Hoops Harms Plans for Amajoyi

Observers anticipated a rush of news at the end of this week in two recruiting battles pitting Stanford versus Washington. We learned last night that Hawaii defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo will not announce his decision until Monday. Now we find that San Bernardino (Calif.) running back/linebacker Chike Amajoyi had a wrinkle in this week's plans that leaves him unable to make a commitment today.

It was all so orderly and clear.  Chike Amajoyi took his official visits to his two finalists the past two weekends: Washington (January 5) and Stanford (January 12).  Fresh off his weekend at The Farm, the San Bernardino (Calif.) Aquinas High School senior learned Monday that his admissions application had been accepted at Stanford, paving the way for his final deliberations and college decision.  Washington linebackers coach Chris Tormey was to visit Amajoyi at his home Wednesday, with Stanford running backs coach Willie Taggart in the home Thursday.  Soon thereafter - i.e. today - the three-star running back/linebacker would make a commitment.

On this Friday evening, we have checked with Amajoyi and have found that there is just one problem.

"I don't think I'm going to make the decision this weekend," he explains.  I did talk with Coach Tormey, the linebackers coach from Washington, on Wednesday.  But on Thursday I had a basketball game, so Coach Taggart wasn't allowed to see me.  I don't think coaches are allowed to talk with players when they have a game.  He came by and spoke with my parents."

"Now Coach [Jim] Harbaugh is scheduled to come in on Monday.  I'll get to talk with him," Amajoyi continues.  "I wanted to let a coach from each school come and have a final say with me before I made my final decision."

Following the in-home visit of Stanford's new head coach, Amajoyi says he expects to have a decision that night or Tuesday.  In the meantime, his thought process is fast approaching its conclusion.  The Huskies made their final pitch, and the Cardinal spent 48 hours with him last weekend.

"I can't say that I'm really leaning toward either.  I really like both schools," Amajoyi maintains.  "The coach staff at Washington is excellent.  They're a great group of people.  Everyone is very welcoming there and enthusiastic about the next season.  Coach Tyrone Willingham is just a great coach with a great history, and everyone knows what he is capable of doing with a team.  As far as Washington goes, the coaching staff and the people are great there."

"Stanford, academically, it's really hard to beat them.  I looked them up, and they're the number four university in the nation," he says.  "Stanford is really enthusiastic with the new coaching staff.  Going on my official visit this weekend, it was a beautiful campus.  All of the players are great.  I got to meet with some professors, and they were all enthusiastic and helpful with everything.  Everyone seems like they are going to try and do their best to keep a balance between academics and athletics, and that's what I really look for in a school."

Amajoyi sees one final piece to the puzzle that can be helped with Harbaugh visiting his home on Monday.

"It's getting to talk to him a little bit more," the San Bernardino standout says.  "When you are going away to play college football, there is a trust issue there because you are moving away from home.  The coaches that you are with are going to be like your fathers at school because you spend so much time with you and the team.  They are pretty much going to be deciding what you do with a lot of your team."

"Basically it's getting to talk to him a little more and getting his point of view and how he feels the future of Stanford is going to be.  That's really important," Amajoyi adds.  "My family and I know where Coach Willingham is coming from.  We have talked with him a few times and met him in person a few times.  He came down to my house already early in the season.  We're all comfortable with him and how he works.  It's just a matter of comparing Coach Willingham and Coach Harbaugh and then comparing both schools academically before I can make my decision."

There you have it.  It is Harbaugh versus Willingham, the new Cardinal head coach versus the former, to break the deadlock between the two finalists for Scout.com's #45-ranked running back in the nation.

"Academically, Stanford - you really can't beat it.  Besides the Ivy League schools, Stanford is the best school in the nation.  You really can't beat them academically.  That's the most important thing to me," Amajoyi articulates.  "Then there is the new coach aspect.  Finally getting to meet with Coach Harbaugh one-on-one in my house, getting to speak with him and getting a feel for him - that could either take Stanford over the top or put Washington over the top if I'm not relating to Coach Harbaugh well."

For one of these two Pac-10 programs, the recruiting stay of execution is extended another 72 hours.  Stay tuned early next week for the highly anticipated final decision of Chike Amajoyi between Stanford and Washington.

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