Commitment #24* - RB Brandon Bourbon

Well, he may not be quite ready for a pot of poi or a pupu platter, but athletic three-star Missouri RB Brandon Bourbon is headed west to Stanford for some more pizza, diversity and championships. While he committed last Friday, Bourbon had been keeping his decision on the down-low. Now proud to proclaim his destination, the SPARQ wonder from the "Show Me" state is ready to show us what he's got!

Commitment #24* - RB Brandon Bourbon

The newest 2010 Stanford verbal commit is Missouri running back Brandon Bourbon. A six-foot, one-inch, 209-pound workhorse, Bourbon became a highly sought-after commodity on the recruiting trail after rushing for 2,420 yards and gaining 29 touchdowns his junior year and then posting eye-opening strength and speed marks at a NIKE camp in Chicago.

Earlier this week The Bootleg had a chance to catch up with Bourbon and find out the story behind his recent commitment to Stanford.

The Bootleg: When did you make the decision to verbally commit to Stanford?

Brandon Bourbon: It was Friday evening. It was actually about 11 at night here so I guess it was nine over there.

TB: Which member of the coaching staff did you call and what was his reaction?

BB: I got a hold of Coach Harbaugh. He was really excited. He just said that my committing wasn't a mistake and was really pumped up about it. Then I put my mom and dad on speaker phone and we all sat and talked for about an hour.

TB: Why was now the right time for you to end your recruitment?

BB: Well I've been wanting to end it for a while actually. I was going to commit when I visited Stanford a few weeks ago and I just didn't. I got home and thought about it some and I knew then, but I waited a couple of weeks and talked to some people. Early last Friday morning I was talking to my coaches and some friends in our locker room and I just decided right then that I was going to commit. I don't know why but it was just a decision I made that I was going to decide tonight. So I don't know really why, I just figured it was time to get it over with, because I knew.

TB: How do you feel after making such a big decision?

BB: I feel really good now. I know that I made the right decision and I don't have any regrets or anything like that of wanting to prolong my recruitment. I've wanted to pick Stanford this entire time since they offered, but we just kind of waited and not that it would matter who else offered, but we were just kind of waiting to see what else happened and see if I changed my mind.

TB: Is it a relief to have the recruiting process over with now?

BB: Oh yeah, that's exactly what it is, a relief. I still actually get mail and phone calls and emails, but that's all good, I guess. Coaches still write me hand-written letters - I'm not sure if they know yet or what. That part was kind of fun because it got to the point where I got home and my parents had already read my mail because they were excited to see what the coaches had said. But it is a good thing to get that over with and now I can just concentrate on high school ball.

TB: Why did you feel that Stanford was the best fit for you?

BB: There's something about it that attracts me. There's the good academics, the coaches that I met when I was out there, and its in California . It's just all that stuff combined.

TB: I know that you had a chance to take an unofficial visit to Stanford a few weeks ago. How big a role did actually seeing the school play in you making a commitment?

BB: In all honesty, I don't know. I'm fairly sure I would have committed even if I hadn't seen the campus, but I probably wouldn't have done it this early. I probably would have waited and taken my officials. In all honesty I've been wanting to commit for a while, I've just been holding off for some reason. Actually getting to see the school did make my choice clear to me.

TB: For a while, it sounded like you weren't sure if you were going to be able to make the trip in part because of financial reasons. Talk about some of the things you and your family did to raise money for your trip?

BB: We actually had multiple things set up. I was in a dunking booth at one thing – it was like a festival for the Fourth of July and I was sitting there getting bitten by mosquitoes the whole time. Then about the week before we actually went we had a barbecue right in the middle of town and that went really well. We raised a lot of money doing that - that's where most of the money came from.

TB: It sounds like you live in a pretty close knit community. What have people been saying to you about your college decision.

BB: Yes, Its really small and we know pretty much everyone. Usually people tell me, "Good decision, I don't know which I would have chosen. Its good that you have that stress of your back now." Nobody said that it was wrong or anything like that. I'm a bit surprised because I figured that maybe some hardcore Missouri fans would say something, but I haven't heard anything yet.

TB: So, back to your Stanford visit. We hear that flying out to California was your first time ever on a plane?

BB: It was. I was kind of nervous, but once we got out and got going it was alright. The first time was nerve-wracking but after the first flight I was pretty good.

TB: Take us through some of the activities you participated in once you arrived at Stanford.

BB: Well actually I got there a day earlier than the other recruits who were coming for the Junior Day. I got a hold of the coaches when I was there and I actually got to go by myself and see the building when it wasn't lit up and sparkle. I got to meet the team and I got to see them down there lifting some weights when it wasn't all fixed up for the visitors, so that was cool.

Then the actual Junior Day started with a seminar with all the coaches introducing themselves and talking. Then we went and we toured the campus and actually got to sit in on a lecture from one of the professors – that was really cool. After lunch with some of the professors, we went and played at the football field in the stadium and that was really awesome, getting to play with some other recruits on the field. Then we had dinner, it was a Hawaiian luau thing.

TB: How did the environment and atmosphere on campus compare to what you're used to back home in Missouri?

BB: Well, when we ate that Hawaiian food, that was really kind of weird, but they also had pizza, so I felt at home with that.  Another thing that was kind of shocking to me was the ethnic diversity that I saw when I was there. My town is probably 90 percent white and 10 percent black people, but it was just so diverse there.

TB: What would say were some of the highlights and more memorable parts of your trip to Stanford?

