"We Walk!": #4 RB
At an age
when most young kids are too busy watching Saturday morning cartoons to tune
into college football games, Andrew Stutz had already decided for which college
team he wanted to play.
When Stutz was just
seven-years-old he remembers watching a Stanford football game with his dad,
Tom. To this day Stutz isn’t sure why, but midway through the game he made an
“I don’t know what it was but I
looked at my dad and told him that, ‘I want to go to Stanford and I want to
play football for Stanford’ ” Stutz said.
As Stutz grew older and learned
more about what Stanford had to offer, his interest in playing for the Cardinal
“As I was getting older I learned
about how prestigious the school was and kind of what it took to get there
academically,” Stutz said. “Then I started playing football and just really
wanted to play at Stanford.”
Stutz didn’t start playing
organized football until seventh grade when he participated in a National Youth
Sports spring league consisting of eight-player teams. While he enjoyed the
experience and wanted to play again in eighth grade, Stutz grew too big for the
league, and was forced to wait until the freshman year of high school to
It was as a freshman at Notre Dame Prep that Stutz first realized what kind of potential he had as a runner.
Because of his size Stutz started out the year as a fullback, but scored so many
touchdowns and gained so many yards that he was moved up to varsity to play
running back as a sophomore.
Sophomore year was also when
Stutz first started to get attention from colleges. Stutz filled out more
several college recruiting profiles and started to exchange emails with a
handful of college coaches.
“At the beginning of my sophomore
year I started emailing and getting letters from schools,” Stutz said. “Any
school you can imagine [sent me letters.] Ivy League schools, Division-I
schools, Division-II schools, and Division-III schools all showed interest.”
In Stutz’s junior year, Notre
Dame Prep had one of the most talented rosters in the entire state of
quarterback Sean Renfree
managed an efficient passing attack and Stutz and (one-time Stanford target and
now University of
) running back
Patrick Foley led a powerful running game.
The only downside to being on a
team that talented was that Stutz didn’t get the amount of carries he would have
on a less talented team. As a result, he felt that his abilities were often
overlooked by college recruiters.
“At the end of my junior year I
really felt under-recruited,” Stutz said. “We had a really strong pass game with
Sean Renfree and I think Patrick and I only had like 300 yards rushing each. We
were both really talented though and our coaches knew that, but we just had such
a great quarterback.”
And even though Renfree moved
onto Duke after Stutz’s junior year, Stutz still had to share carries with
Foley. As a result, Stutz wasn’t able to put up the kind of production expected
of a BCS-caliber recruit.
But five weeks into Notre Dame
Prep’s season that all changed. Foley was forced to miss three games with an
injury, leaving Stutz with the bulk of the carries. Stutz finally had an
opportunity to show colleges what he could do.
“When he got hurt my coach pulled
me aside and told me that, ‘This is your time. I know you’ve been
under-recruited but this is your chance you need to take this opportunity,’”
Stutz said. “I just remember going out and I became the premier back and I got
so much more visibility, so much more film, definitely more phone calls.”
One of the
schools that started to show more attention in Stutz around that time was
Stanford. Coach Lance Anderson and Stutz started to exchange emails more
of Stanford coaches flew down to Arizona to watch Notre Dame Prep play in the
when we played our state game against Santa Rita in the beginning of December
Coach Anderson and Coach Shaw came out and watched the game,” Foley said. “They
came looking at Patrick Foley, me, and another player, but Patrick actually got
hurt that game again so and I ended up getting
most of the carries. I ended up winning the MVP award in that game.
Still there were several barriers
that Stutz had to overcome to secure a spot in the 2009 recruiting class. Like
all Cardinal targets, Stutz first had to pass through Stanford’s admission
would say the application process was really stressful,” Stutz said. “I was
really glad that they accepted the common application at Stanford which I had
filled out for Brown and some of the other Ivy Leagues schools, so I already
that part done. Still, I reviewed it a lot more before I turned it into
Stanford. Also they had a supplement with it which is another part of the
application process and I really spent a lot of time on that.
