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‘Why Wait’: Inside Vaccarello’s Decision to Commit to Stanford



When Peters Township linebacker Mickey Vaccarello sat on his long flight home from Stanford last weekend, he knew he had just left his future home.

“Afterwards, I got that feeling that this would be the best fit for me,” he said.

On day one of his trip visiting one of the top private institutions in the country, Vaccarello received an offer from head coach Troy Taylor with his parents alongside. He wanted to commit on the spot, but decided to let things breathe.

“My dad wanted me to commit immediately. I was thinking about that all flight home. I wanted to commit there, but I also wanted to take a step back and make sure it was the right choice.”

While his dad, Eric, wanted his son to jump on the opportunity, his mom, Lynn, remained patient and wanted him to sit on it for a little bit longer.

“My dad likes to jump on opportunities,” Vaccarello said. “My mom is a little more grounded. She said, ‘Don’t do it right away. Get home and think about it for a second and then make your decision.’ She was really for it too and when she’s really for it and my dad is and everyone around me is telling me to do it, it makes the decision a lot easier.”

After returning to Pittsburgh, Vaccarello gave it a few days and then decided that there was no better time to make his college decision and it came with full support from his parents.

“My parents were all in. They were the ones that said, ‘Why wait?” This will probably be the place I end up going to anyways. That’s a big part for me is what my parents feel as well because they’ve been as much as this process as anyone has. We got home, thought about it and then called coach and committed,” Vaccarello said.

The three-star linebacker, according to Rivals, had no intentions on committing so quickly, but once he stepped foot onto Stanford’s campus in the Santa Clara Valley, he knew it would be one of his top schools.

“Going into it, I didn’t think I would commit that fast, but getting the offer, I knew in the future it would be one of my top schools. I couldn’t have been more excited. It’s a crazy opportunity to have combined with football and academics,” he said.

As a 4.83 GPA student in high school, academics were an important factor in Vaccarello’s decision and what better place to study than a university that ranks amongst the best in the country.

“Getting that offer is one of the biggest opportunities with football and the academics they have there,” Vaccarello said. “Getting out and meeting the coaches, seeing the program, seeing the culture and learning more about the school and the academics, which is something that interests me.”

It’s not that common that a WPIAL player takes his talents out to California and Stanford with Vaccarello becoming just the sixth player to do so. The last player to land at Standford from the district was North Allegheny’s Tom Keiser in 2007.

The distance didn’t bother him as much as it did his mom, but it became not much of a factor once she got out there to experience the campus.

“For me, distance and travel wasn’t a huge factor,” Vaccarello said. “My mom was the one that wanted me to stay closer to home, but when my mom got out there, she was like, ‘I want you to stay close to home, but I’m not going to stop you from going here.”

Luckily for his family and friends, the addition of Stanford to the ACC will provide a chance to see Vaccarello play some road games not too far from Pittsburgh.

Once the class of 2025 prospect makes his way out to Stanford following his senior season with the Indians, he will have the privilege to learn under defensive coordinator Bobby April, who spent the past five seasons at Wisconsin and prior to that, spent six years coaching in the NFL.

“Coach April would be my position coach. He’s a great person, great guy and above all, he’s a great coach too and has a great reputation. It would be an honor to play under him and his defense,” Vaccarello said.

Before transitioning to his future college home, Vaccarello will look to lead Peters Township back to another district title.

This past fall in his junior season, Vaccarello played a pivotal role in the Indians’ first-ever WPIAL title after going 15-1 on the season.

“It was great. One of the best coaching staffs in the WPIAL. The seniors were amazing, great leadership and great players. It was a fun ride being able to go out there and having fun, but still doing what we needed to do,” Vaccarello said.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound outside linebacker finished the season with 111 total tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 13 sacks.

Vaccarello selected Stanford over additional offers, including Utah, Syracuse, Boston College, Marshall, Akron, Toledo and others.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 month ago

At least he’s staying in the ACC…as weird as that still is to say.

1 month ago

Hopefully he will get to pick his major and not be stuffed into PT, communications or another fluff major.

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