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Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Stanford leads but Lealao still looking

By Erik McKinney

Stanford has been on a recruiting roll since its summer camp two weeks ago. The Cardinal have landed four commitments since that time and made a big impression on several other recruits. One player the Cardinal did not get a commitment from during the event was defensive end Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian). But despite that, there are few uncommitted players more associated with one program than Lealao is with Stanford.

The 6-foot-6, 280-pound lineman wasn't shy about calling the Cardinal his leader early in the process, and that hasn't changed through the spring and part of the summer. Lealao said he appreciated the time he was able to spend with the Stanford coaches during the camp -- the only school camp Lealao has attended.

"It was great," said Lealao, who attended the camp along with his cousin, Augustino Elisaia (Union City, Calif./Logan). "It was a good two hours at Stanford. I've kind of always wanted to go there and the coaches made me push my hardest during the camp."

While Stanford's academics can often be a daunting hurdle for recruits, Lealao said it won't be an issue for him and that isn't what's holding up a possible commitment.

"I know they'd take me if that was the case," Lealao said. "They know I want to enjoy the process, but they know where they stand on my list."

The nation's No. 266 player overall is in no hurry to move through the process and is eyeing several official visits, as well as a late commitment date. Although Lealao understands how quickly plans can change.

"Right now I want to take all five visits," he said. "I might end up cutting it short and only taking a couple important ones, but right now I'm thinking I want to take all five."

He said BYU and Mississippi are two schools that will definitely get trips, while Alabama and LSU could get looks as well.

"I'm probably not going to go to school out there in the Southeast, but I want to get a taste of it and see what they have to offer," he said. "As far as the Pac-12, I'd like to see Cal and UCLA because they have strong academics like Stanford. But Stanford being the school I've always wanted to go to is why it's above all those other schools."

A standout basketball player as well, Lealao said all the schools pursuing him have left a two-sport career open as a possibility.

"They've asked me about it and that's what I want to pursue," Lealao said. "They've said I'll be able to get out there and do what I want to do."

As for a commitment date, Lealao reiterated that he understands things can change quickly with recruiting. But if it was up to him at the moment, he'd wait to commit at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl or on signing day.