After he trekked all the way across the country from Somerset (Ky.) to camp at Stanford, the final stop of his football camp travels this summer, wide receiver John Cole felt he owed himself a little R & R. He and a friend who had accompanied him to California headed down to Los Angeles for three days of vacation. On June 27 while flying home to Kentucky, the 6'0" speedster connected on the phone with Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh for some big news.
"I was at the airport coming home, when I talked to Coach Harbaugh," Cole says. "He went ahead and offered me then while we were talking."
"I was just excited. Really excited," the wide receiver recruit recalls. "I was pretty confident that they would offer because camp went well. Their demeanor seemed pretty excited in me, so I was hopeful. I was expecting it, but at the same time, you get excited with news like this no matter what."
"We just talked about how I would fit in at Stanford and how much I would like it," Cole describes of the conversation. "He was describing the offense and how they would have two bigger receivers. I would mesh pretty well with those, either playing the slot or elsewhere. We talked about how I would fit into their West Coast offense and how I would be able to have an impact."
The offer from Stanford came for Cole less than a week after his camp performance the preceding Friday, which was also the day that he picked up a Vanderbilt offer. The Somerset High School senior, who holds a perfect 4.0 GPA and has scored a 28 on the ACT, unsurprising is high on schools which can offer him the best education in college.
"Those have been my top two the whole time, just because of what you get academically and you get to play great football, too," he says of the Cardinal and Commodores. "After I picked up those two offers, I was really, really excited. I'm going to see where things go as far as other schools, but those two are still definitely leading."
While he is clear on his favorite schools, Cole is less certain of the timeline for his decision.
"I have to sit down with my parents and see what we think," the son says. "I would like for them to get out there to see it on an official [visit], to see the campus and stuff. But if I have a gut instinct before the season, then I won't hesitate to do that. But I kind of want to play it kind of slow for now, evaluate things, and then we'll see."
When it comes to a cross-country recruitment for the Cardinal, the parents more often than not loom large in the decision. It is not always easy to let a son go so far from home. Is distance going to play a role for Cole's parents in this Stanford vs. Vanderbilt battle?
"It may factor in, but I don't think so," the recruit replies. "They'll want me to go wherever I want to pursue, so I think they'll be fine with whatever I decide. I'm sure they'll fully support me whichever way I choose."
"My parents were really excited for me," Cole adds. "Both of those offers, they knew that I wanted to get those. When they heard, they were excited just like me."
John Cole is a record-breaking wide receiver in the state of Kentucky. He rewrote a pair of state marks last fall as a junior, hauling in 28 touchdowns and 1,891 yards. Cole recorded 86 receptions on offense and five interceptions on defense, totaling 36 touchdowns on the season.
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