(Re-)Commitment #18: DE Eddie Plantaric
One of the primary elements that separates Stanford's football recruiting from that of most other FBS schools is the selective admissions process that prospective student athletes must go through before being allowed to sign a letter of intent with the Cardinal. Most years there are many talented high school seniors that are interested in playing football at Stanford, but are denied that opportunity because they fail to qualify academically.
For a while it seemed that Del Campo HS (Fair Oaks) DE Eddie Plantaric could fall into that unfortunate category. Among Stanford's first verbal commitments back in February, Plantaric had backed off from his verbal commitment a while back, in large part due to uncertainty or at least lack of complete confidence in his admissions status. Quite understandable, really.
However, instead of shifting his entire focus to schools with less stringent academic requirements, Plantaric busted his tail to improve his academic standing. In the second semester of his junior year, Plantaric greatly improved his GPA by earning nearly all A's with the exception of one B.
That, combined with a 20-point bump on the SAT (from 1660 to 1680) helped put most of Plantaric's admission concerns to rest
"The last semester of school I kind of pulled my grades back up so my admission is looking very good now," Plantaric said. "I also raised my SAT test in the writing portion so that should greatly help my chances of being admitted."
With that in mind, Plantaric decided to call Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh early Friday morning with the news that he once again comfortable committing to becoming a Stanford Cardinal.
"Just academically and athletically it's the perfect fit for me," Plantaric said. "It's not just a four-year decision it's a lifetime decision. Graduating with a Stanford degree is very prestigious."
Plantaric, who put in a buzz-creating performance at the most recent Stanford camp, chose the Cardinal over offers from Fresno State and Nevada in addition to having had rising interest from a number of Pac-10 schools, including UCLA, which he visited last weekend.)
When he arrives on campus in the fall of 2010, Plantaric will likely start his Stanford career as a defensive end.
"They're primarily looking at me as a defensive end probably on the strong side but depending on how my body matures I could end up playing a three-technique defensive tackle," Plantaric said. "All this depends on how much weight I gain."
But no matter what position Plantaric ends up playing, Stanford fans can rest assured that he will bring the same smash-mouth football mentality into every game.
"I really love to hit people - that's my favorite part of football," Plantaric said. "(I love) the feeling that you get when you dominate someone else both physically and mentally by delivering that big hit."
That aggressiveness is just one of several qualities the Stanford coaches admired in Plantaric
"Probably my quickness off the ball and my separation I can gain using my hands (stands out to coaches)," Plantaric said. "I've really improved this summer from all the camps in that area and I feel like I'm one of the more dominant defensive ends in the nation now not just stopping the run but also pass rushing. I'm definitely going to keep working on it to getting to a higher level and just keep getting better in every area." . It's no wonder then that the Stanford coaches were more than willing to be patient with Plantaric throughout his "second" recruitment.
"When I first committed the coaches were very excited," Plantaric said. "They've actually been really excited about me this whole time which I really appreciate. When I decommitted I could tell they were pretty disappointed, but they didn't give up on me. We stayed in touch through this whole thing and they've been very honest with me and I really appreciated that. Now that I've recommitted everyone's very excited but I think I'm the most excited out of everyone by far."
With his recruiting process now over, Plantaric plans to spend the rest of his summer working on his football conditioning.
"I'm just going to get back on my training routine of lifting weights, running, and getting bigger, faster, and stronger," Plantaric said. "I'm also going to work on staying focused on school next year and just keep working hard. The camp circuits are over and the recruiting process is done and I'm definitely going to work on getting better."
But one thing Plantaric doesn't anticipate doing is taking additional visits to other colleges.
"At this point, no, I'm not (planning on taking more visits)," Plantaric said. "I'm pretty firm in my commitment to Stanford and I just look forward to the next year and just keep getting better and I just can't wait to play for the Cardinal."
Having visited a number of other Pac-10 campuses in recent weeks and not walking away overly impressed, Plantaric felt certain that Stanford was the right place for him.
"I feel that it's the best fit for me and now that I've seen all the other schools that are interested in me," Plantaric said. "I feel that I'm very comfortable with my decision to play for Stanford and to play for coach Harbaugh."
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