Metro ATL CB Pippens names two finalists

Georgia CB Ra'Chard Pippens [ra SHARD] holds offers from Auburn, Stanford, Maryland, Wake Forest, Northwestern and Harvard. In a TheBootleg.com exlcusive, Pippens has named two finalists, and is planning on announcing his college choice very, very soon. Read on.

Take I-75 20 minutes south from downtown Atlanta, and you've arrived in McDonough, Georgia. It's home to Jamal-Rashard Patterson, Stanford's rising sophomore wide receiver from Henry County High School. McDonough, population 30,000, is also home to 2011 CB Avery Walls of Union Grove High School, a recruit Stanford is chasing hard. Finally, McDonough is home to yet another 2011 cornerback high on Stanford's radar – Ola High School's Ra'Chard Pippens.

Wednesday night, Pippens emailed The Bootleg a statement on his college decision, which we reproduce below in its entirety:

"This has been one of the toughest times of my life," Pippens wrote. "The decision I make at this moment will determine certain aspects of the next 40 years of my life.

I have met some great men over the past four months, including Coach Fitzgerald and Coach Wolking at Northwestern, Coach Harbaugh, Coach Fangio and Coach Mason at Stanford, Coach Reno at Harvard, Coach Archer at Cornell, Coach Brattan at Maryland, Coach Ward at South Carolina, Coach Henry and Coach Lambert at Wake Forest, Coach Hevesy at Mississippi State, Coach Shank at South Florida and Coach Yeager at Indiana University.

Even the coaches who hadn't offered yet but kept in constant contact with me, like Coach Hobby at Duke, Coach Dunn at Southern Miss, Coach Wilcox at Tennessee, Coach Speed at Georgia Tech and Coach Lakatos at Georgia, all made this process really enjoyable.

I want to thank everyone for all the time they have spent talking to my parents and me regarding the opportunities available at their schools. Everyone has treated me with respect and fairness throughout the recruiting process.

After visiting and researching schools, my final two schools are Northwestern and Stanford. They are both fantastic schools with football programs going in the right direction. Both have awesome coaching staffs with people you would love to be around. I could go to either school and be completely happy. However, I have to choose just one. I'll announce on Friday where I will be playing football at the next level.

Thank you."

The Bootleg followed up with an interview of Pippens that night. He said that he was confident that he'll stick with whatever decision he makes this Friday, regardless of any offers that might come his way (such as in-state Georgia or Georgia Tech).

"I'm pretty sure," he said. "The two schools have everything you need athletically and academically." As for his timing, Pippens said he had all the information he needed to make a decision now, so why wait?

"I've seen everything I've needed to see in all the schools that came to talk to me," he said. "Northwestern and Stanford are the best schools I've seen, and I really like them both."

Perhaps of most interest to fans trying to gaze into their crystal balls is that Pippens said Wednesday night that he was leaning toward one of his two finalists. He added, though, that there were "so many comparisons between the schools," and that he was in the process of making a chart to better reach a decision.

"What's important for me is a great academic life after football, and whether I will enjoy being there if I get hurt or something happens," Pippens said. "Those are my most important [metrics]."

An on-field consideration Pippens is weighing is the teams' rosters, specifically "players at my position, their years, and what they have done."

He added that his college decision was his alone, for while his parents and friends give advice, they are happy with both Stanford and Northwestern.

"They tell me it doesn't matter; they're both great schools," he said. "They hope I make the right decision and am happy wherever I go."

Given all the Stanford recruits in recent years from Georgia, it's no surprise Pippens has heard of a few recent Cardinal signees.

"I know Jamal Patterson went to Henry County, and I saw the paper on James Vaughters [signing]," he said, later adding he'd also heard of fellow McDonough-ite Walls. "Those are great players, and I want to go to a school where great players go."

Academically, Pippens reports a 3.75 core GPA and a 4.2 weighted GPA. His parents both work in the corporate world – mom is in marketing with Coca-Cola, dad is a manager at Champs Sports – and Ra'Chard says he might like to follow in their footsteps and study a business-related field in college.

Pippens also shows two additional signs of a student serious about Stanford. First, saying "I feel I can score way higher," he said he plans on retaking his ACT in September. Second, he has taken honors or Advanced Placement classes each year of high school.

"I already took honors classes in 9th and 10th grade," he said. "In 11th grade, I took AP Environmental Science, and this year, I'll take AP Government and honors econ."

Stanford or Northwestern? TheBootleg.com will have the news as Pippens announces it, so don't be a stranger!


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