There is no question that there has been the heaviest attention and
excitement in this 2004 recruiting class on the offensive line, where Stanford
is still working frantically to undo the damage left by the previous coaching
staff. After Kirk Chambers and Mike Sullivan graduate this year, there
will be no offensive tackles more senior than the green 2002 recruiting class,
and just one interior lineman older than this fall's redshirt freshmen.
Though this Cardinal recruiting year may only allow for a class of 12-16
scholarships, I would not be surprised to see five of them go to top offensive
Stanford also made headlines in its last recruiting haul with two-sport
athletes, including three Student Sports Grid-Hoop All Americans.
Basketball was the second sport of choice for the 2003 class, but baseball has
historically been the calling for Stanford's two-field athletes of greatest
fame. Darin Naatjes played both just recently on The Farm before being
snatched up by the Philadelphia Phillies, and Joe Borchard grabbed nationwide
acclaim in both sports before his jump to the Chicago White Sox and a rapid
ascension through the ranks. Quarterback/pitcher Chad Hutchinson is just
26 years old but has already played professionally in both Major League Baseball
and the National Football League. And the list goes on.
But it took even me by surprise that these two pervasive themes would
converge in the form of a single recruit in this 2004 class. Geoff Schwartz of Pacific Palisades (CA) is truly a unique specimen, standing at
6'7" and 300 pounds and squarely in the crosshairs for both Buddy Teevens
and Mark Marquess this summer. This offensive tackle has garnered a
handful of offers already in football, but is also a highly intriguing baseball
prospect as a pitcher. Spend a few minutes picturing those two positions
at the Stanford level in the form of one rising high school senior.
On the gridiron, Schwartz played offensive tackle, tight end, defensive
tackle and long snapper for Palisades, with his best talents on the
O-line. "We started the year in a two-tight end formation, where I
was more of a blocking tight end," he explains. "But that offense
didn't work too well. So the last five games of the season we put in a new
offense, with more power-I formations. I played left tackle and played my
best football. Tight end is a lot of fun, too. College coaches say
that I move well, and they like my pad level and leverage. I get to blocks
easily and pass block the best right now."
On defense he recorded 30 tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles, two
recovered fumbles and two pass deflections. But schools are looking at
Schwartz almost exclusively on the other side of the ball. "Defense
is fun, going after the quarterback, but I don't think that's very realistic for
me in college," he offers.
Offensive tackle certainly is more than a realistic shot for Schwartz,
though, already with three Pac-10 full offers in hand. The Arizona
Wildcats were the first to jump on board, followed by Stanford earlier this
month at their Junior Day and then just this week by UCLA after a one-day camp
at Westwood. He is hearing from several more schools, though, including
USC, Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame, Colorado and Nebraska. He names his current
favorites as Stanford, Arizona, UCLA, USC, Oregon and Cal. There is no
coincidence that his top schools share a geographic bond.
"I wouldn't mind going away," Schwartz opines. "But I
really like the the West Coast."
Arizona was the first school to really hit the Palisades product hard,
starting with their phone conversations in May. And though the Cats were
the first to offer, Schwartz was already talking personally with Karl Dorrell at
UCLA and Mike Bellotti at Oregon. When he made the trek up I-5 to visit
Stanford a couple weeks ago for their Junior Day, he also had good face time
with Cardinal head man Buddy Teevens. "Coach Teevens pulled me aside
at Junior Day and we talked for 15 to 20 minutes," he tells. "We
talked about academics, how he liked my tape and Stanford overall. We
talked baseball, too, and how he supports guys playing two sports."
This was not the first time Schwartz had spent time on The Farm, though; he traveled
to their football camp last summer. "I liked the staff a lot,"
he comments. "The new facilities are really nice and the campus is of
course great. I also really like their coaching philosophy. Stanford
was already in my top five before, but this offer bumped them up a little
Most recently the jumbo athlete finished a day of camp at UCLA and was
favorably impacted by the experience. "I really liked the coaching
staff and especially the
offense line coach, Coach Weber. I liked the coaching staff's attitude
toward getting better and working hard. I did very well on the pass rush
one-on-one drills. It was a helmet and shoulder pad camp so it was much
easier to block the defenders," Schwartz details. "I have always
been a huge Bruin fan since I live in LA, and my parents are from UCLA. I
was very excited about the offer."
As noted above, the 6'7" recruit has a diffuse list of favorite schools
but would like to narrow them down to a top three or five soon. He says
that the seminal event and issue will actually come on the baseball diamond in
the next couple weeks.
Schwartz is regarded highly as a pitcher in Southern California and is aiming
for a spot at the elite Area Code Games this summer. He went 10-2 this
recently concluded junior season, with a 1.50 ERA on 63 1/3 innings. He
threw 73 strikeouts versus just 27 walks and allowed only a .200 opposing
batting average. He started ten games and threw in some capacity in almost
every league game for Palisades Charter, including four saves. He throws a
mean fastball, a good curve and uses the change-up. Schwartz is good at
getting ground outs throughout his performances.
From July 2 to 6 he will be at Stanford's baseball camp, and he is looking
forward to the Cardinal coaches' assessment of him there. That will
educate him as to just how strong his baseball prospects may be to play at the
Pac-10 level. "It'll tell me about my future and whether I can do
both sports," he says.
Schwartz and Teevens have already talked about that two-sport future,
though. "He says playing baseball is OK with them as long as it
doesn't interfere with football, since that pays the scholarship," he
relays. "And it's important to not miss spring football."
The good news is that pitching carries less demands during those spring
conflicts, given that you don't throw throughout the week. Position
players by contrast have more regular demands in the field and at the
plate. But one thing working against Schwartz in this pursuit is the clash
of conditioning styles that come between an offensive lineman and a pitcher.
His baseball coaches have discouraged him from much weight lifting, which
tightens up his shoulder. At the same time he says that his greatest area
where he can improve on the football field would be strength, given how little
he has lifted thus far in his career. That clash will only be magnified at
the college level, where the demands and specificity of each sport will
intensify. Some small encouragement is that a new baseball coach has taken
over at Palisades Charter and is installing a new weight regimen. "We
didn't really have any lifting before, so this is a new philosophy for us,"
he explains. "I'm trying to find a medium between baseball and
football right now."
Oh, and for good measure, add basketball to his activities list.
Schwartz will be hooping it up on the AAU circuit this summer in addition to his
baseball summer league and camps. Look for him to play with Total Impact
and travel to the biggest summer event in the country - the Adidas Big Time in
Las Vegas in late July.
As strong as his athletic abilities and diversity, Geoffrey Schwartz is also
a standout student. He carries what he says is an unweighted 3.3/3.4 in
the classroom, which is a strong core GPA ignoring honors points. He
already nailed a 27 on the ACT and took the test a second time earlier this
month, shooting for a 30. Schwartz has the Stanford admissions application
in hand and is diving in. "I want it done ASAP," he plainly
Co-defensive coordinator Tom Williams is the lead recruiter for this talented
athlete, and we all remember how strongly Williams closed for the Cardinal last
year with dramatic finishes in the recruitment of both Mark Bradford and Michael Okwo. Schwartz says that he is high on Stanford because of the
"coaching staff, power of the degree and the location."
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Stanford has made a name with football/baseball dual-sport talents, with success as a collegian and then more in the professional ranks. But even more unique than these rare athletes is a young man who can play on the offensive line on the turf and then dominate on the diamond. Geoff Schwartz is pushing to do just that in the Pac-10, and Stanford is at the center of his recruiting process...