Western Kentucky's initial commitment in the 2018 class was a result of forming a strong relationship from the beginning of the recruiting process. Hilltoppers head coach Mike Sanford and his staff made Sam Stovall, an offensive tackle from Chattanooga (Tenn.) Notre Dame, feel like a priority recruit from the get-go.
Stovall extended his verbal commitment to the WKU staff on Friday morning. He credits his experience during a campus visit as the catalyst.
"WKU is a great school and as soon as I arrived at Bowling Green for my first visit I knew immediately that something special was going on," he told WKU Insider. "As soon as I walked in I talked to almost the whole staff and out of the 14 schools that offered no staff treated me the way that they did at WKU, I truly felt wanted."
A second visit to The Hill confirmed the sincere interest that the staff expressed, with the players building relationships with Stovall.
"On my next visit, some of the offensive linemen came up and started talking to me and out of all the schools that I have visited WKU was the only one where the players talked with me and got to know me."
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive tackle committed to WKU over scholarship offers from Conference USA rivals Charlotte, Middle Tennessee and UT-San Antonio, along with Appalachian State, Florida Atlantic, Memphis, Tulane and others.
"I knew in the beginning that I was going to commit somewhere and to me it didn't really matter when, just as long as I knew that wherever I was going was the place for me," he explained.
In addition to the relationships formed with the coaching staff and players, Stovall was also impressed by the family atmosphere that surrounds the Sanford-led program.
"Also what helped was the family atmosphere at WKU just about all the coaches had their wives and kids at practice and that really made an impact on me because family is extremely important to me and I wanted to go somewhere that viewed family the same way that I did."
An All-Region selection as a junior, Stovall is locked in as the Hilltoppers first commitment.
"WKU truly has everything that I am looking for in a school and I knew that I didn't need to keep searching for my home."