DP’s Eli Wopat signs to play volleyball at Stanford

Eli Wopat had visited Stanford several times as a youngster before deciding he wanted to be a student-athlete there.

Eli Wopat signs his letter of intent with Stanford.

Eli Wopat signs his letter of intent with Stanford.

The Dos Pueblos High volleyball standout on Wednesday signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Cardinal.

Wednesday was the first day of the early signing period for high school senior athletes in all sports but football, soccer and men’s water polo.

Stanford coach John Kosty will be getting a 6-5, left-handed outside hitter who also is an outstanding student.

The high academic standards and the opportunity to play collegiate volleyball at the Division 1 level are what sold Wopat on Stanford.

“When I went on my official visit, I was really shocked at how they balanced athletics and academics,” he said before a party at the family home in Goleta to celebrate his college choice. “For me, that’s my life: playing athletics and having a high standard of academics. I met the team and saw what classes they took and it was really impressive. That really stood out to me. The coach said, ‘Academics are the No. 1 thing here at Stanford, and we still play volleyball at the Division 1 level.’”

Family ties to the university also played a role in his decision. His sisters Carly and Sam played volleyball there, and he attended several of their matches.

“I talked to Carly and she said, ‘Eli, you have to go there. It’s awesome,’” he said. “I’d been on campus plenty of times and I loved it there.”

Wopat said Stanford started recruiting him during his junior year. The coaches saw him play at a tournament with the Santa Monica Beach Volleyball Club. He also made a good impression this past summer at the USA Volleyball High Performance Camp in Iowa. He helped his So Cal Youth Team win a gold medal.