Before he departed for Palo Alto this past week for his third official visit, North Mesquite High School (Mesquite, TX) senior Pannel Egboh told The Bootleg that he could be "really, really close to a decision" upon his return. Shortly after he returned to the airport and pulled into his driveway this evening, the Texas tight end was really, really committed to his college choice.
"I met with Coach Teevens in his office this morning, and we were talking about the school," Egboh begins. "He asked me what my status was with Stanford and I told him: 'Coach, I'm coming to Stanford.' He was really excited. My parents supported the decision and so did the other coaches."
"We took a tour of the campus," he continues. "It was a beautiful campus. The thing that caught my eye was that Palm Drive - boy, it was beautiful. I met the players, the coaches and the coaches' wives. The people were all so friendly. That's why I committed this morning."
Egboh was scheduled to visit Rice next weekend and then either Arizona or Army on the 23rd. He thus has the unpleasant task of making some disappointing phone calls tonight and tomorrow to those schools, as well as to Duke and Colorado State.
"I'm done with my trips," he proclaims. "I'll tell them I've made my decision."
As he marched through the packed schedule of events, tours, meetings and parties at Stanford this weekend, Egboh had one other school in mind for comparisons. He reported last week that Duke was his #2 to Stanford's #1, and the Card stacked up as expected during his Saturday-Monday visit.
"I had a conflict between the two schools," the student-athlete recruit reports. "But everytime I talked to any of the Stanford players, it was more and more clear where I needed to be. Both schools have great academics and pretty good football, but I was sold on the player interaction and atmosphere. It was warm and easy to integrate."
Egboh gives credit to his pair of hosts: Alex Smith and Timi Wusu. The tag-team pair provided the recruit a tight end role model as well as a fellow Nigerian-American contemporary. "They both really made me feel welcome," Egboh adds.
Smith played another role during the visit, when Egboh and tight ends coach Tom Quinn sat down and watched Stanford film of how the tight ends are integral to the Cardinal offense. Buddy Teevens took Egboh's excitement even further when he favorably compared the recruit to a famous former tight end of his at Florida.
"Coach Teevens told me how I reminded him of Ben Troupe," the recruit says of the Gator senior who is regarded as the #2 tight end in college football and a top-two round pick in the coming NFL draft. "I'm a very athletic tight end, and they need me to replace Alex Smith when he finishes. Stanford wants me to be that really athletic tight end who can get down the field."
While Egboh is some seven months from even his first freshman camp snap in a Stanford practice uniform, there is conceivable reason to believe that he possesses truly unique upside. Egboh is every inch of 6'6", unlike most college prospects who systematically add an inch or two to their heights. He has long arms and moves around beautifully. The athleticism put together with his size makes Egboh a scary prospect. Think of Alex Smith abilities in the defensive backfield, but with another couple inches of size - plus longer arms.
After that shameful run of hyperbole, you would fully expect to see four or five stars next to this prep prospect's name in the Scout™ Database, but Egboh instead has been a relatively quiet recruit this recruiting year. You did not hear his name, as a matter of fact, on this network or any other recruiting service until this fall. That is because Egboh's father pulled him out of football his junior year at North Mesquite High School for making a 'B' in one class. Excepting for one playoff game at the end of his sophomore year, he had no varsity football game experience until his senior season. That crucial loss of exposure and development kept the rangy athlete out of recruiters' eyes until just a few months ago.
Though most schools were halfway to filling their recruiting classes by the time Egboh's name was surfacing this fall, he did manage to draw feverish interest from several schools. Offers came in short order from Stanford, Arizona, Miami (OH), Baylor, Duke and Colorado State.
Pannel Egboh recorded 54 tackles and five sacks on defense his senior year at defensive end, and blocked three field goals on special teams. He did not record any catches as a tight end on offense, but the North Mesquite wing-T offense rarely threw a pass to a wide receiver - much less the tight end. Egboh however has demonstrated himself a dominating blocker with range and footwork. The 6'6" 240-pound athlete is also a center for his school's basketball team, and his mobility on the hardwood has been as much a cause for exciting with the Cardinal coaches as anything they saw from him on the gridiron.
Though Stanford will put Egboh at tight end to start his Cardinal career, he also possesses intriguing potential on the other side of the ball at defensive end.
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