"Stanford was my top choice, but I've also been working closely with several of the Ivy's, primarily Yale and Brown and then Cal. I visited each school in the spring during the Junior Recruit Days, and over the summer I had great camp experiences at each one as well. They're all good programs, with excellent coaching staffs. And I'd get a great education at any of them, so there was no wrong decision. But Stanford is definitely the best fit for me. I like what Coach (Jim) Harbaugh has done with the program and the direction he is taking it, but most of all, he has incredible energy and enthusiasm which you feel when you get anywhere near the football offices and stadium. During the summer camps, I got to know most of the coaches, especially Coach Shaw and Coach White. They're really cool guys. Under their guidance, I know I'll develop to my full potential as a player."
Gaertner, a stellar student, said the academics at Stanford made a big difference.
"Academically, Stanford speaks for itself. I'm trying to decide whether I'll major in Economics or Physics, both programs being among the best in the country. I just need to spend more time evaluating my options. Hopefully I'll be able to do that between football and basketball seasons," said Gaertner.
And the proximity to home also helped.
"I was hoping to play football at a top academic university close to home. I've been playing for 10 years and my family has never missed a game. It is important to me that they continue to be an active part of my football experience," said Gaertner. "I'm really solid academically, with a full load of AP courses. While my plan has always been to apply early action to Stanford, I've also been getting some pressure to apply early from a few other schools that are recruiting me."
The opportunity was too great for him to pass up.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I am grateful for the confidence that Coach Harbaugh, Coach Shaw, and Coach White have expressed through this offer," said Gaertner. "With this offer, everything is so much clearer for me now. I don't have the need to wait until January or February for a scholarship offer. It's a great feeling to know that I have a roster spot and I feel motivated to work even harder. Without the distraction of the recruiting process, I can now really focus on doing my best academically, being an inspirational leader for my team on and off the field, and supporting my teammates who are also pursuing the opportunity to play football in college."