Stanford is red hot in Southern California this month. While there has been much celebration in the Cardinal community for the commitments within a span of just a few days of wideout/cornerback Richard Sherman and running back Toby Gerhart, another prime prospect for Stanford pulled the trigger quietly just before that ball got rolling. Last Thursday, the Cardinal corralled their top linebacker recruit when North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall High School standout Sam Weinberger was admitted.
"I pretty much made my commitment on the spot," Weinberger says. "I was ecstatic to find out that I got in. I told my parents, and they were excited. I talked to Coach [Tom] Freeman and Coach [Nate] Hackett. It was a great day."
The Campbell Hall standout recorded 110 tackles, two interceptions and two safeties as a senior, to go with 300-plus yards rushing and a handful of touchdowns. He was named the CIF Division XIII Defensive Player of the Year. Also a standout baseball player, Weinberger at 6'3" and 235 pounds is an athlete with size who can run well. Stanford liked him early enough that they extended a scholarship offer before he started his senior year. Despite all that, Weinberger has received little coverage in the public recruiting services. That includes a part of his story which makes his Stanford admission all the more laudable.
Sam Weinberger has a diagnosed learning disability that slows down his reading comprehension. It takes longer for his brain to interpret the words his eyes see before him. Though that has been a challenge for him in the classroom, Weinberger has worked with his teachers and put in a wealth of extra time outside of class to maintain an exemplary 3.8 GPA. Standardized testing has been an even higher mountain to climb, however.
The SAT proved disastrous for Weinberger, as he struggled to come anywhere near finishing the test in the time allotted. Test preparation is the answer for most kids who look to improve their score, but this was an intrinsic problem the Princeton Review could not remedy. Weinberger's prospects for Stanford admission became hopeful once again, though, once he discovered the ACT. He says that the structure of the test and the number of questions they ask during a given period of time is easier to accomplish. Two tries with the ACT this past fall netted him a score of 26 on the ACT, which translates to approximately an 1180 on the old SAT (out of 1600). That was miles ahead of his SAT score, giving him a great chance for admission at his favorite school.
Though he put in a good deal of hard work into get to that point, Weinberger in no way felt entitled to an acceptance of his application.
"I kind of always felt like whatever happens, happens," he maintain. "I would be fine whatever happened to me. I felt confident about my chances, but I never felt like it was something I necessarily deserved."
Weinberger and his father were planning on taking all of the official visits to his top schools at the end of this month, starting with Stanford this weekend. There was no need to wait for an official trip to The Farm for the linebacker to pull the trigger, however.
"It's mostly the school - the education," Weinberger explains. "And the relationship I've developed with the coaches so far. Coach Freeman, Coach Hackett, Coach [Tipton] and some others. I feel really comfortable with them."
The Cardinal feel comfortable adding Sam Weinberger to their defense, due in large part to how he runs to the ball.
"I think it's the speed. My size to speed ratio is what has impressed them the most," the recruit relates. "They've told me that they want me to be able to cover the slot receiver. They think I have the ability to do that. I'm not positive for sure yet whether I will be an inside or an outside linebacker at Stanford. We'll just have to see how that works out."
Weinberger did not attended any of the Scout.com or Nike combines this past spring that provide the measuring stick for most recruits, but he did show at USC's camp, where he was timed at 4.67 in the 40. The Trojans had not offered Weinberger to this point but instead offered him a "preferred walk-on" spot on the team. Such is the nature of the beast for USC these days, with a bevy of five-star talents at their fingertips.
Not one to look back, Weinberger is instead looking ahead at the opportunity for him on The Farm starting next fall, as well as the official visit to enjoy this weekend.
"I'm just looking forward to meeting more of the coaches and some of the players," he says. "I'm ready to learn more about the school and to start getting used to the environment."
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