When the sun rises at Stanford University on the morning of Wednesday, February 2nd, a new day will dawn for the football program. Most of the recruits who will fax in their letters of intent that morning have been committed to the University for months and were first attracted to the program by the leadership of the since-departed Jim Harbaugh, but this will still be a huge day for new coach David Shaw.
Last year, you'll remember, Rick Neuheisel convinced a long-time Cardinal commit (four-star linebacker Jordan Zumwalt) to flip to UCLA in the final hours. Essentially filling that opening, though, was quarterback Brett Nottingham, who reneged on his commitment to UCLA and opted instead for Harbaugh's Cardinal. So you never know.
One of the obvious problems facing the Cardinal coaches during the recruiting process is that there are always players who drop out of the process when they aren't admitted to the University. But we found out this week that the admissions office can also work in the program's favor. Atlanta, Georgia, cornerback Ronnie Harris seemed ticketed for the SEC, having been offered scholarships from Auburn, Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina. But when he got an early morning call from Stanford informing him he'd been admitted to the University, everything changed. "My parents came into my room at 6:00 AM with a Stanford University shirt and they were smiling."
There are currently nineteen young men committed to Coach Shaw, but there are still at least two other potential recruits who could join, as well as the danger that some of those committed nineteen could have second thoughts. Tune in Wednesday to monitor all the fun as the Class of 2011 is introduced. Hopefully there will be some more smiling.