BB: I don't know how this happened, but each coach took a recruit into a certain room and to meet with him individually and somehow I got Coach Harbaugh. We went to the suite rooms on top of the stadium to talk. So it was just me, dad, and Coach Harbaugh in there and we were just kind of talking and that was really cool. It was really intimate with just us three and he was pushing really hard for a commitment and I almost broke, but somehow I toughed it out. That was a good point. Then I would say playing "Peru Ball" with Coach Harbaugh and some of the other coaches and recruits that were there on the field. That was really cool. I also really liked the tour and the lecture given by the professor.

TB: Did you get to know any of the other recruits when you were on campus?

BB: Well, while I was there I didn't really get to know anybody - and we were more just kind of hanging out. Since I committed, Anthony Wilkerson and Alex Turner have texted me.

TB: Did you get to know any current Stanford players?

BB: I actually got to meet all of them, but because the team was busy doing workouts, we didn't get to talk a lot. What was really cool about them was that the coach didn't have to tell the players to come talk to [me as a recruit.] They just all came and introduced themselves to me and started asking questions, so that was really cool how they just interacted with people.

TB: When you were visiting a few weeks ago did you get a chance to talk more with the Stanford coaches about the admissions process?

BB: I got to talk to (Stanford Recruiting Coordinator) Lance Anderson about everything. He said I looked really good academically. There was only one class I really needed and at the time I wasn't sure if it was scheduled or not but I got my schedule yesterday and I already have that class so everything looks good. My GPA is good and my ACT is good. The one thing I have to do is take the ACT with writing. Around here they told us there was no need to take the writing because there are only a few colleges that need the ACT with writing...and Stanford is one of them.

TB: If you feel comfortable sharing, what score did you get on the ACT, and what's your GPA?

BB: My ACT was a 24 and my GPA is about a 3.7.

TB: What is your strategy for completing the application?

BB:  I actually just went and got coach Anderson 's number off the card and I'm going to give him a call sometime soon and re-check my schedule with him and also ask him to send me the application.

TB: What are some of the other schools you visited unofficially?

BB: I've been to Missouri, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Northwestern, and Northern Illinois.

TB: How would you compare Stanford to some of those other schools?

BB: It was definitely head and shoulders on top of everybody. The weather was definitely a good thing. I visited Northwestern like four or five times when I had camps and combines in the Chicago area. They were recruiting me the hardest at the time so I stopped by and talked to whomever was there. Every time I was there, it was so freaking cold that it was ridiculous.

TB: Was there one school or a few schools that were the hardest for you to turn down?

BB: Growing up a Missouri boy, around here you don't see people with "Stanford" sweatshirts on. You don't see them with Stanford gear or Kansas gear. Everywhere you look you see " Missouri" . That would probably be the toughest school to turn down. Also there for a while I really liked Vanderbilt, so those two would probably be the two toughest to turn down.

TB: What kind of role did your parents play in your recruitment, and what are their feelings on your committing to Stanford?

BB: They had always told me to shoot high and they said they would support me no matter what. When Stanford offered they were like, "Wow, we told him to go for what he wants the whole time and now he finally gets it and we can't stop him from going where he wants to go." They were pretty much wide-open and cool with letting me go where I wanted to go and they said they would support me either way. Getting to meet and talk with Coach Harbaugh helped them feel really comfortable with me going out there.

TB: Is Stanford recruiting you only as a running back or for more of an "athlete" role?

BB: Stanford is actually recruiting me as a running back. All the colleges that offered did so at running back except for Missouri, which offered as an "athlete".

TB: What kind of feedback have you gotten from the Stanford coaching staff about your abilities as a running back.

BB: Before Stanford had offered I was talking to Coach Taggart and he told me what he loved about me was my ability to cut without losing any speed, my ability to change direction without losing any speed, and the stop and start that I have.

TB: What are you most looking forward to about spending four or five years in California?

BB: Oh wow, I don't know. It's supposed to be the greatest time of your life and I'm sure it will be. Alex Turner was asking me about my bench and squat and he jokingly was like, "Oh, you're crazy, I hate you," when I told him my numbers. I told him that it was a good thing because we're going to be teammates and I told him to look forward to a Pac-10 championship. When I'm there I hope we can do some good things and kind of turn around the football program and make it possibly higher than its ever been. Then after I'm finished with school I'm going to have a great education. I'm going to be able to get a really good job and live comfortably for the rest of my life.


TB: Looking forward, what are some of your goals for your senior year?

BB: Well I want to continue with where I left off last year. Our team made it to the playoffs for the first time in 16 years and we're trying to make it deeper to the playoffs and hopefully deeper than any team in Potosi High School history this year. We talked about that with our coaches at practice today actually.

Individually, I want to get All- State again like I did last year. In the classroom, I want to keep my GPA at least where it's at now and hopefully get it up to a 3.8. Then I have to take the ACT with writing and I'm going to try to get a 26 on that.

TB: What do you think of the future of Stanford football?

BB: I see it improving a lot. and rate the recruiting classes really high so that should be good. I don't know if the recruiting rankings are that big of a deal, but at least it seems that there are some good players coming and some good players committed so that's always good for the health of a football team.

TB: How solid is your commitment to Stanford?

BB: I'd say it's really solid. I'm not one of those guys who's going to commit somewhere and then [change my mind] – I'm not that kind of a person. If they're going commit themselves to me then I'm going to be truly committed to them. That's why it took so long for me to be able to say, ‘Yeah, that's where I'm going.'

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