Official visit primer

Stanford's annual recruiting weekend has arrived, and like in past years, a large group of elite talent will visit The Farm. In all, 13 recruits, are expected to take official visits to Palo Alto for the weekend. Since there are fewer than 20 viable scholarship prospects left on Stanford's board for the entire 2013 class, it's safe to say that the visit will play a major role in the final composition of the recruiting class. Here's a look at what to expect from the visit festivities.
The Commits: Nine of Stanford's ten verbal commits in the 2013 class are expected to visit. The lone exception, Georgia tight end Greg Taboada, will visit next weekend. (A conflict with his high school basketball season delayed the trip.) All of Stanford's verbal commits have visited campus before, and some, like wide receiver commit Francis Owusu, have been to The Farm on numerous occasions, but the weekend will provide a valuable opportunity for some team bonding. Additionally, players like Eric Cotton Peter Kalambayi, who have only been to Stanford once, will have an opportunity to see parts of the campus and Stanford's athletic and academic offerings that they haven't previously. But perhaps most importantly, the trip is the first real opportunity for many Cardinal commits to really get a feel for the place. Even some of the commits who have visited on multiple occasions have only been to campus during breaks when students and players are on vacation. All the players, coaches and students will be on campus and available to interact with the recruits this weekend.
The Prospects: Four uncommitted 2013 recruits will also take officials to The Farm: Devon Allen, Thomas Oser, Austin Hooper and Durham Smythe. Each has visited Stanford before in an unofficial capacity (though Smythe's visit was cut short and didn't last very long), but the weekend will nonetheless be critical. There's always the chance that a visitor will decide to make a verbal commitment on the trip, but more critically, the visit will allow the uncommitted visitors a chance to get comfortable with the current Stanford commits and players. Given the value most recruits place on feeling comfortable at a particular school, spending 48 hours with players and fellow recruits could go a long way.
The Itinerary: Though the official visit itinerary changes every year, it is to some degree consistent. There'll likely be some form of a campus tour, academic and strength training presentations, perhaps a players-only panel with current Stanford student-athletes, and plenty of individual meetings with coaches and recruits. The recruits will likely attend the men's basketball game, when the 2012 Rose Bowl champion team will be honored at halftime.
The Fat Envelope: Though all of the viable prospects on Stanford's recruiting board have submitted their applications, several are still waiting on admissions decisions. It wouldn't be a surprise if several prospects found out that they were admitted on the visit itself, which could perhaps add to Stanford's visit momentum with some of the recruits.
The Follow Up: While the official visit weekend marks one of the final chances for recruits to see Stanford's campus before they sign letters of intent, the recruiting process is far from over. Stanford coaches will be on the road making in-home visits for the weeks leading up to the early-February signing day. One of the final quiet periods before signing day concluded on January 10th; the next quiet period of limited contact begins in early February, just a few days before the February 6th signing day. From this weekend on, it's essentially a race to the signing day finish.
Stay tuned to Cardinal Sports Report for complete coverage of Stanford's official visit and the weeks leading up to signing day. Take advantage of a seven-day free trial to Cardinal Sports Report for access to our premium message boards and the exclusive insider recruiting tidbits and discussion we provide, and become the most knowledgeable Cardinal fan at your tailgate today!