How To Makes Waves In The Desert

If you have your recruiting radar tuned to the most elite targets left on Stanford's board in this 2004 class, then you no doubt have a lock on Arizona OL/DL Allen Smith. This four-star phenom has the size, skills and offer list to rate high attention from a national collection of schools, with the Cardinal jockeying in a crowded field. It now appears that Stanford has made a big move in the last week that will excite you...

There have been as many prognostications on the college destination for Tempe (AZ) offensive lineman Allen Smith as there have been reports written on him.  His mother's position as a professor at Arizona State has been cited as cause for a strong Sun Devil lean.  Smith's fantastic official visit to South Bend has been the cornerstone for many predictions in favor of Notre DameTennessee has made a big push.

But Stanford has been afforded little public attention, despite the obvious academic inclinations of the premier student-athlete.  That has all changed in the past week, where the Cardinal have made a huge surge and no longer can be described as a school lying in the weeds.

It started last Friday with offensive line coach Steve Morton making an in-home visit with Smith.  "The in-home went very well with Coach," the recruit describes.  "He met me at school and we talked for about an hour.  Then I took him home and gave him the ground tour of the house - first coach to get it, I might add.  We talked a bit longer, and then my mom phoned in.  She unfortunately could not make it home that early in the day.  Then I took him to [basketball] practice with me, and he watched me play a little.  That's when he asked me to call Coach Teevens."

That fateful phone call gave Smith the news for which he had been pining so long.  The 6'5" 300-pound lineman was told the news that he had just been accepted to Stanford through the Admissions Office.

"It was utter delight," a beaming Smith recalls.  "I was on cloud nine all practice.  The visit and whole day - it was perfect."

If the Cardinal did not create a gaping crater with that meteoric day, they followed on Monday with an impact that rocked his recruitment.  Head Coach Buddy Teevens came into the home for his visit, and in doing so nearly landed a verbal commitment.

"I would be lying if I told you I didn't think really hard about committing during his visit," the #17 OL in America admits.  "But that's the way it is.  I think it is important and fair for me that I see what each school offers."

To that end, Smith is about to embark on his third official visit this weekend (12/19) when he treks to Westwood to see UCLA.  He won't take another visit for nearly a month, until he sees Stanford for the first time (1/16).  Then he will check out Tennessee for his fifth and final trip the following weekend (1/23).  These schools - plus ASU, Notre Dame and many others - have all offered.  That creates a very tough decision for Allen Smith to make in late January, but the last seven days have pushed one school ahead into new leadership territory.

"The recent visits by Stanford, first by Coach Morton, then by Coach Teevens, have shown a degree of interest in me far beyond what I had originally imagined," Smith declares.  "And with the fantastic news of my Stanford acceptance, I am fast running out of reasons to keep Stanford out of my number one spot."

Though recruiting and school put plenty on this student-athlete's plate, he is also hot and heavy into his senior basketball season.  Corona Del Sol is one of the top-ranked teams in the state of Arizona, and Smith is hard at work making the transition from football to basketball.

"Through three games I have five blocks and 24 rebounds but zero points - with an average of four to five minutes per game," he tells us.  "The reason I haven't gotten the [playing time] I want is because I'm still learning the offense.  I missed about four weeks worth of sets we learned.  And I'm also still getting into basketball shape."

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