A Happy Man in Moorpark

Wars elsewhere in the world have started and stopped since George Halamandaris made his verbal commitment to Stanford seven months ago. It was not until the past week, though, that he finished his last piece of the Stanford application. Quickly he received good news from The Farm. The 6'7" lineman talks about his excitement and his senior season at Moorpark (Calif.) High School, still ongoing.

The admissions application process at Stanford can sometimes delay matters in Cardinal recruiting.  Occasionally, the twists and turns that come with navigating the Admissions Office can provide a pleasant surprise.

George Halamandaris was the very first commitment for the Cardinal in this 2007 recruiting class, a full seven months ago on the First of May.  The 6'7" offensive tackle from Moorpark (Calif.) High School finished his portions of the application packet by the early fall but suffered a delay in collecting his final teacher recommendation.  Halamandaris sent that to Stanford last Thursday.  His lead recruiter at Stanford, offensive line coach Tom Freeman, met with the 300-pounder for an in-school visit this Monday and told him to expect an answer in two weeks.

On Tuesday, Halamandaris received a startling phone call from Walt Harris.

"Coach Harris called and said, 'Good news.  You're in.'  I was a little surprised that it happened that fast," Halamandaris says.  "I was a little confused at first because I didn't actually think that it would take that little time.  But once I understood, it was a big relief."

"One of my rec's was from a teacher I had sophomore year, so they rejected that and I just got in a new one," he explains.  "I've sort of been nervous, but I felt that I was a good enough student to be admitted.  It's just a big relief now that it's over."

Despite his exceedingly early verbal commitment to the Cardinal, Halamandaris had schools continue to pour in their interest, primarily through his head coach at Moorpark.  Cal, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon State were a few who made advances, despite the lack of precedent in recent memory for a Stanford pledge to break a public commitment.  Halamandaris has also watched Stanford suffer a terrible season on the field, currently 1-10 and an underdog of more than four touchdowns on Saturday in their finale at Cal.  He has never wavered on his Cardinal intentions, however, and instead expresses his enthusiasm for the future.

"I'm pretty excited," Halamandaris says.  "The '07 class is coming together nicely, and hopefully we can contribute to a brighter future."

Five of Stanford's commits in this class are scheduled for the upcoming official visit weekend starting a week from today, but the Moorpark monolith is scheduled instead for January 12.

"Hopefully I'll be playing December 9," Halamandaris points out.

His Moorpark team is 10-2 and rolling in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.  Tomorrow the Musketeers match up against Newhall (Calif.) Hart in the CIF-SS semifinals.  Moorpark handled Hart 42-24 back in September, but the Indians are owners of a five-game winning streak and hot off a win last week against Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure.  The Seraphs had stomped Hart 34-0 in the season opener, one week before Hart lost to Moorpark.

"Besides a letdown against Westlake, we've had a really good season," Halamandaris offers.  "We pound people up front, and with a back like Darrell [Scott], it's a pretty dangerous combination.  He's something like second in California in rushing.  Hopefully we can win out these next two games.  It would be nice to go out on top."

Halamandaris has led the way for an offensive line that has opened holes for Darrell Scott, one of the premier running back talents in the 2008 class and already the owner of 2,827 yards rushing this season.  Linemen don't have statistics of their own to fill up newspapers, but they wear their running backs' production as a badge of honor.

"I think it's a full effort by everyone, but I can definitely say that I am the leader on that line and that I am pretty confident in my ability as a run blocker," Halamandaris allows.  "And I haven't allowed a sack all season, which is nice."

So, too, is the newfound knowledge and comfort that he has his Cardinal admissions acceptance in hand.  Add George Halamandaris to the "committed and admitted" column for this recruiting class, and a big addition at that.

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