Published Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 | 2:20 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 | 3:34 p.m.
The suspense was making them curious, too.
Stanley, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound senior offensive tackle and a four-star football prospect, posted on Facebook late Wednesday night he would be announcing his college decision after school the following day. So, after the final bell, more than 100 students gathered to hear what the Gaels’ top recruit had to say.
After briefly delivering a heartfelt speech thanking his family and friends, Stanley verbally committed to Notre Dame. “LeBron took his talents to South Beach. I’m taking my to South Bend, Indiana,” he jokingly told the group.
It seemed like a fitting way to end the unique way of making a college decision — after all, Stanley’s verbal commitment is non-binding and not official until national signing day in early February when he signs a letter of intent. That’s when most athletes bring the entire school together.
Then again, Stanley isn’t like most athletes.
Stanley was a three-year starter for Gorman, anchoring the line to help the Gaels win three straight state championships and a 43-3 record. This year, they finished ranked in the top-10 of virtually every poll.
Stanley is widely considered Nevada’s top prospect for the class of 2012 and rated as a four-star recruit on the Rivals.com scale of five stars. The evaluating site ranks as the nation’s No. 170 prospect.
He had more than 20 scholarship offers, taking official recruiting trips to Arkansas, Nebraska and last weekend to Notre Dame.
Part of his trip included attending Notre Dame’s postseason banquet. He was inspired after watching a video, where the mothers of the program’s seniors spoke about the accomplishments of their sons. His mom, Juli, like she has been his entire career, was in the front row Thursday for his announcement.
“I couldn’t help thinking about my mom and how proud she would be of me,” he said.
He will join several from the Gorman program to play top-level college football. Xavier Grimble (USC), Alex Turner (Stanford), Geoff Gibson (Cal), Jalen Grimble (Miami) are each playing for major Division I programs. Shaquille Powell, Stanley’s Gorman teammate, last Sunday committed to Duke.
Gorman has at least two other uncommitted players, including offensive lineman Ron Scoggins Jr. and safety Marc Philippi. Both will take an official trip this weekend at hometown UNLV. Also this week, Gaels defensive lineman Zach Hutchins committed to San Jose State, Gaels coach Tony Sanchez said.