Thursday, January 23, 2014
ESPN 300 DT Lealao opens recruitment
By Erik McKinney
After generating some significant momentum following its Big Visit Weekend and grabbing a commitment from ESPN 300 tight end Dalton Schultz (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham), Stanford's recruiting class took a hit on Wednesday night, when ESPN 300 defensive tackle Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian) announced his decommitment via Twitter.
Lealao, the nation's No. 243 overall prospect and No. 20 defensive tackle, said he will now choose between Cal, Oregon State, Utah and Vanderbilt.
The 6-foot-6, 280-pound defensive lineman, who is now exploring his other options, took an official visit to Cal this past weekend. Landing Lealao would be a huge recruiting victory for Cal, as the Golden Bears are in need of immediate help on the defensive side of the ball. Vanderbilt being on Lealao's final list doesn't come as much of a shock either, considering former Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason is now the Commodores’ head coach. His familiarity with Lealao, as well as the academic tradition at both schools, makes it a possible landing spot for the big defender.
Oregon State could use another presence along the defensive line after losing defensive end Shane Bowman (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) to Washington recently. Oregon State's lone defensive tackle commit is three-star Kalani Vakameilalo (Kapolei, Hawaii/Kapolei).
Utah, on the other hand, already has four defensive tackles committed in the 2014 class. However, if he does land in Salt Lake City, it wouldn't be surprising to see Lealao jump up the depth chart and eventually pair with top 2013 signee Lowell Lotulelei to form the interior of the Utes defensive line.