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Barry J. Sanders credits foot injury for starting relationship with Stanford

BARRY J. SANDERS — Heritage Hall standout Barry J. Sanders announced before a national TV audience on Saturday that he would play at Sanford University. It was an announcement that never would have been possible had Sanders not injured his foot and had surgery in California in 2010.
BY JASON KERSEY, Staff Writer, Modified: January 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm •  Published: January 7, 2012

Barry J. Sanders suffered a foot injury that cost him eight games of his junior season.

Funny how things work out sometimes.

Without that injury, he would've never visited Stanford and likely would've committed to play college football somewhere else during Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Instead, Sanders announced before a national television audience on NBC during the fourth quarter of Saturday's game that he had chosen Stanford over Oklahoma State, Alabama and Florida State.

Sanders had his foot surgery in California in late 2010, and when he went back for a check-up in December, decided to check Stanford out.

“I went over to the campus, just to check it out; not knowing what I was gonna get myself into,” Sanders told The Oklahoman in a telephone interview after his announcement.

Was he at all interested in Stanford before that visit?

“I should've been,” Sanders said. “But no, not until that visit.”

David Shaw, now Stanford's head coach but then the Cardinal's offensive coordinator, came to Heritage Hall once to recruit Sanders before the visit.

“I wasn't really interested at all,” Sanders said. “I got hurt, went out there on a visit and fell in love with it.

“After that visit, I knew it was a special place. I knew if I was able to get in there, it might be a possibility.”

That was the problem. Sanders was academically qualified for every other school he was interested in, but Stanford requires its prospective students to take a few extra classes and holds them to higher academic standards.

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