Dudchock seals the deal with Stanford on Signing Day

Months of deliberation ended in a moment’s notice for Oak Mountain High School senior Davis Dudchock.

A highly-recruited football prospect in the Class of 2010, Dudchock jumped on the college football recruiting carousel and tested the waters at several college campuses before everything became clear in the mature 17-year-old’s mind.

“It was a gut feeling,” said Duchock, who signed a football scholarship Wednesday with Stanford University on National Signing Day.

Shelby County Manager Alex Dudchock, Davis’ father, remembers the exact phrase his son used to explain why he changed a five-month verbal commitment to Vanderbilt University in November to head to the West Coast after three fall visits to Stanford.

“It’s not a five-year decision, it’s a 40-year decision,” Davis told his father.

In the end, the combination of athletic and academic opportunities offered by the Palo Alto, Calif., school have Davis headed West.

Dudchock was one of several Shelby County athletes who signed athletic scholarships Wednesday on National Signing Day. Other Shelby County athletes have recently signed or expect to sign scholarships within the next week. To see a complete list of signees, please scroll down to the bottom of the page.

The Dudchocks have seen two different sides of college football recruiting at the biggest stage.

Alex, a defensive lineman at Auburn from 1982-1985, remembers the days when most talented high school football players matriculated at local schools. Alex didn’t travel far to attend Auburn, where he met his wife, Natalie.

Davis’ parents and grandparents on both sides of his family have a total of 10 degrees between them from Auburn, but Alex said there wasn’t any pressure on Davis to follow in his family’s footsteps.

“It was never about us,” Alex said. “We always knew Davis was going to make his own decision.”

Davis, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound tight end, committed to Vanderbilt in June 2009. He considered other schools, including Stanford, Tennessee, Florida State and Auburn, briefly, before committing to the Commodores.

As the season played out, Davis began to have a change of heart at the same time his parents had grown comfortable with the idea of a six-hour drive to Nashville to see their son play in college.

In November, everything changed when Davis contacted the Stanford coaching staff and decided to change his verbal commitment.

“I felt like I committed prematurely,” Davis said. “I visited Stanford again for the California game and Oregon game. I had a great experience with the coaches and the players.”

The visits sealed Davis’ decision.

“I’ve got great opportunities at Stanford,” said Davis, who has already surfed the waters of the Pacific Ocean a time or two. “I’ll be redshirting for a year to develop more physically. I wish I was out there right now.”

Meanwhile, Alex and Natalie made different plans. The two plan to rotate trips to the West Coast to watch Davis play during his collegiate career, Natalie said.

“We’re comfortable with the six-hour flight,” Alex said.

Natalie was sold on the school and its football coaching staff, including former NFL player and head coach Jim Harbaugh, from the beginning.

“It’s a great program,” Natalie said. “Everything is so positive.”

Davis gave credit to his father for helping him maneuver the recruiting process. His father wasn’t recruited at the same level as Davis in today’s recruiting-hungry world, but he did have an integral role in Davis’ decision.

“(Alex) was very valuable,” said Davis, who will turn 18 one day before his attending his first class at Stanford on June 21. “His knowledge of recruiting made a difference. With my Mom and my Dad, I was able to make the right choice, which is Stanford.”

Alex said he’s going to have to make room for a new color of clothing in his closet.

“I now support a school in the SEC and in the Pac-10,” Alex said. “I’ve never thought about wearing red before, but I will now wear cardinal.”

2010 National Signing Day

Josh Drum, Spain Park, University of Pennsylvania (football)

David Jones, Spain Park, Air Force Academy (football)

Josh Mote, Spain Park, Air Force Academy (football)

Jeremiah Jackson, Spain Park, Arkansas (football)

Wilson Robinson, Spain Park, Tennessee State University (football)

DaRon Smith, Spain Park, Dodge City Community College (football)

Jeremiah Mullins, Spain Park, Dodge City Community College (football)

Lauren Arnold, Spain Park, Clemson University (women’s soccer)

Taylor Bisso, Spain Park, Delta State University (women’s soccer)

Hannah Collier, Spain Park, University of Alabama (women’s golf)

Lauren Tant, Spain Park, Faulkner State Community College (softball)

Sammy Sisson, Spain Park, Faulkner State Community College (softball)

Geoffrey Bostany, Spain Park, University of Pennsylvania (wrestling)

Connor Pratt, Spain Park, Coastal Carolina University (men’s golf)

Samantha McDonald, Spain Park, Cumberland University (athletic training)

Davis Duchock, Oak Mountain, Stanford University (football)

Shanna Brooks, Oak Mountain, University of Alabama (women’s soccer)

Morgan Motes, Oak Mountain, University of South Alabama (women’s soccer)

Thomas Holloway, Oak Mountain, The Citadel (football)

Jake Holland, Pelham, Auburn University (football)

Nigel Terrell, Pelham, Florida State University (football)

Ryan Williams, Pelham, Naval Academy (football)

Carrington Lewis, Pelham, Naval Academy (football)

Justin Lynch, Thompson, Faulkner University (men’s soccer)

Ashley Sawyer, Thompson, Judson College (softball)

Kacey Chance, Thompson, Judson College (women’s soccer)

Justin Shade, Briarwood Christian, Samford University (football)

Zeke Walters, Briarwood Christian, Southern Mississippi University (football)

Tae Lewis, Shelby County, Samford University (football)

Johnna Marie Barnes, Chelsea, Jefferson State Community College (softball)

D’Antwone King, Calera, UAB (football)

Cloe Jones, Montevallo, Central Alabama Community College (softball)

Shanise Hudson, Montevallo, Central Alabama Community College (softball)

Kayla Irwin, Montevallo, Snead State Community College (softball)

Marquel Nelson, Montevallo, Morgan State University (football)

Sarah Hook, Indian Springs, Vanderbilt University (women’s soccer)

Austin Booth, Kingwood Christian School, Faulkner University (football)