Saturday, September 14, 2013
Stanford adds to ESPN 300 tally
By Erik McKinney
In one of the least surprising developments of the 2014 recruiting cycle, ESPN 300 defensive tackle Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian) announced his commitment to Stanford on Friday afternoon.
Lealao made the announcement on the Tom Lemming Report on CBS Sports Network.
The 6-foot-6, 280-pound tackle had a dominant showing at Stanford's summer camp before his junior year and quickly became a top target of the Cardinal. In turn, Stanford jumped to the top of Lealao's list and that position appeared set in stone for much of the past year. On Friday, the talented lineman made public what most anticipated happening.
But the fact that this commitment was expected doesn't make it any less important.
With Lealao, Stanford now has four ESPN 300 prospects and 16 total commitments in its 2014 class. It also lands the second of two Northern California prospects who were early and important targets -- quarterback Keller Chryst (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) being the other. And Stanford continues to load up on the defensive side of the ball, as 11 verbal commitments will begin their careers there.
Off the field, Lealao is a terrific student who consistently said Stanford's academics played as big of a role in his recruitment than the team's performance in recent years. On the field, Lealao adds to a defensive front that seems to be getting better by the day. In addition to four outstanding linebacker, Stanford now pairs Lealao with three-star defensive end Harrison Phillips (Omaha, Neb./Millard West), and remains in the running for defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Tex./Coppell), the nation's No. 31 player.
Lealao also held offers from every Pac-12 program -- with the exception of Washington State -- as well as Mississippi and Utah. Florida and Notre Dame are also showing interest, and Lealao said he would still like to take all five of his official visits after his senior season, but as was the case with his verbal commitment, it will be a surprise if the big defensive tackle winds up signing with any program other than Stanford.