6'10" Mississippi offensive tackle David Long has told The Bootleg that he has two clear favorites in his recruitment: Stanford and Ole Miss. And he is between visits to those schools this week, having visited Stanford last week and heading to Mississippi this week. Many recruits that distance away come on their official visits to The Farm for the very first time, but Long and his parents had seen the campus once before when they took an unofficial trip in early November.
"I got a good feel for the campus on that trip," Long notes, "but I didn't really have a chance to spend time with the players. I was acquainted with the place itself, but I wanted to get to know how the players like the program and balance academics with football this time. I wanted to get that somewhat intangible feel for people in this trip."
And what did he find in these areas? "I was impressed," he answers. "The players do a good job keeping up with their academics, and it is a very supportive place. The professors don't look down at the athletes as dumb jokes like they do at some other places. I see Stanford as a place I could go to."
Long's host for the visit was freshman offensive lineman Josiah Vinson, who similarly made a decision to travel a good distance (from Texas) to attend Stanford, and who carries many similar conservative and religious values. "We hit if off really well," Long says of his time with Vinson. "We talked about how he made his decision, but nobody pressured me about the decision process at all on the visit. I really appreciate that. And I was really impressed with the other guys too - they're all solid."
This all sounds well and good, but further digging reveals that Long and his mother in particular have a keen eye toward the culture that David would find for his five years at Stanford and in California. The family carries firmly their conservative Christian values, and are suspicious of what they believe may lie in the wild West.
"Overall there may be different ideologies between Mississippi and California," Long explains, "but I recognize that guys from all over are at Stanford. The place is a melting pot, not just all West Coast thinking."
But did the visit and its observations pass muster with mom?
"She was fine with who she met on the trip," he answers. "She may be worried about people she didn't meet, though. Still, nothing on the visit made her fears realized."
Taken in total, though, the Madison Central High School senior says that the culture and values he knows he could find at Ole Miss give them a "little advantage" in that area. Even with that factored in, Long still says that the advantage Stanford held before the visit still holds today. He does not express himself very emotionally, so it's hard to get a good read on how wide or narrow that margin may be.
The margin was certainly widened with news he received Wednesday on the phone from Stanford offensive line coach Steve Morton, though. Morton told Long that he had been accepted by the admissions department at Stanford, which was a "definite relief" for the recruit. Even with a 95% average in the classroom, 31 ACT and 1380 SAT, he says he was never sure what he would hear. "There is always a twinge of doubt because the coaches had said other prime candidates in the past had been turned down for various reasons," Long relates.
With his Stanford official visit done, and admissions acceptance in hand, the Cardinal are in a fair position. But Long and his parents will make the drive down to Oxford this weekend for the official visit to Ole Miss, his other favorite. The visit will go a long way to finishing up his recruitment, not just in the outcome but also helping him get a feel for how long he will need to sort things out. Though he notes that with all the unofficial trips and exposure he has had with the school, there is not all that much for him to truly explore this weekend.
"I know Ole Miss so well that I'd be surprised to really learn anything news this weekend," he adds.
In-home visits are happening today from Morton and Mississippi's new recruiting coordinator, and an in-home visit from Stanford head coach Buddy Teevens may be possible next week.