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Cummings changes mind, will attend Stanford

Thunder football star committed to Yale in February
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High senior football star Jackson Cummings has changed his mind about where he will attend college. Cummings originally committed to Yale University on Feb. 3rd but he has now decided to attend Stanford. Cummings, 5-foot-8 and about 190 pounds, scored 42 touchdowns for the 14-1 Thunder this season. The running back was the offensive MVP of the Sierra Foothill League and he rushed 342 times for 2,406 yards as a senior. He also broke school records for yards (game, season, career) and touchdowns (game, season, career), among others. Among his numerous honors that followed his senior season, Cummings was named Offensive Player of the Year for Northern California by calhisports.com. Cummings will be a preferred walk-on as a freshman at Stanford with a chance to earn an athletic scholarship after the first year. As a preferred walk-on he will be invited to Stanford’s football camp this summer. “When I got a call (from Stanford head coach Jim) Harbaugh he said I’d been accepted to school and would be a preferred walk-on,” Cummings said. “That I would have a chance to compete and maybe they can offer me a scholarship next year . . . And it’s closer to home and it’s Pac-10 football.” Mike Eubanks, Stanford’s Assistant Athletic Director and Director of Football Administration, said that Harbaugh cannot comment “on a recruit at this time who has not signed a National Letter of Intent, per NCAA rules.” Harbaugh will be allowed to comment on Cummings after May 1st. Cummings attended spring practice at Stanford on March 7. According to Jackson’s dad Casey Cummings, Stanford moved the date for Jackson. It was originally set for March 8. Jackson couldn’t be at Stanford on March 8 because of basketball practice with the Thunder. “Jackson talked with David Shaw, the (Stanford) offensive coordinator, and Jim Harbaugh, and they told him how much they wanted him,” Casey said. “And they actually switched the practice to Sunday so he could come down. It really told him that they really wanted him and coach Harbaugh met with us for a half an hour before practice. (Jackson) went to meetings and saw the (Stanford players) and was able to make an evaluation of whether he thinks he can play with them. And his determination was yes.” Casey added that Harbaugh told Jackson that he is bringing him to Stanford to play. “He said he plans on playing four (running backs) a game and that Jackson could be in that mix,” said Casey, who played running back for Northwestern from 1982-85. Jackson says that Stanford and UCLA have always been his top choices for colleges. “That’s kind of what I had my eye set on,” Jackson said. “I felt like I could play there and they are great schools. And that’s not to say that other places are not great but (UCLA and Stanford) are kind of my dream places. Take nothing away from UNR (University of Nevada, Reno), Davis, Dartmouth, Yale and West Point and the schools that recruited me. They are great places. I loved the trips to Yale and UNR and the coaching staffs at both were great and after my first two choices (Stanford and UCLA) fell through (neither school recruited him) I thought Yale was a great pick. But it was never my No. 1 choice.” Having to tell Yale that he was not following through on his commitment was hard for Jackson. “It was really tough,” said Jackson, who had a 4.5 grade point average last semester. “I called the recruiting coordinator, who is also my recruiting coach, and I just kind of told him all the stuff that happened and he wasn’t really happy about it. And the (Yale) head coach, who I didn’t have a number for, ended up calling my dad. (The Stanford) opportunity came through really late and I get a chance to earn a scholarship and be close to home. I still love Yale and the coaching staff at Yale and I really think I would have had a great time there as well.” Yale does not offer its students athletic scholarships and the cost per year is about $50,000. However Yale does offer lots of grants and financial aid. Jackson said, at the time that he signed with Yale, that nearly all of his fees were being paid for. According to Casey, whatever Jackson will receive in terms of academic scholarships from Stanford is still being worked out. “I never go against my word and it was a hard decision but this was going to be the right decision for me,” said Jackson, who also played four years of varsity basketball at Rocklin. “So I called coach Harbaugh (on the weekend of March 13-14) and I told him that I wanted to give it a shot and that I am going to come to Stanford. And he was really excited and I think it’s going to be a good experience. It’s right up there near the top (as a University) and it’s playing in the Pac-10.”