This is unfortunately the Internet at its worst.
An update on Sacramento's Emeka Nnoli, the top fullback in the state and top priority at the position for Stanford in this class, says that he is looking at giving a decision in October/November. Someone on the Cal site pontificates that Cal now has an entry with Emeka. Then posters on this site start filling in blanks and extrapolate that a previously strong Stanford lead has apparently eroded. How did this happen? What is wrong with Stanford recruiting?
Everything I have heard from Emeka since the spring has very consistently said that he has Stanford as his clear favorite, and if anything his tone has firmed relative to his indications of near-equal Notre Dame interest back in May. So to get the scoop, I went once again to the source.
I told Emeka of the report and what many readers think it means, particularly regarding his widening of his school search beyond Stanford. His response:
"I never said that. Stanford is still my clear number one school right now."
Emeka's timeframe is most likely in the middle of the season right now, which could indeed be as late as early November. But the timing is not as big a deal to him as it is to the rabid recruiting fans who search every note and every timeline for hints about shifts in a recruit's progress.
"There really is no rush. I don't see a need to commit right away. On the other hand, I do not want to wait until February with this. Stanford would likely see that as an indication of my lack of interest, and they might be forced to start recruiting another fullback."
In a nutshell, there it is. Emeka has not wavered at all with how he regards Stanford for his decision. Though digging deeper reveals a few more details.
Emeka has just finished his portion of his Stanford application (vital info, essays) and has sent that in. The only part remaining is a counselor recommendation, and his counselor has told him that could be ready next week. Stanford has further advised Emeka that after the complete application is sent in (i.e. that final recommendation), he would likely hear a response back in two weeks. That projects an answer to him from Stanford Admissions in early September. While Emeka said that he could wait longer, he could "possibly commit soon after [he is] accepted."
So take that early November timeframe with a grain of salt. There is a real chance at something earlier.
Also notable that Emeka Nnoli and his family took an unofficial visit of campus this past week. Emeka has been at Stanford before, but he had a few new and different experiences this time - all of which appear to have been very positive.
"The visit went well. It gave me a chance to talk to several different coaches one on one. They had good things to say about their program and I liked it. I like especially how Buddy Teevens is developing the program into a more family-oriented environment. It's great."
This was the longest individual sit-down with Buddy that Emeka has had, and it paid off. Buddy talked with him at length about how important Emeka can be for this program, and specifically how he can fit in the offense. As for the family comments, Buddy talked with Emeka about the personal relationships developing quickly between players and coaches, including opening up the coaches' homes to players for get-togethers.
Emeka also had the chance to walk around campus with Babatunde "O.J." Oshinowo, who is also of Nigerian decent and studying electrical engineering/computer science at Stanford. The two talked more about classes than football, including an idea of what courses Emeka could and would be able to experience at Stanford. Like O.J., Emeka has a strong CS/EE interest.
As with all Stanford recruits, Emeka is cognizant of the uncertainty inherent with the admissions process. That is why he is a little cautious not to make public statements that could turn off other schools. Should his admissions decision go the wrong way, Emeka does not want to have his doors shut. When I followed up to ask who are the schools other than Stanford which he is most exploring today, he listed Cal, USC and Washington. Those are not coincidentally the three major offers outside of Stanford to date for him. The interest shown in him by a school is a very critical part of how much interest he puts in a school. This also explains why Notre Dame has fallen from grace, which was his close #2 school back in May. Tyrone Willingham has not followed up with an offer, and that has sent a signal to Emeka loud and clear. He says he still receives mail from Notre Dame, but their demonstrated interest just does not match up with these other schools.