This is a busy enough week for Sean Renfree. The junior student-athlete at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Notre Dame Prep High School has his final exams. He knocked off theology on Monday, has math and chemistry today, followed by Spanish on Wednesday. That academic onslaught comes right on the heels of a busy weekend that brought Renfree to the Bay Area. On Friday the 6'3" quarterback participated in the Elite 11 tryout in Berkeley. Saturday he competed in the Stanford Nike Camp. Sunday he stuck around for Stanford's Junior Day.
He may wish right now that he had not loaded himself with all of these thing, but that ambitious itinerary is paying off. Previously the owner of scholarship offers from Oregon State and Georgia Tech, Renfree more than doubled his tally in the span of 48 hours. On Friday, Army made an offer. Saturday saw in-state suitor Arizona jump on board. Then while on The Farm on Sunday, Renfree reeled in an offer from Jim Harbaugh.
"When I went into the Junior Day, all of the coaches were really nice to me as always. They always have been," Renfree begins. "I talked to the quarterback coach [Mike Sanford, Jr.] a little bit, and then I went in and listened to some of the coaches talk to the whole group. As we walked over to the stadium, Coach Harbaugh walked up to me and we talked a little bit. Then he offered me a scholarship. He talked about some things I need to work on to come play there and compete for that starting job: quick release and footwork."
"I was really excited to hear that. Stanford is at the top of my list," the quarterback continues. "I liked the whole coaching staff, especially Coach [David] Shaw, their offensive coordinator. He's a really good guy, and he wants me to come to their camp to see if I can handle some of their calls and throws they have their quarterback making."
This was the third time this spring Renfree has visited Stanford. His previous trips came in March and April. He had plenty of familiarity coming into this visit to the Cardinal campus, but a couple of Junior Day activities brought something fresh and new to this experience. Most impressive to him was the player panel, which put the recruits and their parents alone in a room with a group of Stanford players.
"I've been on the campus a couple times and have seen their dorms and facilities. I was impressed once again. Obviously I got to see their stadium again. I've seen Stanford a few times now, and every time I've just been really impressed with it," Renfree relates. "I got to talk to some of the players - see what their experience is and what made they come to Stanford. I was able to hear from all the coaches and get some questions answered that I had and other people had. I thought I was a little more informed on the Stanford coaching staff."
"What was really important to me was that the coaching staff wasn't there when we asked questions," he adds. "They were honest with that. If they didn't like anything about the coaching staff, they would say it. But they didn't have anything really bad to say. They were all really good guys. I was pretty impressed with how articulate those guys were and how well they answered our questions."
"All the players said that Coach Harbaugh wants to get that program in the right direction," Renfree says. "He says that he isn't going to accept losing. All they want to do is win. They're going to be really successful, and they believe that they're going to be successful. I believe that because all of the players have the confidence in the coaching staff."
The first time Renfree visited Stanford in late March, most of the coaches were away on a clinic. He spent his time with David Shaw. Renfree's return trip for Stanford's Spring Game at the end of April allowed some but not a lot of face time with Jim Harbaugh. He says this third trip allowed him to finally get to know the Cardinal head coach.
"What I learned about Coach Harbaugh this weekend is that he's a really competitive guy, and he's going to go out there every game thinking that they're going to win. I like that," offers Renfree. "I'm looking forward to going to their camp to see what it's like for me to have them coach me up - see if I can handle it. I'm looking forward to working with him and the camp and seeing what it's like playing for him."
June will be a busy time for Renfree at more college camps than just Stanford's. In a matter of days, he is winnowing his school list to a select few, where he will camp before making his college decision.
"I'll take the schools where I want to go the most and narrow it down by the end of this week. I'll see who else wants to offer me and then decide where to go," he explains. "The schools who are my favorites are Stanford, Georgia Tech, Oregon State, UofA - those are the schools who have offered me. Others I haven't gotten offers from but still like are Cal and ASU. But we'll see by the end of the week who my top five are going to be."
Renfree says that the cuts on his list will come after he constructs a chart with the pros and cons of each school. Stanford stacks up well as he sees things today.
"It's obviously academics for Stanford, and their campus and facilities," he allows. "What I'm going to look at most importantly is the coaching staff, how I think they are going to treat me and how they are going to run the team I will be playing for. I love the Stanford coaches. Every time I talk to them, it seems like they are really good guys. They seem like somebody I might want to play for. Coach Shaw, I get along really well with him. Coach Harbaugh, too. Also Lance Anderson. I'm going to meet more of their coaches and get to know them in better depth to see what that coaching staff is all about."
This is the final week of the NCAA spring evaluation period, which should bring the last offers to Renfree and set him for the next phase of his college recruitment. Stay tuned for the news of his finalists and then the "test drives" he takes at each of their camps in June.
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