2010 Recruiting Spotlight: OL Erik Kohler
For an offensive lineman to have the desire and dedication to keep his quarterback upright throughout a game the two must have a bonding connection, especially when he is protecting the blind side of a high-profile gunslinger with a storied surname.
"If a quarterback doesn't have a good relationship with his offensive linemen, he's not going to do too well," chuckled Erik Kohler. "So my relationship with Nick Montana is good, as it should be."
Kohler is a four-star offensive tackle from Oaks Christian High where he played with Jimmy Clausen as a freshman, and now blocks for the son of a football legend.
Kohler doesn't recall exactly how many sacks the Lions gave up during their undefeated 2008 campaign and record-breaking sixth-straight CIF championship (Southern Section Northwest Division), but he estimates it wasn't more than a handful.
"I'm not really sure, but I do know that after almost every game Montana's jersey came out pretty clean."
Not surprisingly, the 6-5, 285-pound ambidextrous lineman, who has helped open holes for elite 2010 running back and board-topping Stanford target Malcolm Jones, has drawn heavy interest from a large number of Pac-10 programs. Stanford along with five other conference schools (Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, UCLA, Washington) have official offers on the table, and Kohler expects Oregon and USC to extend a hand as well.
Kohler has made two official visits to Stanford and was on campus on another occasion to watch a football game. His impressions of the university have been encouraging.
"Each time the school just kept growing on me. The campus is massive and absolutely beautiful. (The recruiters) really did treat me like they wanted me. They gave me the whole nine yards; they showed me what I would be doing if I went there, how I would be doing it, even what and where I would be eating. They showed me everything and it really blew me away."
Kohler also had the opportunity to visit with Head Coach Jim Harbaugh who embodies a personality that can leave a mark on anyone.
"I know Coach Harbaugh has a real passion for the game and for Stanford. He's always up on his toes and an exciting guy to be around. I know that he is probably the reason why Stanford is rebuilding and that they will be a pretty big powerhouse soon."
Kohler, who wears No. 75 in honor of his grandfather who played for the '55 and '56 Oklahoma national championship teams, mentioned that a deep football tradition as well as team success is important in choosing a school. He points to academics as his primary factor where he aims to pursue a major in business and minor in sports management.
The 17-year-old iterated that he still had a few more visits to make and is keeping his options open, but plans on announcing his top three schools within the next couple of months.
"Stanford is definitely way up on the list. They have been since the first day I got their letter. When I got the offer I was completely elated, and it really meant a lot to me because they were the first one.
"Coach Harbaugh was telling me he hopes to have applications to send out to athletes either this month or in May, and he said I might be one of those athletes that gets one."
Kohler admitted that he was eagerly anticipating the arrival of one of those applications.
"It's something that makes you feel good when you know they want me to be a part of [a place that attracts] some of the most elite people in the entire nation. Everyone knows who Stanford is and the value of its education."
When he isn't training on the football field or breaking a sweat in the weight room, Kohler enjoys a youthful hobby in card collecting. He told The Bootleg he recently bought a Lou Gehrig rookie card at a flea market for $100 and now estimates the card to be valued at nearly $900.
Kohler seems to know how to locate a good bargain; Stanford's education and football legacy could be the next treasures he finds.
About the Author: Scott Cooley is a seasoned sports writer who was groomed as a reporter for ESPN.com, and he most recently served as the media relations manager for the San Jose SaberCats arena football team. He earned a Business and Economics degree from Hendrix College where he also played baseball. Cooley has a passion for producing sports content, and his writing evokes thought into the minds of his readers with a witty and entertaining style. He is a freelance writer who has been published on multiple media platforms and is always looking for additional opportunities. Cooley and his wife, Christina, reside in Palo Alto where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Stanford. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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