Football Weekend Visits Underway!

The talk around the Farm this last week has been all about Tyrone and the Notre Dame job, but behind all the smoke, Stanford football kicked off its stretch run in the recruiting season. Four talented prospects visited the campus for their official visits this weekend, and I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with all four. Important talent on both sides of the ball...

Gerald Commissiong (aka "The Commish") is one of two verbal commitments to the Cardinal in this class, and he took this weekend to enjoy his official visit. He was accompanied by his lovely sister, Marcelle, as well. Gerald told me that he is very firm in his commitment, and still sees everything right with Stanford that he saw from his last visit. Given the ridiculously nice weather in Palo Alto the last few days, the Commish is particularly excited about the weather - a welcome change from Ontario, Canada. Unsurprisingly, his host was Kerry Carter. Gerald was working to sell his potential classmates during the weekend, though he didn't believe any of them would commit by the end of this visit. In looking ahead to his time at the Farm, we talked a little about his position. Though he plays both running back and safety currently, he is projected at safety at Stanford. When I asked which safety slot suits him best, he didn't hesitate: strong safety. His sister chimed in that Gerald is a big hitter and really loves to hit. He grinned. He looked like he's got a very good frame, and could develop into a Tank Williams body, though more compact. Interesting that when I told Gerald the news that Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary is taking the Notre Dame job, he was a little disappointed. Not that Tyrone wasn't the man, but that "our opponent" in the Seattle Bowl was taking a blow like that. Sounds like he wants his boys to beat the best.

Wesley Walker is another talent on the defensive side who the staff is very high on. Wesley is a long linebacker from southern California, and this weekend was his second official visit. Mike Craven hosted. Wesley might have been the guy who seemed most blown away by the visit, citing "everything" as being fantastic. That included his sit-downs with professors, as WW has his eyes set on sports medicine. He has three visits remaining, including Oregon and UCLA, though he told me that the final decision is going to come down to Stanford and UCLA. He'd like to take that visit before deciding, but Stanford looks tough to beat right now. Unless Kent Baer gets the Vandy job and introduces a little chaos into the equation, I believe Wesley will don the Cardinal and White. FYI, his father likes Stanford quite a bit, though his mother is neutral and happy with either option. The "close to home" factor that would favor the Bruins was mentioned, but only in passing. Oh, by the way, Wesley has long since turned in his application and been accepted by Stanford admissions.

Tim Shaw travelled a greater distance from Michigan for his visit this weekend, and was hosted by Mike Sgroi. Sgroi's high school is apparently just 10 minutes from Shaw's, though the two never played, since Mike's school was much larger and played in a different class. The two knew each other, though. Tim could play as a running back or linebacker in this class, though my visual inspection would recommend fullback. He's got a big frame that reminds of Casey Moore. Tim still has visits to take to Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, and is a good distance from making any decision. He is about to turn in his application to admissions, as well. He said positive things about the visit, which apparently surprised him. He didn't think he'd be this impressed with Stanford. Still, my instincts say that this is a tough one for Stanford to pull in. He wasn't as glowing as the other three recruits about the weekend. I project that Tim is too tough to pull away from the Big Ten and his home region. Just my gut saying this, though.

The final fellow of this four is one who needs no introduction to Cardinalmaniacs™: uberquarterback, Trent Edwards. He was hosted by "Hollywood" Chris Lewis this weekend, and was really enjoying himself. I took particular notice that he cheered throughout the Stanford volleyball match Saturday night for the Cardinal. Trent said that he was having a great visit, across all aspects. It was easy to tell that Stanford did well for itself this weekend, though I don't see a decision coming before Trent takes his visits. He is yet to travel to UCLA and Michigan, which round out his top/final three. He said that of his national visits last spring, Michigan impressed him the most, and he felt he owed it to himself to go take a look there. Of UCLA and Bob Toledo, Trent said that he has been promised a chance to compete for the starting job next fall, which combats the obvious concern of two other QBs already committed to UCLA in this class. Toledo assures Edwards that the spot and high interest are still there. Perhaps the most interesting development is that Trent has finally submitted his application to Stanford admissions, handing it in on Friday. He was very optimistic about the application, particularly noting that he spent a lot of time on his essays. He expects to hear back the decision within a week. The $100k question is whether Trent might commit to Stanford upon acceptance by Old Union. His answer to me was that he's not likely to do that, since he really does want to take his visits. He also told me that he's most likely to stay in California, which makes Michigan a longshot. This is still a Stanford-UCLA battle, though an acceptance at Stanford and this visit make this better than 50/50 for the Cardinal.

Of course, the issue lurking over all of this was the possibility of Tyrone Willingham going to Notre Dame. I received word that O'Leary was taking the job on the BootPhone while at the volleyball match, and passed on the word to the collection of players and recruits after the match. First, I asked what they had been told by Willingham. I heard a couple people say that Tyrone said he was staying put, while some other just believed he wouldn't leave. But I also noted some elation and relief from the guys. It is unclear how strong a message was given by TW prior to the final Notre Dame hiring decision and acceptance, and when it came.

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