First to Finish?

Verbal commitments are moving earlier and earlier each year in college football recruiting, but one constant in Cardinal recruiting that still puts the breaks on many of its targets is the Stanford admissions application. We have found one recruit in the Class of 2008 who may be the first to complete and submit his application to The Farm, just in time for his college decision this summer.

One of the quiet stories behind the scenes of Stanford recruiting is the admissions application.  It is well publicized that Cardinal recruits must complete the entire application packet, replete with essays and teacher recommendations, and submit it to the Office of Undergraduate Admission for review.  The timing of when various recruits can receive an application and return it to The Farm is more convoluted.

In talking this week with Newhall (Calif.) Hart High School junior Delano Howell, we learned that he was one of the first two prospective student-athletes in this Class of 2008 to be given the Stanford application, joining Illinois linebacker Brett Nagel.

"I've been working quite hard on the application," Howell describes.  "It's not too strenuous - some essays and short answers.  You just have to make sure that you put enough time and enough thought into so that you can do as best you can."

The standout student-athlete reports a 4.4 weighted GPA with honors classes and a 1710 SAT score.

"I'm on the last stages, making corrections.  I've already written everything," he details of his application progress.  "I want to get it in as soon as possible, but take into consideration that I need to do it well also."

Howell has been hard at work with more than just the Stanford application.  He has had spring football, recruiting and now Hart's final exams are next week.  All but one of those areas will soon wrap for the 5'11" running back/defensive back.  Then he can focus on his college decision.

"The admissions application could be an important part, but I don't want to guarantee any specific timeline of when I am going to make my decision," Howell offers.  "I would definitely like to do it before my senior year, though."

Previously this spring, the Southern California athlete took trips to his top two favorite schools.  Howell saw Stanford at the end of March for their Junior Day, although his participation in the Stanford Invitational track & field meet allowed him only a fraction of the activities that day.  Last month he visited Washington for their Spring Game.

"It was extremely nice.  I liked it a lot," he says of his time in Seattle, though the Huskies did not extend an offer during his visit.

Having seen both schools, Howell is armed to make comparisons but is not yet forthcoming with one favorite.

"They have their differences, but I like both of them," Howell maintains.  "I'm also talking with UCLA and some Ivy League schools like Harvard and Princeton.  I don't have any new offers."

After finishing his school year and receiving an answer on his Stanford application, Howell and his family will begin the work toward his college decision.

"It'll take prayer," the son says.  "And just make sure it's the right place for me."

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