Stanford "likes" YouTube sensation, offers

Nathanael Lohn

Kansas City, Missouri has factored more into Stanford athletics in recent years than you might expect. Candice Wiggins played in her first Sweet 16 there in 2005. The next year, OT Derek Hall of local Rockhurst High signed with Stanford. Hall started at right tackle this past season. Now, the Card are recruiting KC again, looking for another lineman…

Nathanael Lohn (Nate) of Kansas City, Missouri's Staley High reports offers from Iowa State, Kansas State and Stanford.

"It's going well so far," Lohn said of his recruitment. "I still think I'm in the earlier stages of it. I've been trying to go to all the Junior Days I've been invited to. I've been Missouri, Iowa State and Kansas State so far, and several other schools have invited me to theirs that are coming up."

The Stanford offer came but two weeks ago. Lohn was floored.

"Well, I mean, they're the best football team with great athletics and top academics," he said. "They're top five in every major and finished sixth [sic] last year in the country. The thing about it is I didn't realize Stanford would be an option for me, so I hadn't researched before I got offered. I'm researching it now. From what I know, just seeing them on TV, they're just tops. It's just tops. It's a high school to beat."

Though Lohn lives half a continent away, perhaps Stanford was predestined to discover the lineman all along. Jawed Karim, who would go on to earn a graduate degree in computer science from Stanford, co-founded a site called YouTube in 2005 (he stars in the first-ever YouTube video here). It was through YouTube that Stanford stumbled upon (or, in today's lingo, StumbledUpon) Lohn's highlight film, which can be seen here.

"Stanford was the second school to offer," he said in an interview earlier this week. "It was kind of interesting. I hadn't really been sending anything to Stanford and didn't realize it would be an option, so I felt pretty honored. I put my video up on YouTube about a couple weeks ago, about two weeks ago now. I thought it more convenient for coaches to see. Then, I got a [Facebook] friend request from one of the coaches on Tuesday of last week, and then Thursday of last week, I got a Facebook message that said you have good reason to give me a call, here's my number. So I gave Coach Sanford a call.

"He said they were celebrating their bowl game win, complimented my play, and offered me a scholarship. I'm very blessed. It was very, very awesome. It was kind of shocking really."

Not only did Lohn have no previous contact with Stanford before the YouTube video, but he doesn't even know how, of the 35 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, Stanford discovered his five-minute clip.

"I really have no idea how Stanford came across my video; I'll have to ask them," he said. "I didn't send them a link or anything. I made All-State, but I'm from Missouri and I don't know if Kansas City was an area they recruit really hard. I did go to the Army national combine, so maybe they checked me from that list. Maybe my video was referred to them by somebody.

"But a couple days later they asked for my transcript. They're pretty big on academics, they said. They liked way I played, so it's pretty exciting. It was pretty aggressive of them to go to Kansas City, but I like it a lot, I like the Pac-10, and I think Stanford's just a great school, just a great school."

It wasn't just Stanford who's discovered Lohn online, however. This Antoine Dodson of defense, this LonelyGirl15 of linemen, this biting Charlie of the bullrush, Lohn is hoping to generate interest from schools across the country with his uploaded highlight video.

"Right now, I gave my coaches a link and made a list of several schools to send it to," he said. "Hopefully they'll watch it and like it. It's kind of the goal for them to see it. I've given hard copies to several schools too.

"I sent it to pretty much all Big 12 and Big 10 schools, and some other Pac-10 schools, just any school I'm remotely interested in," Lohn said. "Some SEC schools too, like Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama. It was about 40 schools on my list, schools that I liked growing up. I looked at all the D-I conferences and picked schools I knew a little bit."

Lohn targeted three Pac-10 schools in particular. The three schools he chose and the order and manner in which he mentions them is such wonderful evidence of the fact that, in recruiting, attention spans are but a season or two long.

"Oregon was in the national championship game, so I'm sending my tape to them," Lohn said. "I like Oregon and I think Oregon and Stanford are all I'm looking at there right now. Well, USC a little bit too."

How did Lohn decide which other programs would make his 40-school email?

"I researched them and decided if I liked what I read and liked what I saw," he said. "Of course, every website thinks their school is greatest in the world, so you have to know what other people say. It was mostly from what I know about the schools as far as academics and sports."

Lohn explained how he differentiates between schools.

"What I'm going to be researching is, for one, academics, the grad rate for each school, what majors they have and how are they in different majors," he said. "I think Stanford is going to pass the test on that. And then I go into athletics research on the team: how many players are there at my position, what classes are they, what type of D do they run, and what type of academic support is there for athletes. [Ed: sore topic.] I try to find interviews with coaches online to see if I like the way they talk and act. And then the community, how it is."

Where might Lohn play at the next level?

"It depends on what school," he said. "Some schools see me as a DE type, and some as a DT. I feel comfortable pretty much anywhere on the DL. Coaches see it as depending on how my weight goes. If I get heavier then I'll go inside, and if not, I'll stay where I am at the end. I'm fine playing anywhere.

"I'm 6-3, 265. I'm just trying to get as strong as I can, just maintain that right now. My playing weight next season, I'd like to be probably 270. If I do gain weight, I'd like to gain it in my legs so I can be faster. I've been doing a lot of squats lately and maintaining footwork through jump and rope ladders."

That a Stanford offer came at all was a bit of a surprise to Lohn, who thought geography would make him a non-starter with the Cardinal.

"I had heard from several coaches that a lot of California, Florida and Texas schools do all their recruiting in California, Florida and Texas, so I put most of my interest in places I thought would be interested back in me. They said, ‘Well, California, Florida, Texas are going to look at their own state mostly.' So I was surprised I would get an offer from a California school. It's just a blessing and I feel honored. I know my academics would be fine. I just didn't realize they recruited in the Kansas City area."

Indeed, Lohn is confident his academic profile can get him into the Farm.

"I strive to be excellent and perfect in everything I do, and my grades, I just work hard," he said. "I have a 3.8 cumulative GPA right now, so I just feel like going to be okay with grades. I took the ACT as a sophomore. I'm going to take it again as a junior in April and take the writing portion of the test, that's what required for Stanford. I believe I have to get above a 3.0 and a 24 on the ACT, but my goal is kind of 28. And I think I have to take 2 AP classes next year."

On the field, Lohn is equally confident in his strengths.

"My strengths as a DL are that I'm very good at stopping the run and getting to the quarterback," he said. "I hustle and feel like I'm a leader. I'm the type of guy people can look to and be an example, really. I believe I am a morale booster and hopefully I can get people to devote themselves to the cause. That's one of my strengths as a football player.

"My goal is to constantly get better, exhibit constant improvement," he said. "Right now, I'd like to be faster and getting my 40 time down to hopefully 4.7 is where I want to be. I'm at a mid-4.8 now."

Lohn will be visiting Stanford for their April Junior Day, yet another step toward ultimately making a decision as to his college destination.

"I'm just going to have to weigh the pros and cons of each school and really pray and see where the Lord wants me to be," he said. "I feel Stanford is a great school, and it's just going to come down to the best fit really. Hopefully I will make the right choice."


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