In the end, all that hard work
paid off for Stutz. On January 29, he received word that he had in fact gained
admission to his dream school.
“I remember where I was when I
got the news,” Stutz said. “I was in my football locker room and Coach Anderson
texted me and said to give him a call after school. I was just walking outside
and as soon as I got a hold of him he said, ‘Congratulations, you’re part of the
2013 Stanford class, welcome to Stanford! Only seven percent were accepted this
year and you’re one of them!’
“After I got off the phone with
him I screamed as loud as I could and was really excited and ran and told my
football coach and my counselor. My principal actually pulled me aside the next
day and took me out of class and congratulated me because I was the first person
from my high school to get admitted there. Then I ended up telling my parents
and my mom cried and it was just really exciting.”
But even after passing through
admissions, Stutz wasn’t quite ready to commit to Stanford. Over the past few
months he had picked up offers from Harvard, Yale, Penn, Brown, USD, and
Northern Colorado, and he needed a few days to
decide between his two finalists of Brown and Stanford.
“I would say I was still
considering Brown primarily because of my playing time,” Stutz said. “I really
wanted to go to Stanford more than Brown, but I didn’t want to be that walk-on
who gets thrown around and doesn’t get much playing time so I felt that I really
had to think it through. So I thought it through for a week and it was really
back and forth. Like I really wanted to come to Stanford and that was really my
choice, but I was thinking about the football part of it too.”
typed up a list of questions for Stanford, I called my position coach,
Coach Taggart, and we had a no-BS conversation. I definitely wanted to get a
feel for whether I was going to get reps, get a chance, and get treated
like all of the other players.
“He told me that
if you’re questioning or you’re afraid of not getting playing time, not to come.
That’s what his response was. So we were kind of shocked by that.”
At the same time, Coach Taggart
emphasized to Stutz that if he was willing to put in the work on the practice
field and on special teams, he would have a good chance at seeing the field.
“Coach Taggart really, really
preached about special teams and getting to be a head-hunter and running down
and making yourself stand out,” Stutz said. “I’m the kind of guy that really has
a good work ethic. I just keep working and working and I know once I get here I
can be on the same level as these guys. I just know I’ll outwork
After talking with Coach Taggart, it didn’t take
Stutz long to come to a decision. On February 4, Stutz picked up the phone and
called Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and let him know that he wanted to come to Stanford and be a Cardinal.
“In the end what I really felt in
my gut was that I didn’t want to be the guy 30 or 40 years from now talking to
their children saying I could have gone to Stanford and played
Division-I [FBS] football, but I didn’t think I could do it so I went
to an Ivy League school,” Stutz said.
If Stutz is able to make an
impact as a running back in the Pac-10, it will be because of his downhill
running style and ability to take punishment.
“My strength is definitely my
work ethic,” Stutz said. “On the field I have really good vision and I’m a
really hard-nosed runner. I run downhill all the time and I don’t care if I get
hit at the line - I’m definitely falling forward. Occasionally I’ll break some
tackles, but I’m just a really consistent player that can take a lot of
hits and a lot of carries. I’m tough and I’m quick and I can take a beating I
never stop, I’ll never come off the field because I’m tired. [Ed. -
Sounds a lot like "relentless" to us!]
Still, Stutz admits that in order
to get regular playing time as a running back he must improve his quickness,
cutting ability, and footwork.
“I think I need to work on a
little more footwork and making better cuts in some areas,” Stutz said. “I’m
probably going to be developing those abilities in the next four or five
To get a better picture of what
Stutz could bring to the table as a player at Stanford, The Bootleg asked
Scout.com’s Southwestern recruiting analyst Jason Jewell to
share his analysis of Stutz’s abilities.
“Stutz ended up having a great senior
year, helping his team win the 4-A2 state title, rushing for 1,000+ yards,”
Jewell said. “What he lacks in pure speed, he made up in toughness. Runs hard
and was tough to bring down in '08. Had Ivy League and I-AA [FCS] opportunities
but chose to walk-on at Stanford to try his hand at Pac-10 play. Probably will
not end up as a RB, but could play some LB. Is a kid that will give it his all
during scout team play his first few years on campus and should develop into a
special teams player after that.”
