For the last several months, dating back to his unofficial visit to The Farm this summer, Clinton Snyder has held Stanford in high public esteem. The Cardinal had yet to offer the San Diego defensive end, but he has unwaveringly dished out praise in a breadth of reports from recruiting services. You had to wonder, however, how long that enthusiasm could hold up in the absence of Stanford's offer. Meanwhile, Snyder has held offers from and been feverishly pursued by Cal and UCLA.
The Card laid their hand down on the table last week and took a big step forward in winning the services of the standout defensive recruit.
"UCLA, Cal and Stanford have really been turning it up lately," Snyder begins. "But the biggest news is that Stanford offered me last Thursday. I had sent my application in, and 10 days later I was accepted and they offered. That's basically what they had been saying all along - that they would offer me when I was accepted."
With a GPA north of the 4.0 line and an attractive 1240 SAT score, the Spring Valley (Calif.) student-athlete had some confidence that he would pass through Stanford's admissions process. That did not diminish the excitement in the Snyder household, however, when Cardinal head coach Buddy Teevens delivered the news over the phone last week.
"It was great. I was really excited," the recruit recalls. "My parents were really excited. They called everyone in the family right away."
The next question is if Stanford lost their leadership position by offering relatively late in the recruiting process. Other Pac-10 programs put their chips on the table in the spring and summer, while the Cardinal made Snyder jump through their hoops and wait patiently in the interim. The ego of a blue chip recruit can be a fragile thing, and many top prospects have shunned one-time favorites who arrogantly slow-played them. Will the Monte Vista High School senior harbor any animosity toward Stanford after all the time that elapsed?
"No," he quickly replies. "I understand why they waited. And I was pretty confident I would get the offer."
"Stanford has been my number one [school] the whole time," Snyder continues. "But this just makes it even stronger for them."
Do not expect the San Diego County standout to pull the trigger soon for Stanford, though. He is in the thick of a 7-0 season with Monte Vista and would like to push all of his recruiting off until he completes his senior campaign.
"I'm going to keep talking to people, take my trips, and then decide after the trips," Snyder explains. "I'll wait until after my season is over to take my official visits - in late December and January. I'm positive I will take trips to Cal, Stanford and UCLA. I don't know if I will take the other two or not."
The Monte Vista Monarchs are currently ranked #3 in the county and have a chance to close out on a special season. They hold a perfect 7-0 record with three league games remaining before the playoffs. In their last two games, Monte Vista romped to 48-0 and 42-0 victories, with rousing successes on both sides of the football. Snyder is playing both ways this year, making as much of an impact as he can at defensive end and tight end.
Over on defense, the 6'4" 210-pound athlete is finding the disadvantage of playing on the edge, where opposing teams have the discretion of involving him in a given play or not.
"I'm drawing a lot of double-teams, and they run the ball away from me," Snyder says with some frustration. "I have to make a lot of tackles from the weakside. My defensive stats aren't going to be as good as last year."
"I'm a lot stronger than when I was a junior, but I've kept up my speed. I can still chase plays down," he continues. "I haven't really been tested on my strength, though, which is disappointing."
He may not be in the position to make as many plays as he would like, but it remains clear that Snyder is having a strong year. He has recorded eight sacks on the year and is averaging six tackles per game. Over on offense, his touches are few and far between, so he has to make them count. The starting tight end has caught five balls through seven games, converting three of them for touchdowns.
"I'm a big playmaker when I get my hands on the ball," he offers. "They've been short passes where I've made more yards after the catch."
With his lean frame, his 4.66 speed and his playmaking ability with the football, you might envision Snyder's future as a receiving tight end at the college level, but schools are primarily recruiting him for defense. Most of those suitors see him on the defensive line as a weakside rush end to play out on the edge, but Stanford has him penciled in as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.
While Clinton Snyder has been consistent for several months about his love for Stanford, and he now says the relationship is even closer with his admissions acceptance and offer, it will take another two months for this recruitment to come to a close. All signs say the Card should pick up this pass-rushing prize come January, but recruiting hands us surprises more often than not, so stay tuned.
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