"I committed to Stanford Saturday morning when I was talking with coach Harbaugh," Will Hampton said. "He was really excited. "He was like ‘We're glad to have you buddy.' He shook my hand and hugged my parents."
Hampton, who chose the Cardinal over reported offers from Duke, Wake Forest, TCU, Northwestern, and Nebraska, cited Stanford's excellent academic reputation and its up and coming football team as the two main reasons for his decision.
"Stanford is everything I'm looking for in a college," Hampton said. "It has one of the greatest educational opportunities in the world. I know their last season wasn't that good at 5-7, but their football in the future is going to be great, the facilities are excellent and the players are nice. This trip just solidified my decision to commit to Stanford."
Hampton flew to the bay area for the Cardinal's recent Junior Day with his mother, father, and high school teammate [and TCU commit] Cameron Fleming.
"Friday morning, we ate breakfast in one of the training tables, toured around campus, saw the Hoover Tower, and visited all the different buildings," Hampton said. "Then we had an academic meeting, and talked with coaches throughout the day. Then, later on that night, we hung out with the players.
"Saturday, I ate breakfast at the hotel and more recruits arrived. For the people that weren't able to make it on Friday, we did a little tour again. Then we ate lunch in the skybox with professors, and had more meetings where they just talked about offense and defense and showed a little film. Then, we watched the players lift weights, but we can't lift weights, so we had to watch the players lift."
Hampton, who was recruited by Harbaugh and linebackers coach Andy Buh, said that the quality of the coaching staff was another key reason he chose the Cardinal.
"I like the coaching staff," Hampton said. "I think they have great enthusiasm and they're all pushing towards their goal of winning a Pac-10 Championship. I want to be a part of that."
Hampton earned All-District honors while recording 40 tackles, four sacks and three fumble recoveries in his standout junior season.
"I would have to say I have long arms, so I can use that to my advantage and I have great hands," Hampton said. "I have good speed to the ball and I just don't give up. I'm also a leader on the field."
A future political science major, Hampton seems confident about his chances with the Admissions Department.
"They said I can get in," Hampton said. "My SAT, I think, was around a 1500. They said my test scores are fine. My GPA is really close to the requirements and they said I could get in with no problem."
And as Hampton works hard to improve his GPA in order to ensure he will be accepted, coaches from other schools will likely work hard to convince him to change his commitment to Stanford.
For now though, Hampton doesn't think those efforts will prove fruitful.
"I still plan on taking visits," Hampton said. "I want to say I'm solid, but I'm still open-minded. I guess you could put it as medium. I'm still keeping my options open."
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