One of the first scholarship offers - if not the very first - we saw Stanford extend for this 2007 recruiting class went to linebacker Chris Colasanti. The Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice High School junior was a First Team All-State performer this past fall, recording 153 tackles, four sacks and an interception. Cardinal recruiting for an elite prospect in the heart of Big 10 country can be tough sledding, and there is competition a-plenty with offers already from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Iowa. Suitors out west who have offered include UCLA, Arizona State and Hawaii.
But Colasanti made a show of his interest in Stanford by taking an unofficial visit of his own accord to The Farm in February. The Cardinal can take heart in that 1,800 mile trip, but they were not the recruit's only destination during his winter travels. Colasanti also took unofficial trips to see Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State. He also visited Penn State when he attended their football camp after his 10th grade year.
"The ones I visited, I really liked a lot," the recruit comments. "Not just football, but also the academic side."
That is good news for those schools because Colasanti will be narrowing his recruiting horizon sooner than later.
"My coach wants me to focus on my senior season, so I'm trying to push [recruiting] to the back of my mind right now," he says. "My coach is pushing for me to decide by mid-summer. That's why I have taken so many visits. I don't know how to tell who are my top five without taking these visits. I'll probably narrow to a top five at the beginning of the summer, then a top three, and then make my decision."
"I'm going to make a big poster board, list the schools, put down all the pros and cons for each one and narrow it down that way," Colasanti adds. "Ultimately it will come down to a gut decision."
One of the important dimensions that will be penned on that poster board is playing time. Even a high-end talent like Colasanti has a keen eye toward the linebacker depth chart at each of his favorite schools, and how those will effect his early opportunity to get on the field.
"My goal is to play early," he explains. "My dad and I are always on the Internet - how many linebackers a school takes each year and how many are in front of me. I work hard and believe in myself, but don't want to wait four years for my chance."
"Stanford was the only school where I got a real good look. Junior Days at other places - you don't see everything," Colasanti says. "It was cool. I went to a morning practice; it was great. I stood there with Coach [Walt] Harris, and he pointed out the guys and told me who was coming back and everything. He said I have a chance to make an impact, and that's what I want to do."
"Coach [Darrell] Patterson and I sat down, and I talked with him about their scheme," the linebacker recruit recounts. "He said that most likely I would play inside linebacker. But on tape, he said I was rare. I'm real good in space and would also have an opportunity at 'Sam' linebacker."
Colasanti says that the playing time outlook on The Farm is a "good situation" and "very attractive," but that is not the whole story.
"I've always liked Stanford. That's why I flew out there early," he begins. "Academically I want to study biology and become an orthopedic surgeon, and Stanford is great for that. The only downside is the whole distance factor."
"My dad has never missed a game, and I'm really close to my family," Colasanti continues. "I want to go a place that is the best situation for me. The funny thing, though, is that to drive to Penn State takes six hours. You fly to California in five hours."
Chris Colasanti carries a 3.6 GPA at Brother Rice High School and is scheduled to take the ACT for the first time this Saturday. ("I'll probably take it twice.") We will check back with the Michigan man later in the spring, as he collects his score on the standardized test and works his way closer toward a final five schools on that sheet of poster board. Stay tuned.
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