Mickey Mouse gives David Shaw a high five
Solomon Thomas and Terrence Alexander have signed with Stanford, thus ensuring that the Cardinal's 2014 recruiting haul will be an excellent one. There are still some loose ends to tie up, but make not mistake: David Shaw's program has flexed its muscles once again.
At 5 a.m. Pacific time, before the sun had even risen in his
hometown of Coppell, Texas, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas reached
for a mini tree and nerd glasses on national television. Stanford
was the five-star recruit's decision.
Two and a half hours later, just the sun had peaked through
all the way out in California, heralded cornerback Terrence Alexander also positioned himself in front of the ESPN camera on
national TV. He, too, made a pledge to Stanford -- the one that put
a gigantic exclamation mark on the success of this 2014 recruiting
Months of speculation are over regarding these two highly touted
players. Decisions from Uriah Leiataua (BYU) and preferred walk-on prospect Louis Vecchio (Penn) did not go Stanford's way, and there's still business to tidy up regarding some other walk-on prospects, but this much is now
certain: David Shaw and his staff have cashed in on the recruiting
trail yet again. The Cardinal signed 20 players on this Signing Day, covering every single offensive and defensive
position except wide receiver. After a quiet 2013 recruiting cycle (the Cardinal simply didn't have enough roster room last year to sign a big class), Shaw has inked another impressive Top 25 haul.
There's brawn up front: five-star Casey Tucker, Reilly Gibbons,
Jesse Burkett, and Austin Hall comprise an enviable offensive line
There's explosive speed: running backs Christian McCaffrey and
Isaiah Brandt-Sims sizzle on tape and should plug in as playmakers
in space in the near future.
There's a stud at the quarterback position: The Cardinal didn't have
to go far for Keller Chryst, who has put together some of the most
impressive high school film in the nation at Palo Alto School.
Stanford fans can certainly envision a future in which Chryst throws regularly to tight end Dalton Schultz, considered by many to be the top prospect in the nation at his position. Aside from comparing Schultz's route-running skills to those of Coby Fleener and Zach Ertz, Shaw lauded the incomer's blocking abilities on Wednesday.
There's also a bowling ball-like throwback at fullback: Orange
County product Daniel Marx barrels over defenders in his highlights,
and its apparent Stanford is looking for him to be its next
contributor in the mold of Owen Marecic and Ryan Hewitt.
Defensively, the Farm Boys have netted Thomas and high motor
sensation Harrison Phillips, perhaps the most vocal member of the
class, to fortify the future of a line that has lost Ben Gardner and
The incoming linebacker corps of Bobby Okereke, Joey Alfieri, Jordan Perez, and Lane Veach provides perhaps the most sizzle of any
position group on film. The first three players electrify with
explosiveness on film, while the 6-6, 225-pound Veach brings
measurables and style reminiscent of a young Trent Murphy.
The defensive backfield is also stocked with depth: Safety Brandon Simmons will team with cornerbacks Alexander, Alijah Holder, Alameen Murphy, and Denzel Franklin to refuel the unit with a healthy
combination of speed and physicality.
With the recruiting cycle coming to a close, focus will now turn to
player development, where Stanford's coaching staff has been
excellent in the Harbaugh-Shaw era, thanks in large part to the
efforts of sports performance director Shannon Turley. Just how good
this class becomes will be dependent on its performance within the
Cardinal's established system. Recent success, though, suggests that
the smart money should go with Stanford's continued success: Shaw has
proven he can successfully oversee excellent recruiting and player
development programs on The Farm. Another chapter in those efforts was completed today.
Stanford will spend the remainder of this month tidying up final details on the preferred walk-on front, from which a handful of talented players have a strong chance to be significant contributors on The Farm. Premiere long-snapper CJ Keller has officially committed to the school, as has kicker Hayden Lekacz. The latter talent, though, is still waiting on final word from the university's admissions office.
Meanwhile, speedy Idaho wide receiver Addison Johnson wants to walk on at Stanford. He expects to hear back from the admissions office within the next few weeks.
Order of Stanford Signing Day Faxes
1st: Jesse Burkett - 4:03 a.m.
2nd: Reilly Gibbons - 4:24 a.m.
3rd: Alameen Murphy - 4:34 a.m.
4th: Denzel Franklin - 4:51 a.m.
5th: Brandon Simmons - 5:05 a.m.
6th: Harrison Phillips - 5:15 a.m.
7th: Solomon Thomas - 5:37 a.m.
8th: Dalton Schultz - 6:19 a.m.
9th: Christian McCaffrey - 6:20 a.m.
10th: Casey Tucker - 6:26 a.m.
11th: Lane Veach - 6:49 a.m.
12th: Daniel Marx - 7:01 a.m.
13th: Jordan Perez - 7:06 a.m.
14th: Isaiah Brandt-Sims - 7:09 a.m.
15th: Joey Alfieri - 7:14 a.m.
16th: Alijah Holder - 7:16 a.m.
17th: Bobby Okereke - 7:38 a.m.
18th: Keller Chryst - 8:40 a.m.
19th: Austin Hall - 8:48 a.m.
20th: Terrence Alexander - 8:56 a.m.
David Lombardi is the Stanford
Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com
and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
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