If you have looked over Stanford's recruiting prospects page lately, you may have asked yourself why so little has been written about a four-star defensive tackle like James McGillicuddy. The 300-pound pass rusher has exceptional strength - benching a 420-pound max and 25 repetitions at 225 pounds, plus a 600-pound squat. He has great feet and hand-eye coordination, which derive from his championship wrestling acumen. McGillicuddy is ranked by TheInsiders as the #2 player in New England and the #50 player in the East region. So why has so been little said about him as we start the fall portion of the recruiting cycle?
One of the great stumbling blocks for both reporters and college coaches has been a mix-up on his high school. Massachusetts football does not have a lot of national credibility, and the depth of their prep talent is not renowned. So when outsiders first heard about the exceptional talents McGillicuddy possessed in the unlikely confines of the Bay State, they started inquiring. The word got out that the 6'3" 300-pound lineman hailed from St. John's Prep in Danvers (Mass.), but he in fact attends St. John's High School in Shrewsbury. The two schools are over an hour apart, and that meant mail and college coaches have erroneously traveled to the wrong destination in search of the talented two-way lineman.
"It's hard getting recruited in Massachusetts," McGillicuddy adds matter-of-factly. "So I'm thankful to have the offers and opportunities I do have."
Boston College, Syracuse, Rutgers, Connecticut and Duke all offered the St. John's standout, and it made sense that they would have a good read on him as a regional recruit. But Stanford and McGillicuddy had a hot & cold recruiting relationship before he came out in August to take an unofficial visit to The Farm.
"I originally told Stanford they were too far away, but now they are one of my top schools," he surprisingly reports. "It all changed when I got there because I loved the campus, the coaches and the guys. I didn't know what it would be like all the way out in California, and you have to like your surroundings. It's a beautiful part of the country with a lot to do in Palo Alto, San Francisco and Lake Tahoe."
It probably did not hurt that the Cardinal coaching staff came through with a scholarship offer after his visit. Suddenly the cross-country suitor is high on his mind.
"What I like about Stanford is the great mix of academics and athletics," McGillicuddy explains. "They have the best athletics in the country plus an Ivy League education. I like the coaching staff and really liked the players - they're cool guys who are as intense about football as they are about school."
The Massachusetts man has taken unofficial visits to Syracuse, Boston College, Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame and Stanford. He says that he grew up watching a lot of BC and Notre Dame football, but stops short of calling either of them a "dream school." Nevertheless, they both are held in high esteem as he discusses his favorites.
"My top four right now are Stanford, Duke, Boston College and Notre Dame," McGillicuddy maintains. "I'm about 95% sure I'll wind up at one of those schools. I've talked with my family and I'd like to decide in the next two months - in a perfect world. But a lot could change between now and then. I've already had so many ups and downs in recruiting. Every day it's different. I could see myself at all four schools."
The Cardinal are of course the most distant option of his favorites, which is never a factor to be ignored in the recruiting wars. At this time, however, McGullicuddy waves off the three time zones that separate him from Palo Alto. More astonishing still is his estimation of Stanford's chances in this battle.
"I'd say they have about a 70-80% chance," the recruit reveals. "Distance isn't going to be a big factor. College is for four or five years, and then you can always come back to the East Coast. My family could fly out to games to see me. I'm going to decide based on the best combo of athletics and academics - what is best for me and my life. I want my school to prepare me for the rest of my life."
Now that we know how very serious McGillicuddy is about Stanford, the next question looks toward admissions. The standout student-athlete carries a 3.4 GPA and took three AP courses as a junior at St. John's HS. He has scored an 1170 on the SAT (590M, 580V) and believes he can move forward with the admissions application process with that score. Just the same, he plans on retaking the SAT on October 9 to try and push his score north of 1200. "It's a personal goal, regardless of where I go to school," he notes.
All of the above paints a reasonably clear recruiting roadmap for James McGillicuddy's next few months, but it is worth mentioning that other schools are also on the case. Tennessee, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maryland and Virginia are currently outside his top four and have not yet extended offers, but they are recruiting him and looking to evaluate his play in this senior season. The stigmas of Massachusetts football may prove to be barriers in some of these relationships, but they bear watching in the coming weeks and months. We will certainly do our best to keep in touch with McGillicuddy as he navigates his final season at St. John's and the remainder of the recruiting process, and keep you informed of all his latest.
For junior year film footage of McGillicuddy in action, click here.
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