Okwo Makes a 180

Michael Okwo, a 5-11, 205 pound linebacker from Manhatten Beach (Calif.) Mira Costa took his official visit to Stanford this past weekend and although there were some things about the trip he liked a lot, he added that there were other things about the visit that has him wondering if the Farm is the place for him.

"I liked the players on the team and the recruits on the visit were all real cool too," Okwo said. "The campus is real nice and I could have driven around on those golf carts all day.

"The football facilities are real nice and I liked the weight room a lot. The basketball game was cool and the academic presentations they put were pretty impressive. Overall, it was a good trip but to be honest, it wasn't totally what I expected.

"I can't really put it into words but I'm just not sure if Stanford is the right fit for me. I wasn't really that comfortable there, it's tough to explain but I don't know if the whole environment is what I'm looking for. I just think maybe Stanford isn't for everyone, it's a great school for sure, but I'm just not sure if socially, it's a place where I'm going to be comfortable at for five years."

Michael Okwo said the only other school he's looking at UCLA. If those two Pac 10 schools battling it out for a top linebacker rings a bell, it's because in the past two years, Michael Craven (Stanford) and Wesley Walker (UCLA) also narrowed their choices down to the Cardinal and Bruins before making their choices.

Another similarity that will remind many of Craven's recruitment is Okwo's father is a big, big Stanford fan and is pushing hard for the Cardinal.

"If I didn't chose Stanford, I think he would be pretty upset," Okwo said. "I'm not sure he would understand, Stanford is the only school he wants to talk about. Hopefully he'll understand that I have to do what's best for me. This has to be my decision and I'm the one that has to live with it.

"Right now the two schools are basically even. I want to take an unofficial trip to UCLA this weekend but I haven't talked about that with UCLA yet. I'm going snow boarding for part of the weekend or else I would make it an official visit. I'm just looking for the best fit for me right now. That's what it's going to come down to. Both are great schools and offer a lot athletically and academically. I just want to go where I feel the most comfortable and where I think I will fit in the best."

Additional notes from The Bootleg:  Okwo told us last night that he had a hard time putting his finger on what didn't fit about the Stanford visit.  The best he could come to, after a few directions of questions, was the environment versus the L.A. feel he has grown up with.  He even used the word "rural" to describe the Stanford campus.  In this case, it is likely that Stanford's chances are less than even with UCLA.  Unless Okwo has a disappointing time this weekend in Westwood, he should get the environment that feels more comfortable to him and make a UCLA commitment.

It is also worth noting that he felt so good about Stanford prior to this visit that he had cancelled all other official visits.  Though he had never experienced the place, the academics and his interactions with the coaching staff had made the Cardinal his prohibitive favorite since the spring.  Now he is scrambling to see Westwood this weekend and has to cut short a snowboarding trip he planned with friends.  As of last night, he had not even talked with the UCLA coaches and instead was telling someone he knew on the UCLA team to notify that staff that he would be coming for an unofficial visit.


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