“I haven’t really come out and named any favorites but Stanford after this visit definitely remains in the top tier of my list,” Graham Shuler told The Bootleg.
It took some maneuvering, but Shuler was able to make his first visit to Stanford’s campus last Monday (Apr. 4) with both of his parents, despite having his high school prom Saturday evening.
“I had prom Saturday, so had to go to that,” Shuler said. “I really wanted to get out here and this actually worked out well because both of my parents have pretty busy schedules, so this actually worked out great for us to get out here. My school gives us one college visit day and two parent request days a year. So we used one of my college visit days and a parent request day to come out here, and we just had a blast. We’re glad that we were able to make it.”
Although Shuler had to fly back home early Tuesday morning, he and his family made the most of their lone day on campus.
“Monday morning we went over and met at the football offices and hung out for a while,” Shuler said. “We had breakfast in one of the dining halls with Coach Shaw and Coach Sanford and Mike (Eubanks).
“We just hung out for a while and after that we went and just toured around. I saw the facilities and met with [offensive line coach Mike] Bloomgren for a while and then we just kind of toured campus. We went to lunch and talked to the academic people and just got to see more of Stanford. Then, we went to practice and watched practice.”
After practice concluded, Shuler spent a few minutes with Stanford freshman tight end Davis Dudchock. In an interesting twist, Dudchock and Shuler’s fathers once roomed together as football players at Auburn, and so the younger Dudchock and Shuler caught up together after practice.
Some of the more revealing parts of the visit for Shuler were the individual meetings he had with Bloomgren and newly-hired tight ends/offensive tackles coach Ron Crook.
Shuler discussed his impressions of each of the coaches.
Bloomgren: “He’s an awesome guy, and I really like his coaching style. He’s definitely professional about it, he doesn’t play around, he expects you to do what you’re supposed to do. I got to see a lot of that at practice and see how he handles his guys. We talked a lot, just kind of about how I would fit in to what they’re looking for.”
Crook: “I spent a lot of time talking to him because they don’t really know if they’re going to play me at tackle or guard or center and one of the things they love about me is they know I can play all five positions. It adds another piece of diversity to my rap sheet.”
All in all, while the visit didn’t contain many surprises, it met Shuler’s lofty expectations.
“I had pretty high expectations of what Stanford was when I came out here and I felt like they were met,” Shuler said. “I was pretty impressed with the stadium size, I didn’t expect it to be as big as it was, but other than that, everything was pretty much what I had expected, so I was impressed.”
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Although Stanford is one of Shuler’s top schools, the Cardinal is far from alone in its pursuit of the versatile lineman.
Shuler claims nine offers, and interest from a host of other programs that may be close to pulling the trigger.
“I’ve got Virginia Tech and Auburn and Notre Dame and Georgia and some other schools that are very interested and told me they’re close to offering,” Shuler said. “We’ll just see how things progress with them.”
Shuler has been active in the past few months, visiting as many prospective college destinations as possible.
“[I’ve visited] Auburn, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Duke, and Wake Forest,” Shuler said. “I’m taking a ton of visits, but I’m starting to really slow it down, get serious about the schools that I’m really interested in. I have spring practice coming up and we’re in full swing with my track season and all of that, so I’m really just trying to focus on getting ready for this upcoming football season and taking care of business right now.”
Specifically, Shuler said he is starting focus on the schools that have tendered him scholarships.
“At this point I’m trying to get really serious about the schools that have offered me,” he said.
To that point, Shuler is still eyeing the possibility of making an early decision, as he indicated to The Bootleg in an earlier interview.
“I don’t have a specific date in mind, maybe June 32 [laughing],” Shuler said. “I’m trying to figure everything out. I’m not going to rush anything. I want to make sure that I’m ready and that my family’s ready and that I’m confident about it and know where I’m supposed to be. I’m not going to rush anything, but at the same time an early decision would definitely be ideal for me. Hopefully we can make that work, but I’m not going to force anything.”
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