Lueders names six leaders

A major trend in Stanford football recruiting in the Jim Harbaugh era -- aside from its rise into the land of top-25 classes -- has been the Cardinal's pursuit of big, versatile athletes, no matter what position they play. One of Stanford's priority recruits for the Class of 2010 who certainly fits the billing is Blake Lueders,'s No. 17th ranked defensive end in the country.

Stanford was the first school to offer Blake Lueders (Zionsville Community HS, Zionsville, Ind.), but 14 others have followed suit: Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Notre Dame, Boston College, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, and Kentucky.

Lueders, however, plans to make his college decision before the start of his senior year, and has thus begun to cut down his list of schools. He is now mostly focusing on six colleges.

"I don't have an official top five, but schools I've visited lately and schools I'm going to visit are Notre Dame, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Boston College, Stanford, and Northwestern," Lueders explained. "I would probably put those schools ahead of the rest, but there are a couple other schools that might end up being in the mix also."

The four-star middle linebacker knows what he's looking for in a potential college destination.

"I'm looking for a great combination of football and academics," Lueders said. "Then I'm just looking for that place with coaches and players I get along with, and a place where I fit in."

Lueders' preference for a college with strong academics should come as no surprise: Lueders' father is a successful patent attorney and grades were always more important than touchdowns or sacks in the Lueder household.

"It's a big deal," Lueders said of his family's academic emphasis. "They're definitely proud of me for my athletics, but they're definitely most proud of me for my academics. They always want me to get good grades, all A's and all that."

Lueders currently holds a 4.1 weighted G.P.A. and would like to major in business.

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Lueders played on both sides of the ball in high school -- as a middle linebacker and tight end. It appears, however, the Stanford coaches are thinking Lueders will end up playing defense, should he come to The Farm.

"They're saying either middle linebacker or defensive end," Lueders revealed. "It just kind of depends on how much I grow. If I grow into a defensive end, you can't really do much about it. I'm happy to play either; it doesn't matter."

Lueders, who usually speaks with either Coach Jim Harbaugh or position coach D.J. Durkin on the phone at least once a month, seems impressed with the Cardinal coaching staff, particularly Harbaugh.

"I like him. He's a great guy," Lueders said of Harbaugh. "From talking on the phone, it is clear he knows what he is doing and is an energetic guy."

And when Lueders reveals some of his speed and strength measurables, it becomes clear why Stanford reciprocates the love.

"Last time I took my 40 -- which was like 9 or 10 months ago, -- it was a 4.8," Lueders said. "Hopefully that's improved. My bench is a 320, my squat is 455, my agility shuttle is 4.3, vertical 30 or 31 standing, long jump 9-10."

Lueders cautions, however, that one of his best attributes doesn't show up on a stopwatch or tape measure. He is not one to back down from a hit.

"I'm a really big linebacker," Lueders said. "I love to hit guys - I just love physical play."

Lueders, set to visit Stanford this upcoming Easter weekend, first visited Palo Alto two years ago. And despite having been to a number of other schools since his trip to The Farm, Stanford stands out to Lueders.

"Stanford definitely has an amazing campus," Lueders said. "They're up there with anyone in the country, campus-wise."

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