Let this be a reminder that 17-year old kids are unpredictable, and that they have the prerogative to change their minds regularly and radically. Earlier this month we reported that 6'7" Bostonian Chris Marinelli significantly favored Duke, with the odds stacked against Stanford or any other school to catch up. He had unofficially visited two of his three offer schools: Duke and Boston College. The former came away as his favorite, while the latter held the hometown advantage and longtime link between the Eagles and his current school - Boston College High School. The Farm was 3,000 miles away and to observers looked like a perfunctory final step to precede his commitment to the Blue Devils.
But Marinelli and his father had one whopper of a visit to Stanford this past weekend, and now the jumbo recruit has made a surprise verbal commitment to the Cardinal.
"The atmosphere and the kids are just great," Marinelli gushes. "San Francisco, Palo Alto and the campus - the whole area is real nice. It just kills Duke."
"The weather was just awful [at Stanford], though. 85 degrees and sunny. Where was the snow and rain?" he adds sarcastically with a chuckle.
The oversized OL/DL had heard tales about how nice the campus and weather would be, however. It turns out the biggest surprise, that carried the biggest impact for him, was the players he met during his weekend visit.
"I thought the kids would be all geeky, with their heads in the books all the time," he admits. "Turns out they're totally cool kids who are a lot like me. The campus, the weather and facilities all blew me away, but what really sold it for me was the kids. I got to hang out with Fletch, Allen Smith, Jonny Cochran and a whole bunch of guys. They're guys just like me, looking for the same things in life that I am. They're smart guys who love the game but want to go to the NFL. I don't want to go to school where the kids are just there for the academics, you know?"
The vibes and messages he has received from the coaching staff struck a chord with the Massachusetts man, as well. He previously was enamored with the messages from Duke and Boston College about attitude and player development, but found at least equivalent advantages from Stanford head coach Buddy Teevens.
"Coach Teevens said that he is building the Stanford program with the same kind of kids as me. That's what I like to hear," Marinelli reports. He spent most of his unofficial visit with lead recruiter Bill Cubit, but the 6'7" prospective student-athlete
"We were just hanging out," the BC High standout comments on Cubit. "It was not so much recruiting as it was just looking at the school and soaking up all the atmosphere. I liked that."
Though Marinelli is the third public commitment for Stanford's 2005 recruiting class, he is the first known admit. The Quincy (Mass.) student-athlete initially submitted his admissions application in May but says that he later learned he was missing a few parts of the application. With those loose ends recently tied up, Marinelli found out his admission to Stanford on Friday.
The last remaining question surrounds his position. The 6'7" 273-pound athlete has primarily made his mark as a tight end and defensive end in high school, but with a burgeoning body that is still filling out, he understands that he will be best in the trenches at the college level. Though early indications where that he might be a defensive line recruit for the Cardinal, he reports that he will be an offensive tackle.
"That position is just too valuable," Marinelli opines. "And for me personally, I know that tackle is my best chance to get to the League. I'm too big now to play tight end, and I don't know that I have that burst of speed for the defensive line."
With the Bostonian slated for offensive tackle, that may leave just one more OT slot in this class for the Cardinal. Coincidentally, top Iowa tackle Matt Pipho visited unofficially at the same time this past weekend and might be the man to fill that slot. There are other offerees on the board as well, and it will be interesting to watch how that competitive situation plays out in the coming weeks and months.
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