Evan Moore knew coming into this past weekend's official visit to Stanford that the Cardinal felt right to him. Greg Biggins wrote last week that the deal looked likely, if not all but done. I wrote last month that Evan appeared on an unavoidable collision course with a Stanford commitment after his admissions acceptance. But during the past week, the six-foot-seven two-sport star kept quiet and tried to play his cards as close to the vest as he could. I ran into Evan and his family Saturday morning as they watched Stanford basketball's first practice of the season. Evan gave a noncommittal "I don't know" to any predictive questions," while his father demonstrably threw up his hands on the subject. But Evan says he really did have an inkling of an impending decision:
"I had a good idea that Stanford was the place for me coming into the weekend," says Moore. "The game may not have gone well, but even though they lost, I know there's a future in this program. They have a lot of young guys and new coaches, so you can't expect them to really put it together this year. The loss was not that big of a deal to me. The Pac-10 is tough this year and that makes it unreasonable for teams to turn anything around in a hurry."
The phone call for Moore's commitment came Monday evening, when he reached offensive coordinator Mike Sanford in his office. Says Moore of the events, "[Coach Sanford] was really excited, and he quickly brought the other coaches into his office to gather around the phone. They were really celebrating the news, and that makes me feel great. I then called the basketball coaches, and they were just as excited."
The commitment came on the heels of a full weekend for Evan at Stanford, stretching from Friday through Sunday night. It so happened that this week, his Brea-Olinda team played on Thursday night, which was a rousing 24-14 win for Moore and his teammates. Evan had four catches for 65 yards and one score in the game, though the highlight may have been an interception at the free safety position, which he ran back for 70 yards. The Moore family celebrated Thursday night and then scooted up to Stanford Friday morning, which was a "free day" that allowed them time to roam around and see what they wanted to see. Evan did catch Friday's football practice. Saturday was a jam-packed day, including an early breakfast followed by the first basketball practice of the season. Evan spent time chatting with Jai Miller and basketball commitment Tim Morris while watching, and also saw football commitment T.C. Ostrander, who came to campus to pull in these two elite receiving recruits for his future Cardinal passing endeavors. Then came the football game, and afterward dinner with Mike Sanford and his wife. Evan headed up to San Francisco that evening with Jai Miller, Teyo Johnson and some other current Stanford players. Though you might expect late night parties and clubbing at various spots from North Beach to SoMa, Evan says the guys just hung out. "It was a lot of fun," recounts Moore. "The guys are just great guys and really normal people. Sunday morning found Evan at church with several coaches, followed by a lunch with Matt Doyle and Jai Miller. The collection of experiences and interactions led him to one singular conclusion about Stanford: "This is a good place with a lot of really good people."
On the decision, Evan has this to say to all of the Stanford fans, players, parents and recruits reading: "This decision was more than just a football decision or a basketball decision. I'm excited to come to Stanford and I hope I can contribute right away to make this a big-time program. Not to say Stanford hasn't already been a big program, but I think we can take it to the next level."
Not to put to fine a point on it, but this was a very huge commitment for Stanford Athletics. For the football program, Evan has the abilities and chance to make a contribution at tight end or wide receiver, depending on the maturation of his body and talents. At tight end, Evan presents a big body who could develop not just into a very good college player, but even a pro prospect. And I don't just offer that as my opinion, but also that of independent scouts and observers. As a pure receiver, Evan provides great hands, body control and mobility for his size. Stanford has big needs and desires for both positions in this class, as both are needed to fill in holes and help upgrade the receiving end of Buddy Teevens' passing game. TheInsiders network ranks Evan as the #40 tight end in the country, and Greg Biggins of PacWestFootball has tabbed him the #7 tight end on the West Coast in his pre-season rankings.
For the basketball program, Moore presents the much needed post player this staff has been searching for. Evan joins Tim Morris as basketball commitments for the 2003 class, and Cardinalmaniacs should treat him like gold. Stanford has only pulled in one post player in each of the past two recruiting classes, which means that Evan will play a very large role in the inside game for Stanford for years to come. He would be in the rotation right away his freshman year, and then be one of the top three post players his sophomore year, playing alongside Rob Little and Matt Haryasz. Frankly, if Stanford basketball did not land Evan Moore in this class, they would be bemoaning a very painful loss. I don't say that to casually flatter Evan and the Moore family - Stanford had to get him. As for rankings, Tracy Pierson and Greg Hicks of PrepWestHoops have tabbed him the #15 power forward on the West Coast after the summer AAU period.
Both his football and basketball abilities contributed to heavy Pac-10 recruiting attention, including earnest offers from the locals, USC and UCLA. Washington was coming on hard as well in the past month or two, but Moore says this was mostly a decision among the three top California schools for him. "It was exciting at first and flattering to hear from Washington, because of the recent success of their football program, but I realized that I didn't want to go to school at Washington," says Moore. "The phone calls to USC and UCLA were really tough. I had built relationships with those people there, and it made it even harder to tell them since they were a little surprised to hear this news."
Moore represents the third California commitment of three verbals in this football class, though the first from Southern California. Brea is specifically in Orange County, where Stanford has faced difficulty in recruiting for much of the last decade. It is logical that Stanford's early commits in this class are from California, since they have had the most chances to see the campus, coaches, practices and more. T.C. Ostrander and Emeka Nnoli t