June 24, 2009

No drama for Carlisle

Stanford fans have been blown away by the recruiting traction that Coach Harbaugh and the staff have demonstrated in the 2009 and 2010 recruiting classes. If early indications mean anything, it appears that that the staff will continue to find recruiting gems in the class of 2011.

On Monday, Stanford picked up the earliest commitment in the history of the football program, as Sunnyvale (CA) Kings Academy RB Amir Carlisle made a commitment to the Cardinal.

Amir, who led the state of California in yards per carry with 15.5, burst onto the scene in the semifinals of the CCS playoffs, when he rushed for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns on only 19 carries. He also added a 98 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. This performance led to Amir being named the San Jose Mercury News athlete of the year.

CardinalReport had the opportunity to speak with both Amir and his father, Duane Carlisle. Amir competed at the camp at Stanford this past week, and even his father came away impressed by the performance of his son.

"Well, they had the all-position camp on Saturday and Sunday, and he came for the Sunday afternoon session, which was full pads," Duane explained. "He made some runs that were really impressive, including an inside run, where he showed great vision and showed an explosive cut.

"They had the elite practice on Monday night, which had some of the top 2010 and 2011 prospects. He did really well, and ran some really nice routes and showed good hands, and just did a nice job."

Amir was even more humble about the experience, as he said his performance was really just a case of him given it his best.

"To be honest, I just went out there and played," Amir said. "I prayed before, and I just went out there and did my best. I didn't know that it was performance worthy of receiving an offer."

This commitment by Amir to Stanford was something that Mr. Carlisle had been hoping before when they moved out to the Bay Area.

"The coaches were really impressed by his quickness and his acceleration," Duante told CardinalReport. "They really like what he did, and he stood out at the camp, because he was able to display his athleticism.

"I've been planning for this since we moved out to the West Coast. I would always take him by Stanford and have him see the campus, I was just planting the seed. So for him to get an offer this early, Amir was just elated. Amir is pretty decisive in where he wants to go, especially with that being Stanford, and what the school has to offer under Coach Harbaugh."

As Amir explained to CardinalReport, it was the academics and the opportunity to play under Coach Jim Harbaugh that drew him to Stanford.

"I came here on Sunday for the camp, and I thought I did a pretty good job and Coach Harbaugh noticed me and had some good things to say," Amir explained. "Monday, I went to another camp, and I met with Coach Harbaugh right before, and he told he was offering, and it was a big surprise."

Harbaugh wasn't the only coach that Amir connected with.

"I got a very positive vibe and spirit from the coaches," Amir said. "I just thought that it was a good match with the coaching staff. (Running back) Coach Taggart is also a great coach, and he was the director of the drills I did at the camp. He taught the footwork and everything else really well, and I just felt like I could play under him for four years."

Mr. Carlisle also noticed the great connection between the staff and Amir, and it is a coaching staff that he has full trust in.

"It's a great staff, just a great staff," Duane declared. "Amir really connected with Coach Taggart, and they are really excited about Amir. When Amir went into Coach Harbaugh's office to tell him that he was going to commit, all the coaches came in to congratulate him. Coach Harbaugh precedes his reputation as both a player and as a coach. He wants to win, and he wants to do it the right way. He really wants a competitive environment at Stanford."

Academically it is the drama program that Stanford offers which has Amir so impressed.

"Academics has always been number one," Amir said. "Stanford is a great academic school, and I have a love for drama, and Stanford has the #2 drama program in the nation."

Even though he has made his college decision, there are still some areas that Amir can improve in. With his father being the strength and conditioning coach for the San Francisco 49ers, Amir will be in the hands of an expert.

"He has got to get physically stronger, he is only 16 years old, and as his body matures he is going to develop physically," Mr. Carlisle explained. "I can work with him for the next two years, and then I will hand him off to Coach Harbaugh and the staff."

With his commitment in place, both Duane and Amir plan to do everything possible to ensure a terrific experience at Stanford.

"It's Stanford and Stanford only," Duane explained to CardinalReport. "That is his mindset going into this, and that's how we plan to help him and support him."

Amir is also an acclaimed basketball player, and the possibility of playing both sports at Stanford is something that has been discussed.

"It's a possibility, and that is something that hopefully we can have the discussion about," Duane told CardinalReport. "He plays on the Pump Elite team that is based out of Los Angeles, and 8 of his teammates have already received D-1 offers. He is the backup point guard for the team, and they are loaded. He's got a chance to make some noise in basketball."

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