Since Ed Orgeron took the head job in Oxford (Miss.), there have been a noticeably higher number of Ole Miss offers reported for Cardinal recruits. The former assistant coach at USC has in particular sought to scatter his recruiting seeds in his former Southern California stomping grounds, where Stanford historically has found more players on its football roster than anywhere else in the nation.
But in this 2007 recruiting class we have brewing a head-to-head battle between Stanford and Ole Miss on the Rebels' home turf. Oxford (Miss.) High School standout linebacker Johnathn Frink holds offers from both schools, in addition to Mississippi State, Southern Miss, South Carolina, Kentucky, Memphis and Oklahoma State.
"I'm not really waiting on any other particular offers right now," Frink says. "I like my options."
"Stanford is big to me. That rules over all of them on the academic side, and they have football on the other side," the recruit comments. "I've heard about the academic side all my life, but I had no idea that John Elway went to Stanford and all the history behind it. All the great ones that went there, like Tiger Woods and John Lynch. A lot of players from Stanford go to the NFL. They have almost the most in the country the last couple years."
But reports have also quoted Frink as saying that the Rebels rule atop his list. He will not deny that fact.
"Of course, they're first on my list because of the hometown thing, but I'm keeping all of my options open."
Some options could still break for Frink as he hits college camps this summer. Earlier this month he hit the low hanging fruit at Ole Miss, followed by Alabama the next weekend. On July 7 he will camp at Georgia. These SEC schools are no surprise for a Mississippi man, but where he will camp this Thursday might come out of left field.
"I'm going to Indiana," Frink reveals. "I was born in Bloomington, and we moved when I was in fifth grade. My brother played at IU, Class of '03. I basically grew up watching IU - Hoosier football."
While the camping agenda of most recruits heading into their senior year is geared toward unlocking scholarship offers, the Oxford athlete with eight offers under his belt claims a different goal.
"The camps and combines have helped me a lot. My pass coverage has gotten a lot better," Frink reports. "That's the reason I'm going to these camps. I look forward to playing against the best talent in the nation."
After amassing 147 tackles and earning First Team All-State (Class 4A) honors last fall, it is not obvious where this 6'1" 218-pound linebacker can improve. Playing in Oxford's 5-2 defense, Frink controls the middle of the field - if not the defense.
"We don't have very big linemen, so we depend on the speed of our linebackers," he explains. "My junior season, I learned how to get off my blocks and how to read guards better. I watched film all summer, and it worked."
This summer, the question asked of Frink is how and when he will make his college decision. With the hometown school leaning on him, but also serious intrigue with the Cardinal campus in California, he says he is not ready for a commitment.
"I want to explore my options," he declares. "It's very likely that I will take my official visits. I've talked with Stanford, and they have told me that they want to fly me out to see the school. I would like to do that."
"Right now I just want to let if flow," Frink continues. "My focus right now is to just work out and get ready for my senior season."
The Magnolia State standout meanwhile has another task on his plate. He has in his hands the Stanford admissions application and says he is starting to work on the packet.
"I have a 3.8 - mostly A's," Frink offers. "I did struggle with chemistry, but I pulled out an A in the end."
"[Stanford] has been to my school and saw my grades," the student-athlete states. "They were confident that I can get it done."
Frink also scored a 24 on the ACT, as well as a 1380 on the SAT. As a sign of his earnest interest in achieving high standardized scores for Stanford admissions, he retook both tests earlier this month.
It is not often that the Cardinal climb into a recruiting battle in Mississippi - the last time coming in the 2003 class with 6'10" offensive tackle David Long from Madison (Miss.) Central. This could be one of the more interesting and unique tussles to follow this year, and we will keep Stanford fans abreast of Johnathon Frink's story as it evolves in the coming months. After signing just four linebackers in the last three combined classes, the Cardinal need to score big at the position this year. Stay tuned.
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