With three interior offensive lineman verbally committed to the Card at this time, and one more declaring his unwavering desire to commit when he clears Stanford's admissions, the question being asked everywhere is: Where are the offensive tackles?
With Joe Thomas about to make his decision absent a completed Stanford application and absent any visit to The Farm, one lone OT recruit remains on the board. All Cardinal eyes are focused squarely on 6'10" David Long of Jackson, Mississippi, who is coming to a close with his recruitment. For some time, he has held two schools as his favorites, and visited the pair these past two weeks at Stanford (1/17) and Mississippi (1/24). After his Stanford visit, he maintained that he was leaning slightly toward the Cardinal, but what did he say after his in-state visit to lifelong favorites Ole Miss?
"The visit went very well," Long offers. "Mississippi is a place I've been very familiar with, but I just enoyed the time talking with the coaching staff and a longer look at their facilities. They are also building several new facilities which looked very nice. It's tough to make comparisons between the two schools and visits because they are two very different institutions. Ultimately, this decision will be about what feeling I have about the place. Which place offers me more, with both football and academics."
With his visits behind him, Long says that he needs the next few days to sort out the pros and cons of both schools. Though he says that even after a very positive trip to Mississippi, he is "still leaning a little toward Stanford." That doesn't take away from the strong pull he feels to the local option. "When you grow up in Mississippi, people know who you are and really support you," he explains.
Wednesday evening, he will be visited by Ole Miss head coach David Cutliffe for an in-home visit, to be followed Thursday evening by a visit from Stanford head man Buddy Teevens. To the outsider, these visits may carry a lot of weight, but to the recruit, they are of minimal import.
"I've talked to both coaches enough that there isn't much pressing left to ask," Long opines. "The visits let me get one last feel for them, but it's a pretty standard and compulsory thing in recruiting today."
After getting these final in-home visits out of the way, the big man hopes to sit down with his family and hash this out by the weekend. Though Stanford has that slim lead today, the Card have lost recruits at the last moment with greater leads. And never underestimate the power of distance and a recruit's mother. Long's mom is not entirely at ease with her boy going so far from home, as much due to the departure from the state's conservative cradle as the distance itself.
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