UVa Tops Stalker's List

C.J. Stalker

Virginia left quite the first impression on C.J. Stalker. The West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West linebacker named UVa as a leader after his visit this weekend. The 2015 target caught up with Scout.com to recap his visit and talk the latest in his recruitment.

Many say you have one chance to make a great first impression, well it seems Virginia left a lasting impression on C.J. Stalker.

"It was awesome really. It was really great. I loved every second of it honestly," said the Lakota West linebacker after his visit to Grounds this weekend. "I would say they are on the top of my list."

Stalker arrived in Charlottesville on Friday for a two-day visit. This was his first trip to UVa. After receiving an offer from the Wahoos back in January, it was his first chance to get a good grasp of what the school and program could offer.

"When they had offered a couple of months ago, I honestly didn't know that much about it. I knew they were an ACC school. My parents really didn't know much about it," he said. "We started to look things up on the internet, talked to different people and started to see UVa-just the academic side of things is unbelievable. I had no idea honestly.

"It really did (exceed my expectations). From the buildings to the terms used, it is all Jeffersonian and all full of history-so very unique and cool to me."

While getting used to terms like "grounds" rather than "campus", and "first-year" rather than "freshman", the three-star target also learned more about schemes and the staff.

"I talked to Coach (Jon) Tenuta. I probably talked to him for close to an hour," he explained. "We sat down and talked Xs and Os; he talked to me about my recruitment; we talked about just about anything while I was down there on Friday.

"Saturday morning, I got there a little bit early and was there for meetings, then went to practice with him,shadowing him, so I got to spend a good deal of time with him, and I really enjoyed it.

"I really liked his intensity throughout the whole practice. Even in the meetings you can tell, he held all of his guys accountable, and they knew what was expected of them and vice versa. It was just unbelievable to see his ability and knowledge of the game. You can sit there and talk to him and you would get blown away."

Originally the 6-foot-2, 205 pounder was only meant to come down to Virginia on Saturday, however, the staff had a special meeting in mind. So along with his parents, Stalker came down a day earlier.

"I want to go into pre-med and Coach Tenuta and Coach (Mike) London had me meet up with several doctors. My parents and I met with them and that was great honestly-I liked hearing their insights, their views and thoughts of going through the whole process."

The focus that UVa's head coach placed on education did not go unnoticed by the Stalker family.

"We sat down for about 45 minutes or an hour with Coach London," he said. "He is a great guy. Honestly his knowledge of football is great. You can tell with the academics at Virginia they are involved with that. And he really pushes for student-athletes and not athlete-student. That's good for me because my mother has been in education for over 30 years and that was always something that has been pushed heavily on me."

Virginia is not the only school fighting for the 2015 prospect. Stalker holds offers from Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Kentucky, UMass, West Virginia and Western Virginia, however, institutions like Northwestern, Vanderbilt and Stanford are also showing interest.

"I have talked to Coach (Randy) Bates, the linebacker coach out of Northwestern, they are another academic school. They want me to come up and stay overnight April 1st and 2nd. So I mean an offer from them-a Big Ten school with great academics as well, that would be huge for me. And then also I have been in contact with Coach (Randy) Hart from Stanford for probably a year and half or so. Heading out there probably in the next month or so and an offer from them would mean a lot to me."

With his recruitment picking up and more visits coming, it is pretty obvious what Stalker is looking for in a college program.

"Any of those schools, football is a huge thing (and also academics.) Those are the two main aspects I really push for. Academics because football is going to be over at some point, and what are you going to do after that's done. So a degree is very important to me. Academics in regards to those schools are incredible and the caliber of football that they are playing in those schools is also unbelievable. The ACC, the PAC-12, Big Ten, SEC with Vanderbilt, they are all unbelievable."

Stalker hopes to make a decision before the end of the summer.

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