It is a rarity for an outside program to go into Nebraska and beat out the Huskers for an in-state recruit.
But this is exactly what Stanford did on Monday.
The Cardinal landed a commitment from defensive end Harrison Phillips (Omaha, Neb./Millard West), who also held BCS offers from Duke, Kansas State, Nebraska and UCLA.
“I was praying on it and praying on it and every morning I woke up and thought of Stanford,” Phillips said. “Everything I was looking for they have: a relationship with the players and coaches, success on the field and the education. Stanford said they would honor my scholarship no matter what, and a Stanford degree is something you’ll have for the rest of your life.”
The educational opportunities are what Phillips referred to the most when talking about his commitment. He hopes to make it to the NFL but knows at some point his football career will end. He felt Stanford gives him the best opportunity in life following football.
He also likes the strength of Stanford’s defense, which was among the best in the country in 2012. Phillips will play as a three- and five-technique defensive lineman in Stanford’s 3-4 defensive scheme.
It took a while for Phillips to land the coveted Stanford offer. He never held it against the Cardinal, though, as coach David Shaw did not offer until Phillips performed well at a June camp. Phillips always appreciated Shaw’s upfront approach throughout the process.
“How personable he was with me and how honest he is,” Phillips said is what stood out most to him about his future coach. “He told me where I stood from the get go, that they had high interest I had to come prove myself. He’s been truthful since the beginning.”
Stanford, which will sign another small class in 2014, has eight commitments.