Kimble Swings Back

Tuesday night I talked with Baton Rouge (LA) athlete Anthony Kimble, and he spoke very highly of a Stanford competitor who made a big impression in his home that night. With a decision just a couple days away, Cardinalmaniacs were justifiably down. But recruiting is a funny thing. Fortunes can change as quickly as the wind...

You probably expected by this evening that there would be commitment news on receiver recruit Anthony Kimble. And if you read the story on The Bootleg from three days ago, you also probably expected the commitment to be bad news. Kimble was fresh off his in-home visit from Duke wide receivers coach David Kelly, who Stanford fans learned during his two-year tenure to be a tenacious and incredibly effective recruiter. The impact on this Baton Rouge athlete was clear, as he tallied several factors that pulled him toward Durham.

Kimble had thought he could reach a decision Wednesday night, after welcoming Stanford head coach Buddy Teevens into his home that evening, then sleep on it and announce Thursday. But when I called Kimble last night for his decision, he had some surprising updates.

"I don't have a decision right now, but I should have something to announce in the next few days," he begins. "I talked with Coach Teevens and now feel like I'm leaning a little back toward Stanford."

That will surprise quite a few observers, and Kimble explains what he and Teevens discussed that evening to sway him back toward the Cardinal.

"I think I have a chance to play early at Stanford," the 6'1" athlete continues. "Coach Teevens talked about how most schools have so many receivers, but they have few. Most importantly, I would be the only receiver in this class. That was what was appealing with Duke."

Undoubtedly, a program that scrapes bottom like Duke will offer heavy playing time opportunities to Kimble, who they no doubt are pitching as "the guy" they want to feature for the next four years. But the savvy student-athlete explains that there are deeper considerations for him with football.

"To me, Stanford is too big of a program to pass up," he opines. "I would play in the Pac-10 and get all that exposure. I want to get to the next level; my goal is to get to the NFL. I've never lifted weights and never done speed training. I've only played [football] for two years - basketball is all I had ever done."

There are still coaching factors for Kimble to unravel. There were two coaches at Stanford who had been his umbilical cord to the school. Both were let go, and that move significantly eroded the personal relationship and comfort he felt with the coaching staff. It is hard to remember for fans at times that coaches are more than just football teachers to these kids, they are mentors and second family for those who travel far from home. They are caretakers. Kimble's confidant is now at the school competing for his college services, and that should give Duke a tremendous advantage.

"But just how Coach Kelly left Stanford, he could also leave Duke," Kimble wisely points out. "I don't want to commit to a coach. I want to commit to a school."

A final dimension that has worked against the Cardinal is distance. Not only is Durham closer to Baton Rouge than Palo Alto, but also Kimble has quite a bit of family in the Atlanta area. They would be a drive away for him and help his comfort level in the college transition. While that weighs heavily in Duke's favor, Kimble and his family appears to be embracing an alternate view now.

"My parents both like Stanford," the University Lab School senior explains. "And they think it could really help me grow to go away from home and be someplace new. I think it could help me to not be so close."

Kimble says he is close to a decision, which could finalize any day, despite mounting attention he is receiving. Stanford and Duke have been the prominent pair, but a slew of new schools have been calling lately.

"I have 12 new voicemails I'm not even going to listen to," he details. "Like four or five schools have tried to get involved, but my father doesn't even want to tell me who they are. I feel really good about choosing beteween Stanford and Duke. I have enough on my plate."

Kimble also says that he would like to avoid phone calls from the coaches of his final two schools as he wrestles with his decision. He has visited both campuses and had both staffs in his home. The pitches have been made, and now he wants his time.

"I just need to isolate myself from the coaches and all the emotion they bring to this," he explains.

Kimble says he will call The Bootleg when he has a final decision, and we will be sure to bring it to you as soon as we hear. But unlike other nationally renowned talents, he does not want anything done at his school. Nothing with TV, newspapers or the Internet.

"I'm too laid back for a press conference," he declares. "I just don't need all that."

In just his second year playing football, Kimble ran for 1,124 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams. He is a fantastic basketball athlete still learning a lot about the gridiron. Though he was a running back at University Lab, both schools are recruiting him as a wide receiver.

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