After receiving a commitment from offensive lineman Dave Bright earlier this month, Stanford will probably add only more lineman to its 2013 recruiting class. The best bet to fill that spot might be Harvard-Westake lineman Thomas Oser.
Oser, who is thought to favor Stanford, Oregon and Vanderbilt, has taken several unofficial visits to The Farm. He will take an official to Palo Alto next month for the program's big recruiting weekend.
Cardinal Sports Report chatted with Harvard-Westlake head coach Scot Ruggles earlier this week to get a better sense for Oser's skills on the field. According to Ruggles, Oser still has plenty of untapped potential as a lineman.
"He's a Jersey kid that moved here four years ago and was a lacrosse guy and really didn't do a thing in the weight room and really just kind of played football then went to the other sports and never really touched a weight," Ruggles said. "He's an untapped resource where I think his better years are ahead of him. He looks the part now and really just got in the weight room for about the last year so I think you'll see his better years ahead of him football wise."
Where Oser spends those better years is still the center of some debate. He's played both tackle and center for his high school team, and has the size to play both in college. Ruggles thinks that Oser will play an interior spot, but that he could also kick outside in a pinch.
"Personally, I think he's a center, a guard," Ruggles said. "I think he could definitely play tackle but I think he'll end up being a center for somebody, wherever he goes. Just the versatility to go under center and he's probably snapped over 700 offensive snaps out of the gun so the fact that he can do both and project at three positions I think makes him a little bit more valuable than most."
Oser's rise to recruiting prominence was slightly unusual. He received perhaps his three most significant offers - from Stanford, Oregon and Vanderbilt - after camping at each school over a one-week span last summer. Ruggles' connections to coaches at both Oregon and Stanford helped pave Oser's path to college opportunity.
"I think obviously what helped was I've worked with Ron Crook, I've worked with Chip Kelly, so I think when you personally work with people and you pick up the phone and you recommend somebody, they know that you're not going to give them a kid that can't play," Ruggles said. "And then Thomas went up there and I think he ran well for Chip and obviously put on the pads at Stanford's camp. We had our banquet last night and I said to his dad that your kid really worked for these scholarships. He had to go on the camp circuit. That goes one of two ways. You either get removed from the board or you move up on the board. When you see a kid that big that can control his body and run and obviously when the high school coach picks up the phone and has a personal connection with a couple different people I think they take that into consideration, and like I said (it's) a tribute to the kid and what he did on the camp circuit. It was awfully impressive to get offered by the schools that he has."
Up next for Oser will be a variety of recruiting related activities, along with continued work in the weight room and the classroom.
"I think he just continues to hit the weight room," Ruggles said. "He's playing in the Semper Fidelis All-Star game and I think it's just trying to get as big and fast and strong as he possibly can between now and then. I know he's going to visit Stanford I think on the 9th and 10th of January and possibly visit Vanderbilt at the end, Really right now it's just lift and really just try to plan your future. Obviously he has to make probably he biggest decision of his life coming up.
"(Also, he will) obviously continue to do well int classroom, hit the weights, work on his football-specific stuff, and I think he knows what he has to do and I think that's the great thing about Thomas. He's going to continue to work and I can't say enough that wherever he decides to go, once he really indulges and does football all day, and obviously being coached by a great line coach wherever he goes, I just think that the future is very bright for him."
Oser hasn't revealed a favorite school or publicized when he hopes to make a final decision, but Ruggles anticipates that his star pupil will likely commit sometime after his Stanford official visit but before signing day.
"I think he's not going to commit until he has a chance to go overnight to Stanford, so I would say he will commit somewhere before signing day," Ruggles said. "I know he's going to take his visit to Stanford, possibly Vandy, and I think have a chance to sit down with him and his family and make the best decision that they can. I think you'll see him make a verbal before the signing day."