As Stanford sports fans everywhere fixated this week on the Sweet Sixteen berths for both the men's and women's basketball teams, the football staff hunkered down on campus to host one of the most important targets on their recruiting board for a mid-week unofficial visit. The visit by Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman offensive lineman Corey Linsley took on a degree of urgency given the elite interior lineman's recent signals that he was leaning toward committing to Ohio State at the end of March once he had a chance to make a few more trips. Instead, the trip to Palo Alto made a strong impression on Linsley and changed those plans.
"It was pretty sweet," he says of the trip to Stanford. "That about sums it up. It was amazing."
"We went around the campus with Coach [Jim] Harbaugh and Coach [D.J.] Durkin, who is the guy recruiting me, and the offensive line coach," Linsley continues. "We saw the campus. We went out to eat with a couple professors. We went to dinner with the coaches. I had a real great time. They showed me the facilities. They showed me the campus and everything. It was beautiful to say the least."
Linsley says he was most impressed by "the way the coaches treated me."
"They treated me with a lot of respect and very well," he explains. "I was very surprised. I didn't expect that much compliment on the trip, but that pretty much topped it off."
One of the most heavily recruited interior offensive linemen in the nation, Linsley has received offers from Ohio State, Stanford, Pitt, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Michigan State, Indiana, Cincinnati, Akron, Connecticut, Bowling Green, and Miami of Ohio. After the positive experience he reports having on his visit to Stanford, the question on the minds of many will be whether the experience does anything to shake up his recruitment.
"I'm totally confused right now," he says of his current frame of mind. "I was leaning towards Ohio State, but now I'm kind of in the middle of everywhere. I'm not leaning towards any school. Right now I'm just kind of excited to be in this position. I'm not going to decide until next year sometime because I want to take another visit out to Stanford but I can't afford it right now. So I'm going to do it on an official visit. I'll be able to get the full experience out of Stanford from an official visit and I'll be able to get the full experience a lot more out of the other colleges that are offering me and that I'm interested in through an official visit."
With Linsley's recruitment now looking to extend deeper into the recruiting cycle, the array of programs vying for his favor will now compete for consideration for unofficial visits in the coming months and for official visits in the fall. At this stage, four schools stand out as his favorites for official visits later in the year.
"Right now the four would be Pitt, Ohio State, Illinois, and Stanford," Linsley shares. "But that could change during the season or anything. It could fluctuate in and out. But those are the four schools right now that I would like to take visits to."
Each school stands out to Linsley for a different reason and one of them will be receiving an unofficial visit from him this coming weekend. His breakdown of his current favorites:
Ohio State: "It's the tradition of the program and Coach Tressel and his entire staff. The football aspect of it really stands out."
Stanford: "It's the academics and the coaching staff and the campus, really, that all sticks out. You know, they didn't have that great of a year this year but they did have some good wins over USC and Cal, and I'm sure Coach Harbaugh is doing a great job out there. I'm sure they'll be back on the rise in a few years."
Pitt: "It's the coaches, definitely. They treated me the best so far. They're second to none. They're there for me to get an education first and play football there."
Illinois: "I have yet to take a visit out there. I'm going to go at the end of the week. Actually, I leave [Friday] morning so I'm not really sure about Illinois yet."
As teams compete on the recruiting trail to woo Linsley, they'll be going after a recruit who has already distinguished himself both in the classroom and in the gridiron.
"My current GPA is a 3.2 and I have a 25 on my ACT," Linsley reports. "I'm not sure what I have on my SAT, I forget. It's around 1700-1800, somewhere around there."
On the football field, his attributes have garnered him attention from a diverse group of major programs.
"I'm not the fastest lineman but I rely on my intensity," Linsley reflects. "I run a 5.2 40. I've seen guys run it faster but I'm very quick and I'm very intense during games. As I've said before, I'm not that fast but somebody is on the ground, you know what I mean?"
Corey Linsley is ranked by Scout.com as the #4 offensive guard and #160 overall prospect in the nation.
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