'11 LB commit Sarao: "So much opportunity."

Before flying out to California for Stanford's Junior Day last week, New Jersey linebacker Anthony Sarao had a pretty good idea he would make a commitment to the Cardinal if he liked what he saw on the visit.

And less than 24 hours after he arrived in the Bay Area, Anthony Sarao decided he had seen enough. While meeting with head coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday night, Sarao decided to end his recruiting process by making a verbal commitment to Stanford.

"I mean the program is just rising so quickly and the academics are at the top of any college in the country," Sarao said. "I just believe that they'll win a Pac-10 championship sooner or later, if not a BCS championship. There's just so much opportunity out there."

Sarao actually informed Harbaugh of his decision while the two were taking a walk after dinner on Friday.

"I was talking about (possibly) committing throughout the whole Junior Day and then at a dinner meeting I took a walk with Coach Harbaugh," Sarao said. "We ended up shaking on it and that's how I committed."

Naturally, Harbaugh was more than a little excited. But many players in Sarao's position would surely have waited to pull the trigger. After all, traditional football powerhouses like Georgia and Michigan had high interest in the speedy defender, and might have come through with offers had Sarao postponed his commitment.

So why did he make such an early decision?

"It's just because, truthfully, I was just thinking to myself, like, ‘why shouldn't I come here?'" Sarao said. "We had Condoleezza Rice come talk to us -- that just shows how much opportunity there is out there. The network, the football that they're playing right now, the level of competition with just beating USC and stuff -- that speaks for itself. And the academics -- there's just so much opportunity after you graduate."

During his Junior Day visit, Sarao had several opportunities to spend time with some people he will likely get to know quite well before he graduates.

"(On Friday) I had lunch with Coach Harbaugh and we had a long talk," Sarao said. "Then I had a meeting with coach Vic Fangio, and then I was just in the locker room hanging out with the players."

Perhaps of most interest to Cardinal fans was the time Sarao spent with recruiting coordinator Lance Anderson discussing the school's admissions process.

"Me and Coach Anderson had a long talk about the paperwork and they're going to try to get me the paperwork as soon as possible, so I can get it done before the summer ends," Sarao said. "(I'd like to) get my admittance early, so I don't have to worry about it going towards Signing Day."

As could be inferred by Sarao's eagerness to begin the application process, the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder hasn't had second thoughts about his decision.

"It's real solid right now," Sarao said of his commitment. "I wouldn't change my decision at all right now."

Still, the Holy Spirit High School product says he will be open to future collegiate opportunities if they present themselves.

"I mean I'm not really looking to explore, but if stuff comes up I'll look at it," Sarao said. "It's nothing really big."

But for the time being, Sarao is definitely all Cardinal. He even has plans to try to convince some fellow recruits to come to The Farm to play their college ball.

"I'm going to talk to a lot of recruits now a lot of kids interested in Stanford," Sarao said. "It's just a great opportunity and you have Vic Fangio, one of the best linebacker coaches around. He coached Ray Lewis and all them, and we have the new scheme coming in.

"There's some of my friends who are top recruits that I talked to about coming and they were real interested so we're going to have a big recruiting year for 2011, I think."


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