Shortly before noon today, Stanford received their 16th faxed National Letter of Intent, which means Walt Harris has successfully signed all of the Cardinal's commits in this 2005 recruiting class. Click here for a complete and updated list of Stanford's haul. In a typical year, that would be the time to raise your champagne glass to toast the new Cardinal crop, but there remains one big fish still available. Rolling Hills (Calif.) Palos Verdes Peninsula High School senior standout Erik Lorig has not yet made his college commitment.
Lorig was aiming for a decision last week, after he had his Monday in-home visit from Walt Harris, supposedly the last recruiting activity he would endure. An unrelenting Charlie Weis at Notre Dame, however, convinced the recruit and his father to take one final official visit to South Bend this past weekend, which prolonged and muddied his final decision. Lorig raved about his experience at Notre Dame and made observers rethink the commonly held wisdom that the SoCal recruit would stay in his home state. All four of his other finalists and official visits lied within the Golden State: Stanford, Cal, USC and UCLA.
For the longest time, reports have claimed that Cal and USC were Lorig's two leaders, but new information reveals a changed picture. When Lorig has several times told The Bootleg that he held three favorites among his final five, and that Stanford was in that group, it was assumed that the Card were battling the Bears and Trojans. Sources recently have told us, however, that USC is not in Lorig's current top three. Going into the Notre Dame visit weekend, Lorig was actually reportedly leaning toward a final three of Stanford, Cal and UCLA. While the Irish impressed, we have heard that as of last night, Notre Dame is out of the picture.
Earlier today, Lorig's father confirmed for us that his son had narrowed his field of schools, though he would not paint a precise picture of who all was in and who was out. Fred Lorig did disclose that Stanford was one of the schools to make that cut and remain in final consideration. Our best information leads us to believe that the Cardinal are in tight contention with Cal and UCLA; the Bay Area schools may have at least some edge ahead of the Bruins.
Other reports in the last 48 hours have claimed that Lorig was down to a final two of Stanford and Notre Dame, or that Cal and UCLA are the leading pair. We believe otherwise.
Today is Signing Day, but there is no deadline this day for Lorig or any recruit to sign his National Letter of Intent. You may recall that five years ago, it took a full three weeks after Signing Day before Teyo Johnson and Amon Gordon inked with the Cardinal. The greatest Signing Day drama since then came two years ago when Mark Bradford and Michael Okwo both had to wait until that final day to gain admission to Stanford, after both had submitted late applications. Okwo's Letter of Intent was faxed in late enough that afternoon that the official press conference announcing the class had to be delayed.
In this case, Erik Lorig is not waiting on any admissions news. He cleared that hurdle two weeks ago and is instead weighing his options carefully and meticulously. The 6'4" 250-pound student athlete has been agonizing over this decision and stayed up throughout the entire night last night. Today, he still remains undecided. He and his family would like to make a commitment and sign the letter before the end of the day, but they make no guarantees.
In addition to his recent admissions acceptance, Lorig has found a stronger case for the Cardinal the last several weeks as they have changed their recruiting message. At times in the last year, Stanford has pushed their vision of the athlete as a dominating defensive end, or even an outside linebacker, in their 3-4 defense. But Lorig has long held a preference for playing offense. Since Walt Harris came to campus in early January and has hired his new staff, Stanford has moved more toward a tight end message. When Harris was in the home last week, he preached almost exclusively about Lorig's offensive role with the Cardinal.
Without a clear timeline, and with what is apparently still a very conflicted mind and heart, Lorig could announce at any time. We will continue to monitor this situation and keep you updated with the very latest.
Erik Lorig is a four-star recruit ranked as the #8 tight end in the nation and the #15 overall player in California by Scout.com.
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