Stanford has opened eyes in recruiting circles this year and looks poised to sign the second best recruiting class in the Pac-10 in February, largely on the strength of its recruiting on the offensive side of the ball with a group of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends that comprise the core of the class. As the recruiting cycle winds down, Stanford will seek to round out the class with comparable talent on the other side of the ball and along the offensive line to provide balance to go with the firepower. One player whom Stanford would like to add to the mix is 4-star defensive end Davon Custis.
The Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis de Sales senior is currently ranked by Scout.com as the #21 defensive end and #177 overall prospect in the nation and has reported scholarship offers from an array of college football programs, including Akron, Boston College, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, NC State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Stanford, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and others. While Stanford currently boasts commitments from defensive linemen Terrence Stephens, Trent Murphy, and Josh Mauro, adding the 6'5" 220-pound Custis to the mix would help balance the class and replenish a defensive line for the Cardinal that will be losing its top three tacklers by the time the 2010 season kicks off.
Custis has publicly proclaimed Boston College as the leader to win his services at the next level, but he emphasizes that he plans on completing his official visits, including one to Stanford, before making his decision.
"I already narrowed it down to six schools that I'm looking at, including Stanford," he says. "I won't be making my final decision until I see all of the six schools. Of course I only have five official visits so one of them will be unofficial. Right now, as it is, Stanford is going to be my last official visit that I will be taking. That should be January 8, I think, that weekend. And then I will make my decision when I return from there."
"I'm going to make a decision shortly after that," Custis later confirmed. Allotted five official visits, the Ohioan has already made two of those trips and picked out the three suitors that will receive their own visits, providing insight into the schools he is strongly considering.
"I'm planning on seeing Notre Dame [and] Northwestern," he begins in laying out his visit plans. "I've already seen Boston College and Wisconsin. And then I'm going to take my last one at Stanford."
As Custis continues his tour of colleges and compares his favorites, three factors will play most prominently in his decision.
"I try to base all of my schools off of three issues: academically, football-wise, and socially, am I going to have fun there," Custis reveals. "I tried to get schools where I can see all those criteria that I like a lot. I like Boston College, too, because they have a very good business program and that's what I want to major in."
While Boston College stands out in his mind due to his business program, Custis is quick to laud the unique academic niche Stanford occupies in the college football landscape.
"Academically, I think Stanford, if I went there, I could go anywhere in the world," he muses. "A major there would be more than another school's major. That's what I like about them. Basically I feel that Stanford is one of my top places for academics and college ball."
In addition to the academic side of the ledger, however, Custis also places significant emphasis on how he would fit in on the football team. But as the fall progresses, his busy schedule has made it difficult to devote much time to viewing individual college games in order to assess his favorite schools.
"I've been able to watch a couple of games," Custis notes. "It's been kind of hard. I'm flying everywhere on weekends and it's kind of hard to watch a whole game. If I do watch, I try to watch my position, my potential position, that's what I focus on. I haven't watched all the games but I'll watch like one or two."
Custis' third stated criteria, how he fits in socially on a campus, is presumably best assessed on the official visits he is taking, three of which still loom ahead. Nonetheless, the recruiting process provides occasional opportunities to get to know prospective future coaches and teammates to get a sense of the environment a recruit will be entering. In the case of Stanford, Defensive Ends and Special Teams Coach D.J. Durkin and defensive tackle commit Terrence Stephens have made an impression on Custis.
"I feel like I'm getting to know the coaches pretty well," the recruit offers. "[Durkin] tells me weird things about his life and I tell him weird things about my life."
Of speaking with Stephens, Custis relates, "I got to know him. Got to know what's going on in his life and we talked about what's going on in my life. We got to know each other a little bit more."
One topic of conversation between Custis and the Stanford coaches has been the application process all prospective Stanford students must go through. Custis has the application in hand and says the coaches "explained to me what everything in the [admissions] packet was about."
"I'm still working on it," he says of the application.
As Custis fills out the paperwork and writes the essays that come with the Stanford application, certain elements of his admissions profile have come into better focus during his senior year in the classroom. Taking a course load that includes AP Calculus, college prep level classes, and electives, Custis is pleased with the progress he has made academically.
"Actually, I've been doing better than I was expecting," he reveals. "My average was like a 3.7, 3.8 GPA. Now I'm taking some AP classes so it's bounced up to a 4.0 [weighted] last quarter, so it helped a lot. I think I'm doing better."
He also has taken both the ACT and SAT as he gears up for college.
"I scored a 24 on the ACT," Custis claims. "I forget my SAT but I think my SAT was like an average score, I remember that."
"For right now, I won't be [re]taking. The only retakes are in the spring [since] I won't be able to take them next month because I'll be taking some of my official visits next month."
As the calendar winds down, Custis has his eyes on his upcoming visits to Notre Dame, Northwestern, and Stanford. Look for him to have all the data points he needs to make a decision once he returns from his visit to Stanford after the second weekend of the new year.
Davon Custis anchors the defense for a 12-0 Stallions team making a run at the state championship in Ohio. He has contributed 5 sacks and over 60 tackles on the season.
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