The last time we spoke with Dayne Crist, the 6'5" junior quarterback from Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame High School was newly offered by Stanford. His fast-paced recruitment has seen several more big events in recent weeks, which is nudging him further down the path toward his college decision.
"At this point, recruiting has been kind of crazy," Crist says. "I'm just continuing to build relationships with coaches and kind of narrow things down a little bit. I'm lining up and taking my unofficial trips and will use those trips to narrow things down and see what schools I fit at."
That narrowing has succeeded in identifying a top six schools which are currently at the forefront of his mind.
"My top schools are Stanford, LSU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oregon and USC," Crist shares. "There definitely has been some thought going into that list. They seem to feel right at this point, but that's not to say that new offers are not going to spark new interest. I'm still open at this point."
"It's tough," he continues. "Those are the ones I have really thought about and tried to organize some trips to, but I'm still working everything out and figuring when we're going to be able to take trips."
With his goal of making a college decision this spring, Crist has limited time and resources to tour the national cadre of schools who have offered him. Deciding which campuses he should visit is the impetus for the winnowing of his list, and that may or may not accommodate the complete sextet of favorites.
"We're still trying to work out dates for Oregon and Michigan at this point," Crist explains. "At this point, I'm not 100 percent sure, but it seems probable that we're going to make those trips. The scheduling seems like it's going to work, but we have to see how it works financially, and then obviously if in fact my football schedule will allow me to go."
The other four schools on Crist's list already have seen the quarterback on campus this winter or soon will. He attended LSU's spring game last weekend, is headed to Stanford for their Junior Day this weekend and in two weeks will travel to Notre Dame. Crist also has been to USC once and is likely to soon return.
"I took an unofficial with some other kids a month and a half ago - it was in February," he says of the hometown school. "I think I'm going to their Junior Day coming up pretty soon. I think it's in April. I'm already pretty familiar with the area. It's really close, and I've been there a bunch of times. There's nothing new that I'm going to see that is going to change my mind on what I think of them."
Perhaps seeing the Trojans campus and shaking hands with the coaches after receiving a USC scholarship offer could change his outlook. Crist today received the lone offer for which he had been waiting among his top six favorites. Given that the Trojans told him previously that he was their number one quarterback recruit, he maintains that the USC offer does not radically shake up things.
"No, I don't think so. I'm still open at this point," Crist contends. "I think I have a great list of schools, and I think that all of the schools on that list have so many different qualities and characteristics. They all offer something different. That's why it's tough - they're all completely different schools."
"This is something I wasn't expecting, but I kind of took it into account. I knew who my six schools were, and it just so happened that they offered last," he says. "I think I'm in the same situation and the same boat I was before. As hectic as it's been and as exciting as it's been, it's still early. Obviously I got these offers pretty quickly, and I'm fortunate for that. But it's still an early process. I still want see these places in person and still want to meet the coaching staffs."
More surprising to the Top 100 recruit was the big offer that preceded, coming from Michigan.
"I've had some contact with them before, but they came out of the blue with the offer," Crist says, presumably no pun intended. "It kind of sparked some new interest for me. I wasn't sure how interested they were in me, and then to hear from them and get the offer was kind of big. That threw them back into the mix."
Since his offer from Stanford, Crist has held the Cardinal high on his radar.
"My recruiting coordinator is Coach [Tim] Drevno, so I've had the most contact with him," he updates. "Early on, even before I got the offer, we had gone over most of the football stuff and the academic life at Stanford. At this point, it's just building a relationship and just trying to get to know each other as people. We're talking about coming up to Junior Day, seeing the campus and seeing what Stanford has to offer."
The trip weekend to The Farm for Junior Day is critical for the Cardinal recruitment of Crist, who says he will likely not be back on campus again before pulling the trigger on his college commitment.
"Definitely I want to see the overall comfort level," he says. "While Stanford is still in California, they are still away from home. As long as I feel comfortable with where I'm at, I don't have a problem traveling and being away from home. So I'm looking for overall comfort level and getting a good feel for the coaches. I'm looking to interact with them in person a little bit more. Also check out the facilities and see if it's a fit for me. It doesn't take a whole lot, once you get to a place, to figure out if it's a place where you could be for the next four to five years. Just being there, I think I'm going to get a lot from the trip. We'll see what kind of vibe I get from it."
"I definitely think talking with Coach Harbaugh is going to be important," Crist continues. "1) He is going to be my head coach. It's important to have a good relationship with the head coach anywhere you go. 2) You also want to be as close as you can to your position coach, and that happens to be him, as well. I think it's going to be a big week interacting with him and seeing what he's all about. Again, just getting to know him as a person."
"I've been to Stanford once before, last year during my spring break, so I kind of know and am familiar with the campus. I like that a lot," he adds. "Obviously some things are different with the new coaching staff."
The visit for Crist to Stanford also does not exist in a vacuum. His experience last weekend at LSU sets up obvious comparisons and helps him with where he should pay the most attention during Stanford's Junior Day.
"I definitely took away a great feeling from the coaches [at LSU]," Crist comments. "I really got to sit down with them one-on-one and got to know them, not only as coaches but also as people. I thought that was important, especially with the distance from home, to feel comfortable with the coaching staff. I definitely want to talk with the coaches more at Stanford and figure out what my situation would be with competing for playing time, as well as hearing more about Stanford Football - what ways they coach and their philosophies on everything."
For some observers, it may be difficult to understand a sense of urgency in any recruitment as we stand today in March. For Dayne Crist, there are weeks rather than months left in his journey.
"I definitely want to finish out the trips that I have planned," he says. "I'm definitely going to commit before the season, but I've kind of been aiming at committing at the latest by June. Now I've been thinking that it's going to be a lot earlier than that. It could be most likely in May."
We'll check in with Crist next week for his reactions after attending Stanford's Junior Day and his updated outlook as he nears his college decision. Stay tuned.
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