When we last reported to you on Elk Grove High School junior two-way lineman Matt Kopa, he was fresh off a big unofficial visit to Stanford that resulted in a scholarship offer from head coach Buddy Teevens. The 6'6" 265-pound OL/DL said that the Cardinal led his list of college favorites, with Oklahoma and USC rounding out the top three. Kopa is one of the top talents in this 2005 West Coast class, with heavy recruitment regionally and nationally as both an offensive tackle and defensive end. The Stanford offer looked like a strong early strategic play, ensuring first-mover advantage ahead of the Card's competitors.
"Getting a full ride scholarship from Stanford is an honor," Kopa told The Bootleg. "I hope everything works out. I'm looking forward to helping turn the program around, and I'm looking forward to visiting again."
As it turns out, the next time the Sacramento standout visits The Farm, he will tour around the campus as a Cardinal commit. Kopa has surprisingly pulled the trigger and ended his college recruitment before it really got started.
"I did talk with Coach Teevens again last week after I had a chance to talk things over with my parents and my coaches at school, and I informed Coach Teevens that Stanford was the best place for me to go to college, that I wanted to play for him," the recruit reports. "Coach Teevens was really excited and couldn't wait to tell the coaching staff the next day."
Kopa's commitment is the first for Stanford in the 2005 class, and it comes at a position of tremendous need. The Card could not make the grade in their defensive line recruiting this past Signing Day in February, their one real hole in the 2004 class. To land a standout defensive end like Kopa in early March is an important early victory for the entire team. No member of the Cardinal coaching staff is happier, however, than Tom Quinn. The tight ends coach the last two year on this Stanford staff, Quinn has made the move across the line of scrimmage to defensive ends. The coach and recruit have had several conversations already, laying the groundwork for their combined future.
"I can't believe I am going to have a chance to attend one of the best academic institutions in the country, and I'm also going to get to play defensive end in the Pac-10," the excited lineman exclaims. " I also think Coach Quinn is going to be a great tutor who will find a way to showcase my abilities."
Kopa is quick to add that this Stanford scholarship and his verbal commitment still have one important event ahead before they can become concrete. Teevens carefully explained to the recruit that the offer is "contingent upon acceptance" at Stanford, where the application and admissions decision process are far from a rubber-stamping. Teevens encouraged Kopa to make this clear to me and all others who learn the news of his commitment, though the head coach has communicated to the Elk Grove junior his great confidence in the student-athlete's admissions prospects.
Honored and insired, Kopa adds, "I'm certainly not going to let him down."
The jumbo two-way athlete holds a perfect 4.0 GPA and will take both the SAT and ACT this spring. This summer he will camp at Stanford's overnight football camp.
Matt Kopa earned First Team All-League honors for his work on the offensive line, where he graded out at better than 85% in every game this year. He also earned All-Metro for the Sacramento area on the defensive line, despite moving into the DE starting lineup just midway through the season.
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