Card Make Push For Pressley

One of the least discussed wild cards in the recruiting game is weather. Stanford often makes favorable impressions on recruits in December and January, when surprisingly mild Bay Area weather contrasts against the bitter cold and winter storms of other college destinations. But the snowstorms that have recently hit the Northeast have had another effect on the recruitment of fullback Chris Pressley. The Stanford coaches are making waves as well...

"Let it snow.  Let it snow.  Let it snow."

For Cardinal fans living in the Bay Area, spurts of recent rain have been an inconvenience - dousing outdoor plans and creating slick freeway driving.  But that pales in comparison to the setbacks that recruits in the Northeast have been experiencing of late, and Chris Pressley is a prime example.  He had his Woodbury High School's championship game (South Jersey, Group 1) postponed twice with the bad weather and untenable field conditions.  The inclement weather has also played a threatening role in his recruiting official visit plans.  Just a couple weeks ago he had planned to see:

Any visits this past weekend were wiped out, and there was a good chance earlier this week that he would be unable to take a trip this coming weekend, with the Woodbury-Schalick championship game poised for a December 13 date.  His Wisconsin visit had already been pushed from last weekend to this weekend, and it would have been scrapped altogether if he were playing football on Saturday.  But the field at #1-seeded Schalick was cleared for a Tuesday title bout, which Woodbury lost in a disappointing 21-6 final.  Woodbury (8-3) had been a dominating yet one-dimensional offensive power this year with their ground game, rushing for well over 3,000 yards before the championship game.  Pressley had half of those yards and 21 touchdowns, but the Schalick defense committed themselves to stuffing the run and held Pressley to just one score in his 25 carries (126 yards).

That ends an incredible run that the New Jersey fullback has enjoyed in his senior season playoffs.  In Woodbury's first postseason game, Pressley ran for 258 yards on 21 carries, including four touchdowns.  The next week he logged 168 yards on 16 carries and three scores.  In the semifinals he notched 151 yards on 14 carries with three more scores.

"I was just trying to step my game up and lead my team to the championship.  I knew they needed me to come through," he says.  "I've been running over people only when I have to, and since my hand healed a little, I stiff arm the mess out of people."

How can you not love that?  "Stiff arm the mess out of people" - that might be the best quote out of a Stanford recruit's mouth I can remember in years!

With such a superlative season, it is no wonder that Pressley has started racking up honors.  He was recently named the South Jersey Back of the Year, as well as receiving the Maxell Football Club's Player of the Year honors as the best prep player in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area.  If the Maxwell award rings a bell, you might have heard of its college and professional counterparts.

With his senior season of football behind him, a revised slate of college visits lie dead ahead.  Here is the latest schedule, per Pressley:

  • 12/12 Wisconsin
  • 12/19 Maryland
  • 1/9 Stanford
  • 1/16 Tennessee

But before he heads off to the Badger State, Pressley has been entertaining a regular rotation of college coaches.  Perhaps the biggest impact has come from the Stanford staff, with Northeast lead recruiter and quarterbacks coach Bill Cubit.  The Cardinal coach came into the Pressley home last Friday and changed the entire outlook of both the recruit and his mother on the distant West Coast college option.

"He presented the school very nicely, basically, and he opened my eyes to some new things," the recruit recalls.  "There were a lot of things we didn't know, like how much more diverse Stanford is than what we thought.  My mom said that what really grabbed her attention was that they gave back to the community.  And she appreciated the fact that the scholarships were endowed.  Stanford has a lot more to offer than just football and good academics.  Coach Cubit has been stressing that to me.  That's what caught my overall interest - what it has to offer as a whole."

Pressley has been high on the Cardinal for some time, publicly naming them a co-leader with Maryland (though he denies any leaders currently).  The concern in the household has been with his mother, who has fretted over her baby going 3,000 miles away from home to a strange place in a strange land.  Cubit hit a home run during this visit, though, and brought Mom fully into Stanford's corner.

"My mom plays a major part because if she's not happy I'm not happy," the 260-pound fullback recruit explains.  "I thought she wasn't feeling it earlier on in recruiting, mainly because of the distance factor, but now I think she is well over that and she just wants the best for me.  She said Coach Cubit really represented the school well - I didn't know she liked Stanford as much as she did."

"She doesn't trust my judgement sometimes," Pressley continues.  "She thinks I like colleges for all the wrong reasons.  I plainly tell her that I'm going to the school where it looks like I'll get the most playing time and that's going to make me better.  After [Cubit's] visit, that was the first time my mom really had a good feeling about schools, and she said it blew her away."

The Cardinal coaches are not resting on this recent victory however.  Head coach Buddy Teevens is in the school and in the home all day today with Pressley.  That visit plus the coming trips to Wisconsin and Maryland the next 10 days should provide an incredible amount of information for the hotly contested South Jersey fullback.

Of course the final crucial dimension in this recruitment, as with any Stanford target, is the admissions application status.  Pressley has completely submitted all parts of his application to Stanford, and it is currently under review.  He most recently was requested to provide the Admissions Office with a supplementary graded writing sample, which is usually a sign that a decision is close at hand.

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