After a long process, Thomas Oser found out that he had been admitted to Stanford in December. For the second time in his recruitment, Oser was tempted to make a commitment to the Cardinal.
"At that moment I was thinking it would be awesome to commit right now, but I just wanted to make sure," Oser said. "I wanted to take that (official) visit and make sure I spent more time up there and make sure it was the right place."
Oser, who visited Oregon officially in late September, took his official visit to Stanford in mid-January. He was hosted by freshman lineman Graham Shuler. The trip eventually did seal the deal for Oser and the Cardinal.
"I got to meet a lot of interesting people and just realized I'm really comfortable there," Oser sad. "I don't know if it was a specific moment, but I know that after talking to my parents after the first day we were up there and we were feeling really good up there. My parents loved it and I loved it and we just decided this has gotta be it. It didn't feel like there was any chance of anything getting better. I think one of my favorite things about it is I'm kind of an exploring kind of kid and they have the biggest campus in the United States and I thought that's appealing. To be able to think that I could go out and explore things and not even be able to reach every limit of the campus in the four or five years I'm there is interesting too. I fell in love with it. It seemed like the perfect place for me."
Oser was greeted by plenty of congratulations and well wishes upon his return to Harvard-Westlake after the visit, though his fellow students weren't exactly surprised by the decision.
"There's been a lot of congratulations," Oser said. "It's been pretty fun. But I don't think anyone was really surprised. I was talking to my dean before I went up (on the visit) and he asked, 'Have you committed yet?' I said, 'No, I haven't committed yet.' He said, 'Okay, you can go around and ask any student on this campus if you've committed to Stanford and they would say yes.'
"That's the type of scene I was in. I thought that was kind of funny, but I stuck to my own and did what I thought was right and ended up going up there, loving it, and realizing why everyone wants to go there. It's a very fortunate position for me to be in."
One of Harvard-Westlake's famous recent alums also approved of Oser's choice.
"I didn't come public with the decision until Monday night obviously and then on Tuesday I wore my Stanford hat at the school," Oser said. "I was talking to my lifting coach and he said that Jonathan (Martin) was actually there lifting that week and was in town and he's been working out at school. (I ran into Jonathan)… We had talked before and he saw my hat and he was just like 'good choice'.
"I got to pick his brain a little bit about what it's like and his transition even just from college to the pro level, an incredible feat for anyone. He's a great guy."
Oser won't likely be following in Martin's path protecting the quarterback's blind side, however. Whereas Martin made his mark on The Farm at left tackle, Oser is likely slotted for the center position, where he'll compete with his visit host, Shuler, among others, for playing time.
"When I was up there Coach Bloomgren made a point in saying that we want you to snap," Oser said. "That's something that really appeals to me because I've played center for the past two seasons and I've loved it. It's a position that I've really come to love. I love touching the ball every play and being in control on the line and having that responsibility. In the meeting Coach Hamilton was saying there's a lot of pressure on the center because you have to be able to call out the mike (linebacker) and make plays for everyone else. If we check down and do whatever we do it's all up to the center to make sure everything flows smoothly on that line. I thought that was something that's awesome to be responsible for."
There will be stiff competition to earn the starting center position, however. In addition to veterans like Kevin Reihner and Conor McFadden, Oser will have to compete with four-star Army All American Graham Shuler for the position.
"He was my host," Oser said of Shuler. "He's a great guy. I've seen his highlight film. He seems to be quite the player. I'm excited for the opportunity to go up there and compete. That's what it's all about. Just to have that opportunity to go up there and compete, I think I'll be able to find some place on the line. If I have to redshirt for a year that's something I'll do. I'm not afraid, I'm not opposed to doing that. I want to be able to play and show what I got and take the coaching well and do what I have to do I'll be able to see that field."
Either way, Oser knows that he will be attending one of his dream schools, a place he feels he can thrive on and off the field. And, he did the extensive work necessary to make the possibility of attending Stanford a reality.
"I was talking to a bunch of kids and they said Stanford was a dream school for them too," Oser said. "One thing they didn't want to do was the academics and they didn't want to put in the work. And I said well if it's a dream, why didn't you do it? And he said I just didn't feel like taking another four-hour test. I think that's one way to weed out the kids that aren't ready to do that."
"It's really extraordinary how they're at the premium D-1 level and they have the academic standards of the Ivy Leagues. It's incredible."