Moments ago, Rivals 250 defensive end Nifae Lealao announced his commitment to Stanford in front of a national television audience on the CBS Sports Network. Lealao filmed the segment yesterday, and Cardinal Sports Report was on the scene to speak with the four-star prospect after he made his decision.
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"It feels like a big old weight is lifted off my shoulders," Lealao said. "I felt like it was the right time, the right place and I just felt the best. I'm feeling good."
Stanford has long been Lealao's top choice, and the 6-foot-6, 280-plus-pound prospect's interest in the Cardinal only increased over the past months. Stanford offered Lealao after he impressed at the Cardinal's summer camp more than 14 months ago, after the conclusion of his sophomore year of high school.
"When the recruiting process started, ever since they offered me, I always had that kind of drive to go there," Lealao said. "The only thing I was looking at Stanford for was just the school itself. Football came along and now they're one of the top teams in the nation. I don't know what's better than that, to be the No. 4 team in the nation and be one of the top prestigious schools in America. I felt like it was the best balance of both worlds for me."
Lealao communicated his commitment plans to Stanford coaches yesterday morning.
"It was about 7:30 (Thursday) morning when I shot them a quick message through Facebook and Twitter and let them know I would be committing on Friday," Lealao said. "They don't know who (I'll be committing to yet), but they have an idea. I just gave them the heads up and I said there's a surprise for you tomorrow for everyone who wants to watch it."
Although it will be hard for any school to unseat Stanford, Lealao does plan on taking all of his official visits, including one trip to The Farm. (There's also a chance Lealao will take a few unofficial visits to Stanford for games.)
"I kind of want to do all five (visits) still to give myself the option to get out there and explore what's out there," Lealao said.
He'll probably wait until after the season to take those trips.
"I kind of want to wait until the season is over to give myself a break, my family a break, and everyone involved a break," Lealao said. "I felt like this commitment would be a good (way to kick off) the year. I'll probably just finish the season and take the breaks in between and go visit some schools."
Still, Lealao is thrilled to have his college commitment behind him.
"I can breathe now," Lealao said. "All the stress is really gone. It's just a breath of fresh air."