- A lot of Stanford fans were mourning the radical change in the apparent direction of Michael Okwo's recruitment this week (more on that below), though with attention quickly turning to other names at the linebacker position for Stanford in this class. One name that has received next to no attention from recruiting services has been Landon Johnson from Kennedale, Texas. Johnson earned acclaim in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as a tight end, and had played at defensive end before the switch to linebacker his senior year. There he showed great range and speed, which coupled with his size makes him surprisingly the top linebacker recruit for Stanford today. Depending on how co-defensive coordinator Tom Williams would choose to develop him, Johnson could play any one of the three LB positions. And he definitely brings serious size to the position at 6'3" and 215 pounds. One great hurdle is that the Texas LB is yet to be admitted to Stanford, and he is far from a slam dunk... If neither Johnson nor Okwo pan out, the Card may stand pat and not take any LBs in this class. They return their top six 'backers from the 2002 season with a world of promise and youth. Stanford also recruited two very promising LBs in the last class in big Taualai Fonoti and a quietly talented Mike Silva.
- The early word on many of these recruits this weekend is that they had a whale of a time. Many of them need admissions decisions to enable them, but I would imagine Stanford could pull as many commitments from this group as they choose to. Look for Tim Sims to be the first from this weekend, as he learned just Friday that he was admitted. Sims comes from a very rough background in a rough area, and a school in Glades Central (near Miami, FL) that has never had an athlete achieve at the academic level that Sims has. Still, it required that the receiver/cornerback recruit send in graded writing samples from school earlier this week to supplement his application. Apparently, the admissions office reviewed those writings favorably, and gave the thumbs up at just a few days later. Stanford has recruited Sims since the spring, and offered him very early. Stanford has been the only school to stick with him all the way through the recruiting process, and the young man feels a strong bond of loyalty as a result with the Cardinal staff. He tells The Bootleg that Buddy Teevens is tentatively scheduled for a Tuesday in-home visit, and I expect that is when Sims will commit to the Card.
- Sarasota (FL) receiver Matt Buchanan had to make a last minute change to his visit this weekend, as his best friend passed away after a battle with leukemia on Wednesday. The funeral was set for Saturday, so Buchanan took a late flight Thursday night and arrived in the wee hours Friday morning at Stanford. He experienced a very compact visit that day and then flew home that evening.
- Michigan receiver Kim Thompson was reportedly not making this trip, as Chris Pool reported on Thursday. But Thompson did make the trip with his parents. It is not yet clear whether Pool's report that Thompson committed to Northwestern is the entire story.
- My best info to date is that the following Stanford players hosted this weekend's recruits: Nick Sebes (Matt Buchanan and Evan Moore) Julian Jenkins (Emmanuel Awofadeju), Amon Gordon (Landon Johnson), T.J. Rushing (Tim Sims), Greg Camarillo (Nick Sanchez), Matt McClernan (David Jackson), Josiah Vinson (David Long), Mike Silva (Blake Shubert), Stanley Wilson (Jason Tomlinson), and Oshiomogho Atogwe (Kim Thompson). A lot of the parallels with these hosts and their recruits are obvious, including McClernan and Jackson from high schools literally across the street from each other... and Jenkins hosting a recruit in Awofadeju who like himself last year is making a Stanford-Notre Dame decision. If you wonder how Sebes hosted two recruits, note that Buchanan left Friday night, and Moore did not arrive until late Saturday morning.
And now to tie up some other recruiting stories of the past week:
- Evidence has increasingly been pointing toward a longstanding desire by Michael Okwo to stay in L.A. and not go to Stanford, and I forwarded this story several days ago. Okwo played the Stanford coaches as well as a host of recruiting gurus all the way. Checks made since then are validating the story, and a commitment to UCLA is expected any day. The only thing preventing that might be a Michael Craven type situation if his father puts his foot down against his son's rebellious revelation. Michael's father says today that he does not know which way his son is leaning, but dearly hopes it will be Stanford. According to Mr. Okwo, his son did take a brief unofficial trip to Westwood Sunday.
- Another story with some suspicion surrounding it was my report that Stanford's recruitment has suddenly ended with Matthew Malele, as he cancelled his long awaited SAT score. Several public and private inquiries posed the question to me if something was not right with the story. Did Mal