Oregon Athlete is Focused After Visit

Last week's homecoming win for Stanford brought more than just a dubya to the Cardinal - it also brought some top recruits for some very positive visits. Lake Oswego's Andy Darkins came down that weekend from Oregon on short notice, but returned home with a lot of excitement about the school and program. Read on for his comments and his recruiting story.

ATH Andy Darkins (profile)
Lake Oswego HS (Lake Oswego, Oregon)
Ht: 6'3" -- Wt: 227

Andy Darkins has been receiving letters from Stanford since his freshman year of high school at Lake Oswego in Oregon, and the phone calls and handwritten notes have accelerated this senior year. He speaks weekly with either Buddy Teevens or Steve Morton on the phone, and raves about the Stanford coaches. "They are just class acts," he beams. "They're real classy guys who don't beat around the bush. They are the number one reasons I want to go to Stanford - just quality people."

Darkins received an offer from head coach Teevens a couple weeks ago, and at the last minute scheduled his visit to Stanford this past weekend. The visit has been reported as an official visit, but was actually an unofficial visit where he paid his own way. Indeed, he plans on taking another Stanford visit in an official capacity later this fall or winter. The visit was a very positive and impressive one for the young man.

"It was everything I expected, times ten," says Darkins about his visit to the Farm. "I thought it was absolutely great. Socially, I fit in really well with the guys and felt very comfortable with everything on the campus." After what he saw on that visit, and what else he has learned about Stanford, the Lake Oswego senior has an unambiguous pronouncment upon his return: "If I get accepted by Stanford, there is no question that I will immediately commit. It's a perfect fit.."

Well... ahem... that kinda cuts short all of the recruiting questions in exploring Darkins' offers, options and preferences. This is one recruiting story that is as simple as the young man's stated singular focus today. "The most important thing for me to do right now is getting accepted to Stanford." He says he is almost done with his admissions application, and is just editing and proofreading his essays. His high school GPA is currently a 3.78 and his SAT is an 1140. Darkins has participated in the Lake Oswego High School student body government, the YMCA leadership corps and Junior Statesman of America. He plans on studing political science in college, with the enthusiasm toward "how politics can affect so many people."

If Lake Oswego rings a bell with Cardinalmaniacs, it should. Redshirt sophomore linebacker David Bergeron is also from the Portland suburb, though Bergeron attended Lake Oswego's rival high school, Lakeridge. Ironically, the two rivals will clash at Lake Oswego HS the night before Stanford visits Eugene to play the UofO's dandy Duckies. In fact, Darkins notes that the Stanford coaches will be attending that game during the weekend trek up to the Northwest. During his recent visit, Darkins talked at length with Bergeron for the local perspective on the Cardinal experience, and reports that "[Bergeron] had nothing but the best things to say about Stanford. He loves it there."

Like Bergeron, Darkins may project at linebacker, though he is being more globally being recruited by the Stanford staff with the 'athlete' label. The Lake Oswego senior says that he has watched tape of Bergeron when he was a senior at his rival high school, and sees some differences between their styles, which might guide how they could differently develop on The Farm. Explains Darkins, "David and I are similar athletes, but he was more sideline-to-sideline. Anything run outside he could track down and kill. I think I am more of an inside player, who excels tackle-to-tackle."

On the season, Darkins has helped to lead his high school team to a strong 6-1 record and #8 ranking in the state, with their lone loss coming to the #3 team in the state by just one measly point. He has logged 95 tackles through seven games, playing middle linebacker, and has also been a dominating fullback. In addition to his punishing blocks, he has carried the ball ten times for 145 yards and one score. Those stats bespeak a high per-carry average, showing that Darkins has some breakaway abilities - no simple short yardage specialist. In fact, his one score on the year was a 43-yard rumble.

Darkins has excelled on both sides of the ball this senior season and says he can really feel and see the difference between his performances this year versus those earlier in his high school career. Notes the analytical athlete, "I am playing more vertically at linebacker, and have cut down on the horizontal play that sometimes limited me in the past. At fullback, my blocking technique is so much better, and I am running better with the ball." Though Oregon State stepped up to offer in the summer before this improved play, it has been the films from this senior campaign sent out to coaches that have landed the recent fall offers from Washington and Stanford.

So where would Andy Darkins play at Stanford, should the admissions office smile upon him in the coming weeks? For his part, the Oregonian says that he has little preference. "I really don't have any preference between offense and defense," he says. "I just like to play football. I do know that Stanford's starting fullback is a senior and the number two guy is a junior, so there would be opportunities there early, while the linebackers are young. But I will play wherever the Stanford coaches feel I should play." For my part, I believe the 'athlete' recruiting label is a very sincere one by Stanford, and he could end up at linebacker, fullback or possibly even tight end with his athleticism and size. How that plays out may be more clear based on the final makeup of this recruiting class, but it may also not sort itself out completely until Darkins arrives on campus.


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