Saturday, August 10, 2013, will go down as one of the most productive days in recent Stanford football recruiting history.
The Cardinal received commitments from a trio of coveted prospects: Georgia safety Kirk Tucker, Oregon linebacker Joey Alfieri and California linebacker Bobby Okereke. In the process, Stanford went a long way towards filling needs at both the linebacker and defensive back positions.
Tucker was the first prospect to announce his commitment, doing so early in the afternoon.
I would like to thank everyone for the support. And I'm proud to say that I am an official Stanford Cardinal #FearTheTree- Kirk Tucker (@YouWannaBe_KPT) August 10, 2013
Tucker, who committed to Stanford over offers from Ohio State, North Carolina, NC State, Louisville, Arkansas and many others, cemented his status as a coveted Cardinal prospect with a strong showing at the school's Friday Night Lights camp.
"Stanford, them being the first ones to start this whole process out by giving me my first offer, that says a lot about them," Tucker told Cardinal Sports Report before making his decision. "They believed in me when not too many other schools believed in me or they didn't have enough courage to give me that first offer. They didn't know how I was, but Stanford they gave me a shot. That really says a lot about them. Academics is second to none. And the football out there, they're playing some really good football out there which really caught my eye and my parents' eye."
Tucker, who attends the same high school as current Stanford linebacker James Vaughters, is the fourth defensive back in the 2014 class to verbally commit to the Cardinal. He joins Alijah Holder, Denzel Franklin, Alameen Murphy and Brandon Simmons.
Cardinal picks up top Oregon prospect
Stanford's second commitment of the day might have been its most touted. Four-star linebacker Joey Alfieri announced his commitment on Twitter. He selected Stanford over offers from Cal, Oregon, Nebraska, Washington and Wisconsin, among others.
Thank you to all who have supported me throughout this process, and it feels great to say I've officially committed to Stanford University!- Joey Alfieri (@jalfieri4) August 10, 2013
Stanford managed to lure Alfieri from the state of Oregon despite his connection to Oregon State, where both of his parents attended college. A late offer from the Oregon Ducks proved inconsequential.
The Cardinal offered Alfieri in early May, and immediately became the team to beat.
"It was really cool," Alfieri said at the time. "It was really surreal. I had no idea, it was such a surprise. I thought if they were to offer me it would be after I went to their camp. That's what the consensus was pretty much, that I was going to have to wait until I went to their camp for them to offer me. I was surprised that they offered me early."
Alfieri emerged on the national radar at NIKE's "The Opening" camp in July. He finished in the top-10 in SPARQ testing, which measures a prospect's overall athleticism. His 4.55 40-yard-dash time was particularly eye-opening.
Okereke caps off banner day
One of the fastest risers on the West Coast, Southern California linebacker Bobby Okereke, concluded the day. Though he wound up receiving nearly 20 scholarships, Okereke was largely an anonymous recruit for months. His high school, Foothill, hadn't produced an FBS prospect since 2002, so the school wasn't exactly a regular destination for recruiters.
But Okereke picked up steam during the spring evaluation period. He picked up an offer from Stanford after a strong performance at the Cardinal's camp in June. Stanford immediately vaulted up his list of favorites.
"I wouldn't say surprises, but one thing that I noticed was that the academic quality at some of these institutions aren't the same," Okereke told Rivals.com before his decision. "For example, when I went to Stanford, obviously the kids that Stanford recruits, they are all academic.
"Stanford has a certain rigor that they have to take in their classes. Some of the other schools, that wasn't something that I saw."
"Seeing the kids I'm going to be around for the next four years, the academic motivation and the hard work they are going to put in is something that is going to be resonating. So there are a lot of things I have to think about."
Okereke's commitment to Stanford marks a homecoming of sorts. He actually grew up in Redwood City and lived there until moving to Southern California in third grade. Stanford is recruiting Okereke to play inside linebacker. He chose the Cardinal over offers from Oregon, USC, Washington, Northwestern, Cal, Vanderbilt and several others.