Though the summer may be a "quiet" period for college football recruiting in the NCAA rulebook, there is nothing that prevents a prospective student-athlete from calling college coaches. The kids who call a given school regularly through the summer are indeed some of the best bets to later take official visits and possibly fax in their Letter of Intent come February.
One such sterling example for Stanford's successful pre-summer recruiting is being felt in the form of Compton (Calif.) Dominguez High School's Richard Sherman. A two-way standout on the gridiron and a nationally ranked performer on the track, Sherman is one of the most exciting prospects on the board for the Cardinal today. The 6'3" 180-pound athlete could play on either side of the ball at the Pac-10 level, at wide receiver, cornerback or safety. And when he called Stanford Tuesday to talk with head coach Walt Harris and lead recruiter Wayne Moses, Sherman's versatility was a prime topic of conversation.
"I asked them if I can play on both sides of the ball," the recruit retells. "Coach Harris is very excited about that idea. He said that Stanford cannot always get the most talented players at every position, so there could definitely be room for me to do that."
He also spoke with the Cardinal coaches about when he would come for his official visit. Though you may feel like football recruiting is still mired in the summer doldrums, Sherman is an example where most of his plans are already laid out.
"It looks like I'll go to Stanford in early December," he shares. "Colorado - I'll likely go during the fall. Mississippi State will be mid-December, before Christmas break. I'm also talking with Nebraska about tripping in January."
While some recruits are ending their process early and avoiding the mania that comes with recruiting through the fall and winter, Sherman is in no hurry.
"I guess something could happen to end it early, but really, the earliest decision I could be making would be mid-January," he declares. "Some other schools might come on by then, but I'm going to try to stay loyal to those who offered me early."
When we last reported to you on Sherman, he held offers from Stanford, UCLA, Mississippi State and Colorado. Since then, Nebraska and UNLV have hopped on board.
"Arizona invited me to their passing league tournament at the end of May and said if I would come, they would offer, but that's right after I broke my wrist," he notes. "I couldn't go, and I've never heard from them again."
There is however one school, though thousands of miles away, which could still captivate Sherman's interest should they throw their hat into the ring.
With strong interest in a national slate of schools - spanning the Pac-10, Big 12, SEC and Mountain West - it comes as no surprise that Richard Sherman wants to take his official visits and take his time with his recruitment. He has had the chance to see three schools in the Golden State in an unofficial capacity. He camped at USC earlier in the summer and also took in an adidas camp at UCLA. Perhaps his most important visit came in May when he spent a day on The Farm.
"The visit was great," he reports. "It's a very nice campus. I met the defensive coordinator, the track & field coach and saw the track stadium. It's just an amazing place."
The track element of that visit was no accident, as Sherman is one of the top-ranked triple jump athletes in the nation. He was jumping just 43 feet as a sophomore, but he has matured tremendously since.
"My legs have been getting stronger, and my body has grown. I was only six-foot a year ago," he reveals.
Sherman surprised himself every bit as much as the rest of the world with his breakout junior season. And we will never know what he could have done had he stayed healthy.
"I broke my wrist about three weeks before State," he begins. "It was at the CIF Finals during the hurdles. They said it wasn't broken and I could keep competing. After that, I won the Masters in the triple jump with a 49'5.75", which is the best I've ever jumped. Then they found out it was broken, so I had a cast put on the Wednesday before State. I also had two pins inserted. They told me I shouldn't compete, and I couldn't really train that week, but I went to State because my teammates needed the points. I only finished fifth."
That personal best jump for Sherman was one of the top 10 triple jump distances of the year among all high school boys. Subsequent competitions in June, July and August and nudged his jump down to #16, but it is clear that this is an athlete who has a bright future in the sport.
"If they let me go on both sides of the ball, I probably wouldn't be able to do track in college, but if I end up play just offense or just defense, I'd love to do it," he allows.
Stanford's track record for two-sport athletes is one of the appealing aspects Sherman sees in the school, which he declares his overall leader today.
"I almost want to say that Colorado and Stanford are tied for number one for me, but Stanford has more to offer me," Sherman says. "Colorado is text messaging me a lot, and they send a lot of mail. The mail isn't as important as the personal messages - they're showing a lot of interest. Stanford is recruiting just as hard, but they just have more to offer me."
Sherman has a lot to offer Stanford, as well. He was measured at 6'3" and 180 pounds at the USC camp, which makes you think "safety" should he play on defense in college. But he has shown at camps (including the Beyond 2000 camp in Southern California in July, where he received the Most Versatile Player award) that he can be play cornerback. When you additionally consider Sherman's size and reach, along with his leaping ability, there is just one thing to say: there could be some epic battles in practices on The Farm in 2006 between Richard Sherman and Evan Moore.
But Stanford has a big recruiting battle still to win before those matchups next August materialize. One component, as is the case for all Cardinal recruits, is the admissions process. Sherman sports a strong 3.9 GPA but scored just a 990 on the old SAT last year. He says he had a bad day when he took the standardized test and expects a much high score from himself. As evidence of Sherman's determination, he has signed himself up for the ACT in September and the next available SAT, in October.
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