In choosing a college, Bourbon on the rocks

Six weeks ago, running back Brandon Bourbon of Missouri's Potosi HS was a relative unknown in the high school football recruiting world. Despite running for 2,420 yards and 29 touchdowns in his junior year, Bourbon had yet to receive an FBS scholarship offer, while other athletes with similar accolades were starting to rack them up.

That all changed at the March 15 Chicago Nike Combine, when Brandon Bourbon ran a 4.52 forty-yard dash and posted the second highest SPARQ score of any athlete at the 13 Nike Combines this year.

He received his first offer from Stanford days later, and things haven't cooled off since.

"My recruitment's doing well – it's starting to pick up a little bit," Bourbon said. "My offers are from Stanford, Kansas, BYU, Missouri and then Vanderbilt."

For now, Bourbon denies a favorite but has an idea of when he wants to start narrowing down his list.

"I am probably going to pick somebody before football year starts," Bourbon said. "It'll probably be during the summer sometime."

Bourbon is doing his best to take unofficial visits to all the schools that have offered. He has already seen Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Kansas, and plans to fly west to see Stanford and BYU in the next few months.

"I definitely want to come see Stanford and I'll probably see BYU as well when I'm out on the West Coast," Bourbon said.

When he visits college campuses, one of the main things Bourbon tries to evaluate is how strong that school is academically.

"A big thing is going to be where the school stands academically and then also I'm going to have to make a list of things that are important to me," Bourbon said of his criteria in choosing a college. "I'm going to have to sit down with a piece of paper and just write down exactly what I'm looking for, but right now the main thing I see is the academic part."

And while Bourbon is still months away from ending his recruitment, it is easy for him to see the positives of a Stanford education.

"When you go to put your name on a job application and they see that Stanford degree, that's obviously going to be a big thing," Bourbon said. "Also, it's in California where the weather's nice, and all those things."

While many recruits prefer to stay close to home, Bourbon seems almost excited about the possibility of attending college in a new locale.

"For me I don't see distance as that big of a factor," Bourbon said. "I might like to go and see some of these different places and see different parts of the country anyway."

He also denies that he will feel any extra pressure to play football for his home state school, the University of Missouri.

"Even if I do go to Missouri, they're still about three hours from where I live," Bourbon said. "Pretty much every school is about six hours away - we're pretty centrally located. Anywhere I go is going to be far away. A plane ride from California is still about the same time as a car ride to these other places."

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In the last few weeks of the spring evaluation period, Bourbon has had several a number of college coaches swing by Potosi High School. Stanford assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Ron Lynn was among those visitors.

"I like [the Stanford coaching staff,]" Bourbon said. "They're really friendly and really nice. When Coach Lynn came down, he made a good impression on me and [my high school coach Mark] Casey."

It's also easy to see what the Stanford staff likes about Bourbon -- his tremendous junior year production and some of the most staggering combine scores you'll see from a high school junior.

"Last weekend [at the Chicago combine], I ran a 4.44 forty and that was laser timed," Bourbon said. "Then my squat max is a 465 and bench is 310."

With that kind of athletic ability, Bourbon is able to do a variety of things well on the football field.

"I would say I'm more of a hybrid-type back," Bourbon said. "I mix it up and I can do a lot of different things."

Bourbon reports a 3.75 GPA and a 24 on the ACT with plans for a retake.

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