Stanford's first 2010 football commit is Utah safety Chris Badger. The subjects Badger covered in his exclusive interview with The Bootleg last weekend were wide-ranging, with the discussion flowing from his Stanford family ties to the technical aspects of playing safety to, ultimately, why he selected the Cardinal. Through it all though, Badger's audible enthusiasm never wavered.
The recruiting process
"I asked, ‘Is there another school I'd pick over Stanford?' I really thought about it, and there wasn't. Stanford was everything I was looking for." – Chris Badger
Well, I've been out to Stanford's camp a couple of years in a row and went to the Santa Clara game this year. My dad grew up in Atherton and went to Stanford, Class of '76, I think. My brother Ben and his wife, they met at Stanford. He's Class of ‘99. (My dad is a cardiologist and brother works for Google.) So I've always been a Stanford fan a little bit. I wasn't really a diehard or anything, but if I was going to pick a school as my favorite, it probably would have been Stanford. I always thought Stanford was an option and wanted to go there.
My first two offers came from BYU and Utah the summer after my sophomore year. Junior year went really well: I led the team in tackles and we won the state championship, so the recruiting process started to get real crazy after about another month. [Florida State assistant coach Mickey] Andrews offered me, and then I got offers from Oregon and Cal. Then, after Cal, Stanford offered me. Coach Harbaugh said he was able to watch my junior film and offered me then. Then, I got a couple of other offers: Northwestern, Missouri and LSU.
I went out for Stanford's Junior Day. I had some questions I wasn't sure about. When I went up there, I wasn't thinking about committing, I was thinking about committing in the summer. But I spent most of the morning with my position coach, Coach [Clayton] White, meeting to go over his coaching philosophy and what I could do there. I built a great relationship with him. That was a really good thing about my visit.
Then I had a meeting with Coach Harbaugh Sunday morning. My brother and I went over before our flight left, we were able to watch film with Coach Harbaugh, Coach White and Coach [Lance] Anderson. We were able to meet Coach Harbaugh's dad, we were able to sit down, take a couple of photos, talk about Stanford and get some questions answered. We ate lunch together and just talked, him and his dad. We did it in the football office. When I left, there were one or two other kids there.
I got home kind of thinking about it, the whole trip. I asked, ‘Is there another school I'd pick over Stanford?' I really thought about it, and there wasn't. Stanford was everything I was looking for. I wanted to commit, be the first guy and get things going for the next class.
Coach Harbaugh, you know him, he was so energetic and fired up. He was fired up, said ‘I got goosebumps,' and that he was cartwheeling down the hallway. It definitely was the highlight, being able to tell him and see his reaction.
On choosing Stanford
"Is there anywhere else I'm going to pick? Honestly, no."
It really has an all-around picture I was looking for. An Ivy League education no other Division I school can provide, plus playing in Pac-10, USC, Oregon, at UCLA every week. Coach Harbaugh is so energetic and loves football. He's a guy I want to be around. I spent time with the players and got along; they're all smart, hard-working, great people who I want to be around. And the environment, the weather and the area are really nice. Plus, I have family out there.
I'm 100 percent solid. I got home and there was an offer
from LSU. That's a pretty good offer, but I had to call the coaches there and
tell them ‘I'm going to Stanford.' And the other schools that offered, that's
great, but I'm going to Stanford for sure. Is there anywhere else I'm going to
pick? Honestly, no.
On his other options
I really don't know what schools would have offered if I went to their camps or got in touch with their coaches. It was a great honor being offered by all the schools that did. I built a lot of great relationships I felt strongly, Oregon, BYU, LSU, Florida State, all the coaches.
If Stanford weren't in the picture, I'd probably visit
all the schools that offered me. It'd be tough because I love Stanford, but I've
built a lot of great relations, especially at Oregon, Utah, LSU and Florida. I'd
probably visit there and probably Northwestern, I've never been there. I had a
great relationship with all of them. Cal too.
I'm signed up for the April ACT and the May SAT and once
I do that, I'll get the application and send it out in the summer and find out
if I get in or not. I have about a 3.8 GPA. Stanford is a little harder in
judging GPA, for Stanford, it's a 3.6 or 3.7.
The football nitty-gritty
"I don't hesitate when I'm hitting someone. I give them the full blow."
What Stanford's coaches told him they liked:
I have great football instincts. I have a great feel for the game, I'm able to feel things and react fast to plays. I play fast, come downhill and really lay the wood. I don't hesitate when I'm hitting someone. I give them the full blow. I have great fundamentals and really love footwork and technique, really stress working on that stuff. I'm really quick and can play man-to-man, can stop the run, can play cover two, a lot of things. I just try to be a well-rounded safety and change games with my play.
You know, I'm going to keep working hard, come in and be ready to compete when I'm there. I think I'll be up there in the two-deep or hopefully starting pretty soon. I would love to get on the field as fast as I can, whatever I play.
On Stanford's defensive philosophies:
Coach White was kind of going over technique and stressing having confidence. It's kind of my same philosophy, stressing the little things and having swagger when you're out there. They do cool things with their safeties. They play man-to-man, zone blitz the safeties a lot, they do lots of cool things, have fun out there and be aggressive. I just love how excited the coaches are and how they love the game. I'm excited to get there.
"If we're going to beat USC tomorrow, we have to outwork them today."
Lately, I've been able to get in touch with a lot of the 2009 Stanford guys. They're all calling or texting me. Terrance [Stephens] and Shayne [Skov] all have been really welcoming, and I've been sure to call a couple of the 2010 guys and do all I can to recruit other kids to Stanford.
I want that exact same role. They've been great getting in touch, sending emails and kind of passing the torch down, and I'm going to do all I can. I'm going to call people -- Stanford sells itself -- and I think we'll have another great class. The other two Stanford commits, I'm just getting in touch with them and I think we'll probably start calling up recruits in the next couple weeks.
I think we'll get another great class this year and I'll definitely do all I can to get a great class. We'll come in, work hard and compete. Terrence and Shayne and his dad have a motto that if we're going to beat USC tomorrow, we have to outwork them today, and I think that's a big game when I get there. I'm going to compete, bring a physical presence, work hard and get Stanford atop the Pac-10 and the country. I have tons of faith in Coach Harbaugh and his staff, so I know we're just a couple more of the pieces away from being a championship football team.
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