As fans marveled at the performance Saturday on The Farm by wide receiver Mark Bradford, who notched two touchdowns and career highs of nine catches for 185 yards, a look to the future begs a question. With every scholarship receiver on Stanford's roster in their junior or senior year of eligibility, representing the top six players at the wideout position for the Cardinal, where does the passing game turn for a playmaker in seasons to come?
While Bradford was working his magic against the Sun Devils, another 6'2" Los Angeles native was in Stanford Stadium soaking in the performance. Compton (Calif.) Dominguez High School senior wide receiver Richard Sherman and his mother were all smiles Saturday, as they watched Bradford and took in the entire day's experience.
"It was a great visit. It has really given me more insight on the Stanford program," the receiver recruit reports. "Also, I was able to see what was going on in the locker room, which was very exciting."
The feeling is mutual, with the Cardinal heavily recruiting Sherman. With his size, speed and athleticism, he could play wide receiver, cornerback or safety at the Pac-10 level. On defense, the two-way athlete has 20 tackles and five pass deflections through six games this fall for Dominguez. Sherman had an interception as well, but it was called back on a penalty. On offense, the receiver has caught 10 balls for six touchdowns and 347 yards. Three of those catches have gone for 60-plus yards, with another going 40 yards.
"I could play anywhere, but I'm starting to lean toward playing wide receiver [in college]," Sherman shares. "I feel like I'm a much better wide receiver right now. I'm making bigger plays. Receiver is becoming more natural for me."
While the 6'2" Dominguez standout puts up impressive numbers on the football field, Cardinal eyes are watching the mail. Sherman is nearly complete with his Stanford admissions application, with "just a couple essays" to finish. Also important is his October 8 SAT retake, looking to improve upon his score from early in his junior year.
"I think it will be a great score," he confidently forecasts. "I felt much better taking the SAT this time - much stronger. It was pretty easy. This was my first time taking the new SAT with the essay section, but I thought it would be harder."
Sherman's admissions fate is the ultimate determinant in his Cardinal recruitment, but he today puts Stanford as his solid favorite. His only official visit scheduled thus far will bring him back to The Farm the first weekend of December, one would hope with an admissions outcome in hand by that time.
"Getting admitted to Stanford would definitely increase their chances. But they're pretty much my number one school right now, so you can't really get much higher," he laughs.
The Cardinal have held a leadership position for some time with Sherman, so that news comes as little surprise. The number two school on his mind, however, may not be who you expect.
"Mississippi State is my number two right now," he reveals. "Their coaches talk to me a lot."
Sherman was impressed when the Bulldogs sent wide receivers coach Guy Holliday all the way to Compton for a Thursday visit to his school and Friday attendance at a football game. Their track coaches have come to Dominguez High School as well, in recognition of the triple-jump athlete's importance on running track in college.
The school that previously occupied the second slot in Sherman's list was Colorado, but he says that the Buffaloes are not recruiting him as hard lately. One local school offered in the spring but now is ramping up its efforts and remains a viable option in his mind.
"UCLA has been in contact with me a lot lately, so they're in it," he comments.
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