Stanford Lands 2009 Commitment

Stanford's recruiting class for 2009 added its second verbal this week, from a Bay Area tight end who committed to the Cardinal on Tuesday...

The aggressive recruiting of Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh has been paying dividends in the class of 2008, but the Cardinal staff has also been diligent in scouting prospects from the class of 2009 and earlier this week, Stanford received their second commitment in that class from Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista tight end Zach Ertz (6-6, 230).

"I committed on Tuesday," said Ertz. "I went to their practice and told all the coaches there I was committing."

Ertz said that Stanford was one of two schools recruiting him at this point, the other being USC, who found out about Ertz through his teammate, Drew McAllister, a commit to USC.

"It was mostly them (Stanford) and USC that were recruiting me," said Ertz. "A lot of the interest from USC was from Drew. We are very close and we're really good friends and he got them interested. But I just figured Stanford was the best possibility for me. They have the best academics and my family can come and watch me play."

With a little over 14 months until he can sign a letter of intent with the Cardinal, Ertz said he wasn't worried about the onslaught of recruiters that will inevitably come, that his commitment to the Cardinal was solid.

"I'll stick to my word," said Ertz. "Like I said, the academics are a big reason and I don't think I can find a better school for me."

Ertz said that he anticipates getting in the 240-250 range by the time he enrolls at Stanford, and that the plan for him in the Stanford offense is to stick with tight end.

The interest from Stanford came pretty quickly and the offer even quicker. And Ertz knew that if an offer came, it would take him long to pull the trigger.

"I was getting recruited by Coach (David) Shaw but I had talked with Coach Harbaugh. They didn't actually start recruiting me until I sent them my tapes, about a month ago. Then they offered like 2-3 days later. I didn't go to any camps so it was off my film," said Ertz. "I've gotten a lot of input from my family and we were talking about the difference between USC and Stanford. I knew if Stanford offered, I'd be committing there."

Ertz was off to a fine start to his 2007 junior season, catching 38 passes for 382 yards and six touchdowns from McAllister. But an injury in week six sidelined him for the season.

"I fractured my forearm," said Ertz. "I fractured it in three different places. They had to go in and do surgery but most likely going to be better than before. I play basketball too so we're shooting for mid-December for me to come back. It was about an 8-10 week recovery time."

Ertz said that he's carrying a GPA of 3.6 and he anticipates taking the SAT in the spring. And with his commitment out of the way well in advance of Signing Day, he can focus on fine-tuning his academic profile.

"Now that I have everything out of the way, I can focus on academics mainly," said Ertz. "I can also work on getting bigger, faster and stronger."

Ertz attended the Stanford-Notre Dame game on Saturday, and said the feeling of knowing that he's committed to Stanford while being there, watching the game, was nice.

"It's an awesome feeling, because it's a family environment there," said Ertz. "I didn't really follow them a lot until I was getting recruited by them, so I don't know what the attitude was like before Coach Harbaugh got there, but the attitude now is that it's a program on the rise."

And Ertz has been able to glow about the change in attitude even before his commitment to McAllister.

"I'm on him all the time (about Stanford's win over USC)," said Ertz. "Its cool because we could play head-to-head (in college, where McAllister will play safety). Since he's older, he thinks he's bigger, so I look forward to playing against him. I think Drew could have easily been a major Pac-10 quarterback with his athleticism and all of his leadership).

Ertz said he was hoping to be at Stanford's season finale this weekend, the Big Game with California, but a basketball game could conflict.

He joins Pawling (N.Y.) Trinity-Pawling linebacker Shayne Skov as commits in the class of 2009.

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