As Stanford played Notre Dame two weeks ago, the football program also had its eyes on an important group of official visitors who were on campus for the weekend. Included in that group was 3-star Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove athlete Xavier Avery, a Georgia commit who has kept his recruitment open for visits to other potential college destinations.
"It was a good weekend," Avery shares. "I learned a lot. Saw stuff. I liked it a lot. I got to know the people, see the campus, and find out what Stanford's all about."
"It was good, you know, to get a baseball and a football player to host me... the fact that I play baseball and football also," Avery continues in explaining that Stanford two-sport athlete Toby Gerhart served as his player host for the weekend.
Stanford's decision to pair Avery with a current player who starred in both sports in high school and now continues to play both at the college level reflects the extent to which Avery's two-sport stardom defines his recruitment. As a football player, his options include powerhouses such as LSU, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. On the baseball diamond, his talents have scouts considering his potential in advance of the Major League Baseball draft in June, with Baseball America ranking him the #25 baseball prospect in the nation among current high school seniors. Unless the siren call of professional baseball proves irresistible, Avery plans on continuing his dual careers in college.
"I'm going to play both sports in college, baseball and football," the athletic Georgian reiterates. With that in mind, Avery affirms that the quality of the baseball program will be important in his ultimate decision. In recognition of Avery's dynamic potential in both sports and his intention to continue playing both, Stanford has structured their recruitment of him to accommodate both sports.
In addition to having Gerhart represent the two-sport perspective on the visit, Stanford has made sure that Avery has had a chance to hear from Mark Marquess and the baseball coaches as well as Jim Harbaugh and the football coaches. With NCAA rules mandating that colleges only phone prospective recruits a limited number of times during approved contact periods, the various Stanford coaches eager to win Avery's favor have traded off calling him this fall. When he visited for the Notre Dame game, he spoke with coaches from both sports, a group he referred to as "almost all the coaches."
If the recruiting pitch ultimately proves successful and Avery changes course from his Georgia commitment to head west for The Farm, he would undoubtedly fill needs both on the diamond and on the gridiron. While his projection as a base-running outfielder seems clear, it is more difficult for him to pinpoint a future place on the football field.
"Corner, slot wide receiver, running back, safety, nickel back," Avery rattles off in listing potential positions he has discussed with coaches. "I could probably play both sides of the ball."
While the exact position is not determined, many see Avery as a particularly intriguing potential cornerback. With Nick Sanchez and Tim Sims finished with their college careers and Wopamo Osaisai only having one year of eligibility remaining, Stanford is certainly in the market for future cornerbacks to man the secondary at Stanford Stadium. Given Avery's potential to also plug in a hole in the outfield across the parking lot at Sunken Diamond, his is a recruitment fans of both teams have been watching closely.
Of course, Avery remains committed to Georgia and any speculation regarding the roles he could play for Stanford sports remains purely academic at this point. Despite the Georgia commitment, he is keeping his options open and claims to still be considering Georgia, Stanford, LSU, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia Tech, and Duke.
"I'm not going to make my decision yet," Avery offers in laying out a timetable for his decision among those many options. "I'm gonna make it probably in January or February."
Before making that decision, Avery will likely take more official visits to go along with the trip to Stanford for the Notre Dame game.
"I haven't scheduled them yet, but I plan to take a trip to LSU in December," Avery says.
Given Avery's timetable for a January or February decision as well as the numerous suitors still pursuing him, it may be some time before his recruitment is resolved. In the meantime, Avery knows that his Stanford recruitment is contingent upon acceptance to the school through the admissions process. The official visit to Stanford made Avery serious about completing the Stanford application.
"I'm going to start on it first thing tomorrow," Avery offered in a conversation last week after he had returned from the visit. As he works toward completing the application, he will await the score of his most recent SAT attempt from the past weekend and will work toward finishing off the semester strongly in the classroom.
"Hard classes," Avery says in describing his course load. "AP courses, Spanish 3. My classes are not a joke."
Nothing about Avery seems to be a joke. College football and baseball teams across the country will eagerly await the next developments in his recruitment.
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