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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
LB Folau puts Stanford on the board for '15

By Erik McKinney

One day after adding its 10th commitment to the 2014 recruiting class, Stanford made a mark on the 2015 class, adding its first commitment Monday evening.

Quarterbacks often serve as the face of the team once they arrive on campus and the face of the recruiting class before then. And while Andrew Luck remains synonymous with Stanford's rise, the Cardinal's climb toward the top of the college football world has been marked by tough, physical play on both sides of the ball, and specifically a smart and often underrated presence on the defensive side. That's why starting the 2015 class off with inside linebacker Christian Folau (Salt Lake City/East) makes perfect sense.

Folau picked up his offer from Stanford last month, when he attended a camp and junior day. He's been sitting on the offer for weeks when a question from his coach got him thinking.

"I asked him what he wanted, and if there would be a school that could lure him away from Stanford," East head coach Brandon Matich said. "I told him he could play the game and stockpile offers over the next two years. He said, 'Coach, I really want to go to Stanford.' "

It's something of an off-the-radar addition for the Cardinal, although Stanford coaches are used to that on the recruiting trail -- finding players who fit their scheme and personality perfectly, regardless of their other offers. It appears they've done it again with Folau.

"He's a special kid, but Stanford is used to hearing that," Matich said. "I've never seen these kinds of leadership qualities in such a young man. He sets up the field every day. He sets out the cones for drills. He cleans the hallways when guys bring in mud on their cleats. And he does it all without being asked.

"He's a high academic kid and a sweet, down-to-earth, humble young man. But when he puts his helmet on, he turns into a completely different person. He's crazy, and the kind of nightmarish linebacker you don't want to face. He loves contact, and he's just a nasty player, would be the best way to describe it."

Already 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, Matich said Folau would fit right in as an inside linebacker at the next level, or he could grow to the point where he could move outside or put his hand in the ground off the edge. All that matters is he'll fit in somewhere on the Cardinal defense in a few years. But for now, he'll serve as the face of the 2015 recruiting class, which should make him feel right at home.

"He was elected a team captain as a sophomore, which shows you what type of kid he is," Matich said. "If there's a kid out there that you're going to put a label on as a leader of a class, he's a perfect one for it. He's a special kid and this is the type of title and type of thing he deserves. I think he'll be a staple in that defense wherever he ends up playing, and I think he's going to make Stanford University very proud."

Folau also held offers from Utah and Utah State, while Illinois, Michigan and UCLA were showing heavy interest.