regarded as a land of hippies. I'm very conservative and come from a very conservative area and family. I'm talking pretty right wing. California is the complete opposite. But Stanford is more complex than that, and every time I talk with the coaches I get a better feeling about the place. It's a great location and the academics are world class."
Jerod Arlich has completed his senior season in football and is currently completely engrossed in his Stanford admissions application, deer hunting and his girlfriend. He declines to give them in order of priority for fear of female backlash...
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