Sam Young Coming West

Today is a big day for 2006 Stanford Football recruiting, with one of the nation's elite athletes on campus. But Taylor Mays is not the only head-turner to take an unofficial visit to The Farm this week. Friday will bring elite Florida offensive tackle <b>Sam Young</b> across the country to see the Stanford campus and program up close.

There are a handful of recruits in this 2006 recruiting class who are earning the "elite" label and appear to have the academics that Stanford can recruit.  One of the biggest targets, both literally and figuratively, for the Cardinal is 6'7" offensive tackle Sam Young from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.).  Young reportedly holds down a 3.5 GPA at the prestigious school and scored north of 1300 on his PSAT.  He has a big frame but glides smoothly with his feet and has great hands.  Young likely will be ranked a five-star recruit and one of the top offensive linemen in the nation.

When I called his father, Tom Young, last night to check in on the status of the big Floridian's recruitment, I received the news that both father and son are flying out West later this week for an unofficial visit of Stanford (Friday) and USC (Monday).

"We're trying to get him to see what a lot of schools look like," the elder Young says.  "The Stanford campus is different from an in-city campus like Ohio State, which is different from Penn State, up in the mountains."

Tom Young knows the Cardinal campus from his time living in Mountain View back in the Jim Plunkett era of Stanford Football.  The recruit's father also has another connection to the Cardinal program.

"Sam wasn't born there, but I'm originally from Pittsburgh," he shares.  "So I know about Walt Harris and the Pitt situation inside-out."

While a trip out West may pique the excitement of Cardinal fans about the interest the Youngs may hold in Stanford, the trip is neither the first nor is it the last unofficial visit they are taking.

"We've already visited Duke, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Florida, Miami (FL) and North Carolina," the father lists.  "We're just trying to get a potpourri of opportunities and looks, so Sam can get to know about his options.  We're trying to put all the ducks on the pond and see what way they swim."

"Stanford academically - you can't get much better than than," Young continues.  "But their football isn't USC.  Now, USC football is great, but they aren't Stanford academically.  We don't know if Sam wants to go get the best education, or if he willing to settle a little lower for a football-driven choice."

The St. Thomas Aquinas junior coincidentally spoke with's Scott Kennedy for a story today on this subject, and had the following to say about what he is evaluating at his myriad of school choices:

"I'm going to look at how well I get along with my position coach and not just him but the strength and conditioning coach," the younger Young maintains.  "The two coaches you see all the time are your position coach and the strength coach.  I want to be in a program that has a chance to win or is in the position to win.  I've been on losing teams before and it's not the best feeling.  The final thing I'll look at is how I fit in at the school.  I've been taking these unofficial visits to see the people there and the culture on campus and see how I fit in.  That will probably influence me a lot."

One more question on the minds of many Cardinalmaniacs™ is the offer status for Stanford with Sam Young.  Scholarship offers have been reported from the likes of Miami, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Penn State and Notre Dame.  But have the Cardinal come through with an offer yet?

"I don't know," answers Young's father.  "I think they have, but I don't know.  I know he has a ton of offers.  They roll in every day - so many that I can't even keep track.  I learned about one of Sam's offers the other day for the first time when I read about it on the Internet.  I don't know, but the kid probably has them all in an Excel spreadsheet somewhere."

This is just one of the many questions we will nail down next week when we speak with Sam Young after he returns to the East Coast from his pair of Pac-10 visits.  Stay tuned for a full report on the elite offensive tackle's impressions of The Farm, and the prospects for Stanford in this crowded but critical recruiting battle.

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