Cardinal Recruit Scoop - 1/16

Recruiting news is changing rapidly these days, with players in, players out, and all over the map. For the best and most complete recruit scoop, read on. Check out updates and prognoses on Mark Bradford, Ambrose Wooden, Michael Okwo, Frayne Abernathy, Brandon Harrison, new LB names, new commits and more!

  • Though some of the remaining California recruits have dropped by the wayside, one serious uptick this past week has come with receiver Mark Bradford.  Just a couple months ago, Stanford was off his radar, but he increased his SAT score and that infused new life into him and the Stanford coaches.  With renewed optimism on both sides, Bradford came out this past weekend for his Stanford official visit and had a ball.  He tells The Bootleg that the trip alongside the one to LSU were his two favorite trips he has taken, and Stanford has jumped up at least into his top four with LSU, USC and Notre Dame. Bradford is tripping to South Bend this weekend for his final visit.  He found at Stanford a place where the players don't have to study all the time, and saw some of the fun to be had firsthand.  He also had a meeting with a Stanford admissions officer, and afterward called the revelations about admission criteria "reassuring."  Bradford, ranked the #12 receiver in the country, says he expects to finish his application early next week, and the answer he can get back on that document will go a long way toward his final recruiting decision.  He was hosted by freshman quarterback Trent Edwards, the #1 QB in the nation out of high school last year, and Edwards fully expressed how much he wanted the talented wideout on campus for a future receiving hookup.
  • Probably the most heated and high profile recruitment in play right now would be that of Maryland defensive back Ambrose Wooden, ranked as the #15 CB in the country.  But every sign in the world points away from Stanford with this nationally prized athlete.  The only good news is that he took an official trip out to Stanford this past weekend, which he says "was a great visit."  "I didn't know it was so diverse," he commented to The Bootleg the other night.  "White, black, Puerto Rican, Asian - just incredible diversity."  But each time I have talked with him, he laments the distance, and in fact noted the long travel time it took for him to get between the two locations this past weekend.  "I'm still interested, but the whole distance thing has really become a focus for me and my family of late."  The news gets worse, though.  Wooden has been late in completing his Stanford application and turned only part of it in this past weekend.  He obviously then has not yet been accepted to The Farm, and even if he is, the Card may be too late to get him the word for his decision.  After his final phone calls and in-home visits tonight, the Wooden household will shut down all incoming communications and visits.  The remainder of the process for them will be kept completely internal.  Speaking of visits, Stanford has assistant coach Tom Quinn in house, and not head man Buddy Teevens.  Teevens may still get in-home next week, but with Wooden taking exams next week, that may not work out.  Wooden also told me that his final four schools are in two groupings right now, with Maryland and Notre Dame in the top two and Stanford and BC in the next two.  Without a complete application, acceptance and a visit from Buddy Teevens, the chances for the Cardinal to make a move up are close to nil.
  • Stanford fans have been hopeful to get elite offensive tackle Joe Thomas on campus this weekend, but that looks like it will not happen.  The Wisconsin talent told The Bootleg that he has a basketball conflict this weekend that would keep him from flying to any school for a visit until Saturday.  He then has exams at his school starting the next Monday, and says his mother almost certainly will not let him travel a great distance right before finals.  So while he says that he is looking at Stanford or Georgia Tech as possibilities this weekend, he also says "it's looking almost impossible to pull off."  This proves a tough loss and terrible shame for the Cardinal, who Thomas says is the one school he most badly wants to see.  Of his top schools, he has already visited Colorado, Nebraska and Virginia Tech.  His fourth scheduled visit is for January 24 when he heads to Lawrence, KS.  Kansas?  Yes, Kansas.  Thomas is a bigtime discuss and shotput thrower with high aspirations to train for the 2008 Olympics, and the quality of the throwing at each school looms large in his decision. Therein lies the attraction of Kansas.  Stanford has a decisive edge in this process, though, as Thomas says that Cardinal throwing coach Rob Weir is "probably the best throws coach."  Weir has numerous coaching and athletic accolades, including three Olympics of his own and the role of Great Britain's track and field team captain in Sydney in 2000.  Thomas also says that he is still finishing his Stanford application, with one essay remaining.  Time is ticking away, and the door appears to be closing on this recruitment.  Notable teams recruiting Thomas who also have yet to land an official visit are the in-state Badgers, plus Notre Dame.  He has been to both places before unofficially and says he rather not trip either place officially unless he has to.
  • Several recruits are awaiting word from the Stanford admissions office, to find out if their applications have been accepted or not.  At least two recruits say that they are committed to Stanford in their minds, and have told the Cardinal staff as much, but need the admissions word to finalize matters.  Defensive tackle Mike Macellari is one such public case, having announced yesterday at a press conference at his high school his intent to attend Stanford.  Defensive back Brandon Harrison is another eager recruit, and told The Bootleg this week that he has zero doubts about Stanford after his trip this last weekend. The moment he gets a call from Buddy Teevens to give the good word on admissions, he is committing.  For the record, Macellari has a 3.92 GPA and 1370 SAT; Harrison has a 3.6 GPA and 31 ACT.  Both look quite probable for acceptance.
  • One recruit who is not waiting for the admissions call, but still needs word from Stanford is South Carolina athlete Frayne Abernathy.  He broke both bones in his lower leg this past football season, requiring the insertion of a metal rod and a lengthy rehab.  His progress has been

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