It’s safe to say, however, that
Stutz strongly disagreed with Jewell’s analysis that he likely wouldn’t be able
to stick at running back. When The Bootleg asked Stutz about a possible position
switch, it elicited a strong reaction.
“I don’t think that’s correct at
all,” Stutz said “I’m definitely a little undersized to play linebacker here and
I’m considered a running back. Primarily I’m going to be working as a running
back and doing some special teams as well.”
Having college coaches and
recruiting analysts doubt his ability is not a new concept for Stutz. Throughout
high school, Stutz failed to garner the attention from colleges he
thought his play warranted. But instead of letting that drag him down, Stutz
used the criticism as motivation to work even harder.
“My whole senior year I played
like I was under-recruited and just with that fire and ambition to show somebody
that I can do it,” Stutz said. “I finally got an opportunity when Patrick got
hurt. [And when I had that opportunity] I went from 300 yards and three
touchdowns in my junior year to like 1,700 yards and 23 touchdowns my senior
year. I trained a lot, but it was mostly opportunity and ambition - all I need
Stuzt certainly knew how to take advantage of
opportunity when it arose. In the three games after starter Foley was injured
alone, Stutz ran roughshod through the opposition's defenses for
536 yards and six touchdowns!
And with the start of fall camp
right around the corner, Stutz will soon have a chance to prove that he can in
fact be a quality
BCS player and
translate his game to the big-time. He arrived on Stanford’s campus this
past Thursday and has spent the last couple of days getting used to his new
“I got here a night ago and it
was really weird,” Stutz said. “I just showed up with two suitcases of just
clothes and my laptop. I felt like I was leaving a lot behind but when I got
here I was just really excited – everything’s new. Your whole lifestyle is new.
Even these past few days I’ve had a totally different schedule. I just got my
dorm assignment today and am trying to figure out where that is and I’m going to
buy a bike soon.
“It’s just really different,
especially talking to the coaches as a player - like you’re actually part
of the team. I went into the locker room and seeing my locker with my name and
my plaque and getting my number (#29) was just really, really exciting. I kind
of don’t know what to expect the first day of camp here, and am really kind of
nervous but excited at the same time.”
While much of Stutz’s focus is
understandably on football, he has also taken some time to think about what life
will be like once his football career is over. At Stanford he would like to
major in a business field with the hope of one day having a career as a
financial advisor or in marketing.
“I was thinking of maybe being a
financial advisor for professional athletes because I will have been an athlete
and I will be able to relate to athletes because I kind of know how
they think,” Stutz said. I could help make sure that they spend their money
properly. If I don’t do that then maybe I could work in the marketing world,
maybe on Wall Street. I visited Wall Street and the stock exchange on a high
school investment club trade [and enjoyed my time there].”
Regardless of what line of work
Stutz ends up in, it seems certain that he will continue his involvement in
community service. In high school he racked up more than 210 hours of community
service doing things like picking fruit for the elderly, ushering at church
services, and spending a week in
helping out at an orphanage.
But naturally, Stutz’s favorite service activity had to do with football.
“My favorite was Special Olympics
because it dealt with sports,” Stutz said. My friend Shane Wolfe, who was our
quarterback last year, started Special Olympics flag football and I was kind of
with him, helping him out with that. For a while I really hated going out and
doing community service because I hated hearing kids complain, but when we
started Special Olympics flag football it was just really fun playing with the
And Stutz doesn’t plan on
stopping his community involvement any time soon. He said that as soon as he
gets acclimated to his new surroundings at Stanford, he will pursue church and
other service opportunities.
Stutz completed his high school
education with a sparkling 3.98 unweighted cumulative GPA and a score of 26
on the ACT. He is currently 6’0', weighs 205 pounds, and has been clocked as fast
as 4.69 seconds in the forty-yard dash.