One of the jazzier recruiting stories for Stanford Football this year is the recruitment of speed rusher Darrell Robertson from Jonesboro High School in Jonesboro, GA. The defensive end was involved with the Cardinal in the spring before he jumped on board with a commitment to Bobby Bowden and Florida State in September. Robertson did make it known that he might still take some visits, but his recruitment went silent for most of the fall.
As temperatures dropped in Georgia this winter, however, the race has heated up once again for the 215-pound edge rusher. He took his first official visit to Georgia Tech in December and this past weekend officially visited Stanford. He will take his final fateful trip to Tallahassee this coming weekend to wrap up his semi-open college decision. For a recruit 3,000 miles away like Robertson, the official visit counts for everything, so did the Cardinal do and show enough this past weekend to leave an indelible impression?
"Stanford was very nice," the 6'5" defensive end comments. "It was everything I had been told. Just the campus - it was very beautiful."
Sophomore defensive end Julian Jenkins was paired up with Robertson as his host, and that assignment of course makes a lot of sense. Jenkins was a star defensive end in his own class (ranked #1 in the country) and had to make a decision whether or not to travel across three time zones for a four-year college experience in California. But Robertson says that it was the greater group of players he saw that made an impression upon him.
"The thing that most impressed me was the people," the recruit recalls. "They were all a close knit family. They all look out for each other."
While the people warmed his soul, his pulse was sent racing by a totally different aspect of the trip. Touring the campus on Stanford recruiting trips is about more than just the sites seen; it's about the mode of transportation.
"My favorite part of the trip was the golf cart races," he admits. "The lead hostess, Lisa, beat us all out because she had the fastest cart. It was rigged!"
Robertson has two phases to these recruiting visits: the first took him to two "new" schools while the second will be his trip to his commitment school in Tallahassee. The first phase is complete, and while it is unreasonable to expect Robertson to stack Stanford up against FSU publicly, he did talk about the impact he felt from the weekend in Palo Alto.
"When I took my trip to [Georgia] Tech I had already seen the facilities and buildings, but Stanford was something new and exciting," the Peach State prospect allows. "[Stanford] was a nice trip. It shook things up a little, but not much."
Those last three words strike at your Cardinal heart like a dagger. For a recruit to come straight off his official visit and not receive higher praise - it is downright damning evidence against Stanford's chances. You know that the Seminoles will put on a fantastic visit for him next weekend, and Buddy Teevens needed things to be very "shaken up" from last weekend to survive the Tallahassee trip.
So scratch this guy off the recruiting table...
... Or not. The dynamic to keep in mind is that Robertson has made a commitment to FSU and as such must be guarded in his public comments. This is particularly true given that he has not yet been admitted to Stanford. The Jonesboro athlete was finishing up his essays and teacher recommendations this week to mail off to Stanford, which puts his admissions answer at least days away, if not a couple weeks. In the interim, he cannot say anything to burn his FSU bridges because he has nothing firm yet to fall back upon in Palo Alto.
No, I believe Stanford did much better with Darrell Robertson this past weekend than his "but not much" comment lets on. We will only know if and when he gains admission to Stanford. Until then, just watch the paint dry and wait patiently. He has no reason to give any spicier public affection to Stanford anytime soon...
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