The are pluses and minuses to a lot of decisions in life, and recruiting is
not without its own risk/reward analysis. Some prospective
student-athletes jump into their college commitment early, sometimes before
finishing their junior year of high school. Stanford has benefited in each
of the last three years from at least one such early pledge, and each year the
Cardinal lose a prime prize from their recruiting board with early commitments
elsewhere. You win some, you lose some.
The Cardinal could not have been happier to see running back recruit Andre Anderson wait patiently. The Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson High School
standout held an early scholarship offer from nearby Georgia Tech yet opted to
wait on any college commitment until he could take his official visits after his
senior season. Stanford has played the role of co-favorite for the last
several months, after they too extended an offer.
Few of his peers have options like Anderson has been exploring, but the
recruiting world can play cruel twists of fate to even the mighty blue chips.
The Yellow Jackets have picked up two running back commits while Anderson has
played his waiting game, and that has significantly changed his dynamics with
the hometown school. His official visit was indefinitely postponed, and
his opportunity to play for the Ramblin' Wreck has melted away.
"That is probably not going to work out with them," he explains. "They
have a lot of people signing, and their scholarships are running low."
Meanwhile across the country, Stanford is still just beyond Anderson's grasp
as he awaits the ruling on his admissions application. All scholarship
offers are conditional upon an admissions acceptance, and the Stephenson
student-athlete knows that he is on the border. Just before the holiday
break, the Admissions Office asked for additional writing samples to further
"Coach [Nate] Hackett said the fact that they asked for more is a good step,
after they turned down a couple kids," Anderson adds.
While he waits anxiously for an answer from Stanford, Anderson is not
ignoring other avenues. The running back took his first official visit to
Central Florida this past weekend and came away excited about the Golden Knights.
"I had a real good time in Orlando. I can see myself there with Coach
[George] O'Leary," the recruit reports. "The direction of their program is
looking up. They have new facilities, and they'll have a new stadium in
2007. I got a good vibe from the players and Coach O'Leary."
"UCF is going to run the ball, and Coach O'Leary has a track record of doing
that. I will have to redshirt there my first year, but I'm okay with
that," Anderson continues. "Stanford uses the I-formation, and they are
trying to run the ball there."
While Tulane and Ole Miss have been sniffing around, Anderson's focus is on
his best options currently in front of him. Barring a surprise phone call
from Georgia Tech telling him that they have room for a third running back, he
sees his decision being made within a matter of days.
"Stanford is real close with the admissions decision. It could be any
second now," he says. "I would commit to UCF if I'm not accepted. If
I am accepted, then I will go out to visit [Stanford], compare the schools and
see what is the best decision for me."
The possibility is real that Anderson could hear bad news from The Farm,
which would remove the second of his two favorites for which he had waited
throughout his senior season to visit and evaluate. It would be easy for
him to be filled with frustration and regret at not jumping to an earlier
decision, but he remains confident that he is handling his college decision in a
prudent and proper fashion for him.
"You never want to rush into a decision like this that will affect the rest
of your life," Anderson opines. "This is not something I want to second
guess. I want to be sure."
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