"I'm still really open, but I do like Stanford a lot," said Rowland, Scout.com's No. 4 offensive guard in the country, and a four-star prospect. "I think Coach Harbaugh is such an incredible character, an incredible guy. … So I'm still really early, but I would say I've gotten a chance to visit Stanford, and I like the campus and like the coaches there, like Coach Harbaugh, Coach Drevno and Coach Roman."
It's understandable why Rowland remains open in his recruitment. Not only has the calendar barely been flipped to April, but Rowland's seemingly being recruited by Stanford's entire schedule.
"I have offers from Arizona State, Arizona, Stanford, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Colorado State," he told The Bootleg this week. "I'm in contact with USC, Notre Dame and UCLA, and I think all those schools will offer in the future."
Stanford offered Rowland "really early," in September or early October, he reports. That the Card were Rowland's second offer, to Arizona State, has afforded Stanford the opportunity to make an impression on the Arizona star.
"I've been in contact with Stanford a lot," Rowland reports. "I went down there for their [Feb. 27] Junior Day, so I had a chance to see all the coaches, and meet the players and the school. … It was real good. The campus: I'm from Arizona, and there are so many trees up there; it's beautiful. Definitely Coach Harbaugh is just an incredible coach. He's a great character guy; he really cares about his players. I see that as the most important thing."
In addition to Stanford, Rowland has unofficially visited Cal, and home-state Arizona and Arizona State. He hopes, however, that those four unofficials are the first of many visits to come.
"I'm in no hurry," he said. "I'm taking all my visits and riding this thing out to find the school that can best fit me. I plan on trying taking my five official visits, and I'm open for anything."
Academically, Rowland is proud of his 3.7 overall GPA and 1780 SAT score.
"I should be fine," he said, when asked about potentially applying to Stanford. "I'm confident I could get in and do well."
Those words aren't empty boasts coming from Rowland. To the contrary, he says academic fit will be a central criterion in his quest for an ideal college.
"Academics are extremely important to me and my family," he said. "I'd definitely say academics are one of the major things I'm looking for in a college. And, in terms of academics, I would say Stanford is first, and then Cal.
"I want to major in business, and both Stanford and Cal are among the top business schools in the country. Especially Stanford, if I were there for five years, I could get a master's in business. That's a real plus for me."
Rowland says schools' coaching staffs will also be key as he narrows in on a program. There too, he reports to TheBootleg.com that the Cardinal are standing strong.
"Of all of the coaches I've been in contact with, Coach Harbaugh stands out the most," he said. "Coach Harbaugh just seems the most [pause] genuine. He's a great guy."
The compliment reads even stronger when you consider some of the high-profile coaches at schools recruiting Rowland, coaches who've presumably also been contacting Rowland. The good news doesn't stop there though, for Stanford fans, as Rowland points out two additional factors that will heavily influence his eventual decision.
"There are two [more] main things," he said. "Location is always a plus, and also, it wouldn't be too bad to go to a few bowl games. … I like Stanford and Cal there. I really like the direction Coach Harbaugh is taking that program. The recruiting classes he's pulling in have been incredible."
Rowland reports hearing the most from Arizona State, Stanford, Cal and Washington. As those four schools – and all Rowland's other suitors – sharpen their recruiting pitches, Rowland knows how his ideal school will make him feel.
"It's pretty early, but I'm looking for where I feel the most comfortable," he said. "Academically, the players, the coaches, the school, the city."
As Nick Rowland's recruitment continues to progress, stay tuned to TheBootleg.com!
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!