It's no secret that Stanford is looking to find a new strata of athlete in this recruiting class, in particular adding speed at the receiver and cornerback positions. And it just so happens that a pair of preeminent athletes with top flight speed are located in Stanford's backyard. Brandon Ting and Ryan Ting are twins who live in Woodside, CA, and that name might sound familiar to you. They are the son of Arthur Ting, the noted orthopedic surgeon who has worked with the Oakland Raiders and is also the team physician for the San Jose Sharks.
The Ting twins leapt to the forefront of the Northern California recruiting scene when they dazzled a crowded national audience at the Palo Alto Nike Camp this past May, which was the largest in the history of the Student Sports run event. Brandon worked the camp as a quarterback, while Ryan worked as a receiver, but it was their overall speed and athleticism that caught your eye. Ryan ran the fastest 40 time at the camp with a 4.38 second blaze, while brother Brandon was imperceptibly just behind him at a 4.40 time. They both ran 4.08 pro shuttle times, which measure agility and quickness, good for fifth best in the entire camp.
While Stanford was making an assessment of where the Tings might fit in this recruiting class, as they assembled and organized their national lists, several Pac-10 players jumped with early offers. Arizona State, Cal and Washington State made quick moves, as did Illinois. Others in the conference were showing interest, like Stanford and USC, but when the Tings made a phone call in early June to talk with USC head coach Pete Carroll, he gave them an immediate offer. The twins were excited with what Carroll had to say to them, and committed on the spot. "We felt Coach Carroll came the hardest after us first," explained Ryan Ting about the quick commitment.
Like a shooting star, these flashy athletes from James Logan High School in Union City were off the market. Or so it seemed.
According to Ryan, the James Logan head coach advised them since their commitment that they should keep their options open. They heeded the advice and continued to receive widespread interest and contact. As part of that process, the Tings took several unofficial visits to the Stanford campus during the summer and fall, including a meeting in the office of Buddy Teevens during the middle of the football season.
Teevens offered the twins, and they were excited. "We just feel so honored that a school like Stanford is recruiting us," beamed Ryan Ting, "with the prestige of their academics and athletics. To receive the offer, we consider it a real privilege."
The Tings followed up a couple weeks later with another meeting in the Stanford football office, attended on a Sunday by Teevens, defensive backs coach Mark Banker and recruiting coordinator Matt Doyle. "We talked about recruiting, our season, and how we would fit into the program at Stanford," Ryan recounted. "We talked about the type of person Stanford wanted, and how we would fit as people with character. Coach Teevens and Coach Banker are both great coaches - great player coaches."
On the field, Brandon led the Mission Valley Athletic League in touchdown passes and yardage from under center, while Ryan led in receiving yards and scores. Though the gameplan against James Logan this fall was to clamp down on the twins, they responded with audibles at the line of scrimmage to confuse defenses. On the other side of the ball, Ryan played cornerback and Brandon played free safety. Ryan calls playing defense fun because he gets "to get back at the guys who hit [him]." He also heaps praise on Brandon at safety, tabbing his role there as "the most significant position on the team."
"He sits back and reads the offense," Ryan explained, "and then reacts like a center fielder."
Though both Tings play both ways, the consensus opinion is that they may will find their way on the field at defense as cornerbacks in college. Though receiver is a possibility.
Brandon and Ryan took their official visit to Stanford this week, on Wednesday and Thursday. I had a brief opportunity to talk to them Thursday after the visit, when they together spoke to me by speaker phone. I honestly cannot ascribe which comments they gave to which brother...
"Everything has been great," said one Ting of the time at The Farm. "We have been able to get a perspective of student life."
They both elaborated that their concept of Stanford's academic and social life was something they wanted clarified, and that was a primary objective during this visit. To assist them in that mission, the spent a day going to classes and in the dorms with freshmen Trent Edwards and Trevor Hooper.
"We had some academic issues we were concerned about," explained one Ting. "We both have the vision of the 'Stanford genius' and have concerns about how we would fit in at a campus like that. But this really helped us get a better idea of the diversity here. The people are all actually very similar to us - football players who excel in the classroom. Honestly, these things were just insecurities we had, about the classes and workload."
That discussion centered exclusively around non-football issues, so when asked about their pigskin pontifications, they replied with no concerns. "The football stuff has already been answered," a Ting explained. "We already know what the coaches have to offer us."
On the admissions side of things, I did not have a chance to ask about the progress of their application review. My best inference is that given the time that has elapsed since they handed in their applications, the Tings have in all likelihood been given an answer by now. Given that they are still aggressively considering Stanford and taking the official visit, the answer would surely be an affirmative one for both of them. Ryan has previously told me that they both carry a 4.1 GPA, and he has recorded an 1160 SAT while Brandon has scored 1120.
As this report is being written, the Tings are down at USC for their official visit. They intend to make their final decision soon after completing that trip. Though not explicitly stated, it does appear that they are making their final decision between Stanford and USC, though they have said that their narrowed universe of schools also includes Nebraska and Cal.