A couple weeks ago, Cardinal hearts sank when it was reported that uber-elite offensive tackle recruit Sam Young may look elsewhere for his official visits. Young trimmed his mammoth school list to a final seven in the summer, though each knew then that they could be left out in the cold when push came to shove for the 6'7" lineman's official visits. NCAA rules allow a maximum of five paid trips for any recruit.
Young had a packed season this fall, with nary a weekend window opening for an official visit. He had one penciled in for Notre Dame in November, but that went by the wayside. The 2005 season for the St. Thomas Aquinas High School Raiders concluded only this past Friday, in a disappointing state championship defeat. Young has just a handful of weeks now available before the February 1 Signing Day, and the business of scheduling his visits is at hand.
"I don't think he'll be able to take but three or four," says father Tom Young of his son's availability for official visits. "The Army All-American Game is the first weekend of January. With the season going so late into December, we're just out of time. Sam is going to USC next weekend, but we're not sure after that."
With the Scout.com/US Army All-American Bowl on January 7, there are only three weekends in January that Young could utilize for trips. If he plays in the Califlorida Bowl, his schedule would be slashed further. So is there any chance that Scout.com's #2 offensive line prospect in the nation would make a second cross-country trip, to see Stanford in an official capacity? The Youngs made one foray to The Farm in April, on an unofficial visit. Undoubtedly a return trip would be required for any chance of the Cardinal corralling the elite offensive tackle.
"I think Stanford is coming in this week," Tom Young tells us. "Stanford is still in it. We have only been out there the one time."
And it was just one game that brought a sour finish to what otherwise was a fantastic year for St. Thomas Aquinas. At 13-0 and ranked by USA Today as the #4 team in the nation, the Raiders romped this year until they were stopped cold in their tracks Friday night by the nation's #1-ranked Lakeland High School Dreadnaughts. Viewed through some eyes as a mythical national championship contest, the Florida high school Class 5A championship was instead a rout, 39-10.
"You're just a winner to get to that game," a proud father offers for perspective. "We had 12 turnovers all year and had, like, seen in one night. They didn't play their 'A' game and the other team did. They needed their 'A+' game to win against that team."
In the final game of his high school career, playing on one of the most acclaimed offensive lines in the last decade of prep football, Sam Young gave it his all playing in a rare role on the defensive line as well. Similarly, it will take double duty for Scout.com's #1 player in Florida, and #7 player in America, to come to a decision on his official visits - and then his college future - among Stanford, USC, Notre Dame, Florida, Miami, Michigan and Penn State in the coming weeks. Join the nation of college football fans, coaches and analysts in watching the story unfold. It should be interesting.
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