Another One Bites the Dust?

This is getting to be the time when football recruiting becomes something of a whirlwind affair, and on the heels of yesterday's tight end recruiting news, it appears another big target is ready to decide. Read on for his impending announcement, and what it means for Stanford recruiting.

On Wednesday, tight end recruit John Carlson picked Notre Dame over Stanford and other schools.  Today, tight end recruit Nick Stefanow will announce Duke for his college decision, as he revealed to The Bootleg last night.  It appears bad news at one recruiting position can come in bunches, so the question is to decipher just what this means.

Stefanow, a 6'5" 218-pound receiving tight end from Wheeling, West Virginia (Wheeling Park H.S.), is currently rated the #13 TE in the country by The Insiders recruiting experts, which means that several of the recruiting gurus like what they have seen of him.  Ostensibly, that lofty rating cannot be derived from offers, given that his sole three offers today have come from Duke, Purdue and Ohio University.  He has drawn additional interest from Stanford, Virginia, Northwestern and Marshall, but he will announce his college decision today drawing from the pool of three offers.

Stefanow might be a logical target of increased Stanford interest, with some emphasis likely needed at the tight end position in this class.  Brett Pierce will be a fifth year senior next year, and Alex Smith will be a fourth year junior.  That leaves just Matt Traverso as the sole tight end in the last two classes for Stanford, and injuries always hit tight ends such that it is a necessity to carry four talented and eligible big boys at any one time.  The West Virginian says that he has been talking with Stanford, and in particular with coach Tom Quinn (the recruiting coach for that region, in addition to being the tight ends coach on The Farm), though no offer has yet come.  Their most recent discussion focused around visit dates, but Stefanow says that is very problematic.

"They are talking about a January visit date, but basketball season is starting and I have games all the way through on Fridays or Saturdays," the Wheeling Park star says.  "I don't see how I could make it out there."

Basketball is another part of the equation for Stefanow, though not in the sense of his playing two sports at college.  He says that his high school hoops coach is pressing him to get his decision done before that season starts, to keep his focus on the leather and iron.  Additionally, he notes that his football coach wants an announcement while they are still in season because of the "recognition for the program" that it will bring.  Stefanow says that Wheeling Park has not before produced a Division I football scholarship player.

Put the absence of an offer together with scheduling barriers and hometown pressure to make a verbal commitment, and you understand why this talented tight end is about to end his recruitment.  The only remaining question is how the Stanford coaches will respond to that.  Several other players who have felt some pressure to make a commitment have continued to be recruited by Stanford, with the apparent hope that the Cardinal staff can sway him to Palo Alto before signing day in February.  Will Stanford toss this file in the recycle bin, or will they keep after Stefanow?  I honestly don't know.

Nick Stefanow has been a one-man wrecking machine for Wheeling Park this fall on the gridiron, leading them to a 7-3 record and playoff berth.  West Virginia takes the top 16 teams in the state to the post-season each year, and Stefanow's crew is currently ranked 11th in the state.  He has pulled down the lion's share of passes in their offense this year, with just shy of 40 grabs including four scores.  On defense, he lines up at defensive end and has recorded 11 sacks on the season.

On his decision for Duke, he says that he was impacted positively by his visit to Durham late in October when he saw them battle Maryland, and cites the campus, coaches, new football building, weather and academics.  He has visited all three schools that have offered him, plus Virginia.

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