Just two months ago, Joe Hemschoot (HEM-scott) was a relatively anonymous Colorado High School football player. Although he had an excellent senior year and possesses visible athletic skills despite being quite young for his grade, the 6'1", 210-pounder seemed destined to lead a relatively anonymous college career at a small Colorado university.
"D-II colleges from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference [were interested] and Northern Colorado a little bit," Hemschoot said.
That all changed when Hemschoot put together his senior highlights and sent them out to schools across the Pac-10 and Big-10 in early December. Suddenly, schools like USC, Stanford, Oregon, and Colorado were hot on Hemschoot's trail.
After taking official visits to Stanford, Oregon, and Colorado, and receiving offers from all three of those schools, Hemschoot put an end to his short, but highly contested recruitment Thursday when he made a verbal commitment to Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and the Cardinal.
"[Coach Harbaugh] was definitely excited," Hemschoot said. "He's been waiting for it for a while."
Hemschoot said turning down the Ducks and Buffaloes wasn't an easy choice, but that Stanford's status as a program on the rise, the Cardinal's need for strong linebacker prospects, and the value of a Stanford degree tilted the scales in the favor of the Cardinal.
"It was just a combination of things I felt," Hemschoot said. "There's the football – the program is on the rise. They were near the top of the Pac-10 last year. They're only getting better. They need linebackers so I feel like I could really help out there. Then you look at the school. Obviously everybody recognizes that name and a degree from there would really help me out in the real world. Support from my parents definitely and I just really had a good feeling about everything when I was there." <p>
Hemschoot is being recruited by the Cardinal as a weakside linebacker and seems like a likely candidate to red shirt given his youth, but will enter summer with the goal of earning playing time as a true freshman nonetheless.
"I'm going in the summer and then I'm going to go through camp and compete for a job and then we'll talk about the redshirt possibilities."
Hemschoot made his commitment to Stanford even though the Cardinal have yet to name a linebackers coach. He did indicate that Coach Harbaugh interviewed two coaching candidates both of who would seemingly be nice additions to the staff.
"Well Coach Harbaugh talked to me about that for a while," Hemschoot said. "He conducted two interviews earlier this week and he was really confident in those coaches. Speaking with him and all the other coaches and other guys they believe in him and believe that he'll find the right match for the program."
Either way, Hemschoot, and those closest to him are excited at the opportunities the young man will encounter at Stanford.
"Everyone's really excited," Hemschoot said. "I have a teacher that went to CU that will be a little bummed but I think overall they're just really excited. Everyone recognizes that name (Stanford) and my parents have been behind it form the start. My principal and athletic director really didn't think it was a question of where I should be going."
Hemschoot has already been admitted to the university, learning the news Tuesday night. He scored a 30 on his ACT and boasts a 3.82 GPA. The recruit is interested in physiology and biology and would consider a career in the medical field if football doesn't work out.
Hemschoot is a three-star prospect by Scout.com and is ranked as the third best prospect in the state of Colorado. He is also the 34th-ranked outside linebacker prospect in the 2010 class.
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