After a junior season in which he broke state records for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, Somerset (Ky.) wide receiver John Cole maintained the high level of production with a senior season that brought him multiple honors, including Gatorade State Player of the Year for Kentucky. His senior year haul of 76 catches for 1,622 yards and 23 receiving touchdowns to go with 3 punt returns for touchdowns gave him staggering two-year totals of 162 catches for 3,513 yards and 51 receiving touchdowns, placing him among America's most prolific high school receivers of all time. Armed with equally stellar academic credentials, Cole finds himself attracted to top academic institutions as potential college destinations.
"Really, it's been Vandy or Stanford the whole time," he elaborates. "They were there at the beginning. I didn't have any interest in anywhere else because of the academic standards of both those places. So those are the only two."
As Cole weighs his options, both Vanderbilt and Stanford are hot on his trail and eager to gain the services of such a proven weapon at receiver. This week brought his recruitment to a head, with both Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson and Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh making their in-home visits and delivering their pitches to Cole.
"Coach Johnson came on his in-home visit last night and then Coach Harbaugh was here all day today," Cole shares. The visits helped Cole sort through lingering questions in his recruitment and come closer to making a decision both schools eagerly anticipate.
"They were good," he says. "It was great to get my questions answered and get everything taken care of... and getting to sit and talk with both head coaches and getting to know them on a more personal level. So it went well."
Next up for Cole in assessing his two favorites is an official visit to Vanderbilt, at which point, he will have visited both schools. He believes that the experience will put him closer to being able to make a final decision.
"I go on my official to Vanderbilt this weekend and then after that I think I'm going to take a couple of days, and then I think I'm going to go ahead and decide," Cole figures.
"Really the main thing that it's going to come down to now is just where I feel most comfortable and where I feel I fit in the best," he continues in describing the primary considerations for his decision. "You know, try to look beyond the football standpoint and just think about where I foresee myself. Going to the place where I think will provide me the opportunity to be the most successful."
As Cole weighs his options, he will be in a position to compare this upcoming weekend's visit to Vanderbilt with an earlier visit he took to Stanford.
"It was wonderful," Cole says of the experience. "I got a good feel for the guys - the players and the coaching staff. I went for the California game and it was a great atmosphere to be around. The whole experience was cool, getting to talk with the professors and stuff. It was just neat."
Since then, Cole has also passed a critical milestone in any Stanford target's recruitment by gaining admission to the school earlier this month. Like the official visit to Stanford, being accepted made a strong impression on the Somerset receiver.
"It's exciting, especially with the prestige of that school and that institution as far as academic prowess goes," Cole raves. "It was a very exciting moment. Even being a football player and being a recruit, it's still neat to get into a school that's such a great institution, so it was really exciting."
While Cole embarks on his official visit to Vanderbilt, Stanford fans will keep their fingers crossed that the Stanford official visit and admissions offer will ultimately win the day in this battle for a proven receiving threat. Stay tuned as this important recruitment winds down.
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