Stanford is just one of those schools that seems to do more with less than a lot of schools. Head coach David Shaw, since taking over the program from Jim Harbaugh, has kept the program going.
Shaw was named as Harbaugh’s replacement when he took the San Francisco 49ers before the 2011 season.
It was a smooth transition with Stanford posting an 11-2 record in 2011 and then a 12-2 mark in 2012. Of course, when you have a franchise Quarterback like Andrew Luck it really helps to win football games.
The 2013 season was another good one with the Cardinal winning 11 games against 3 losses.
The 2014 season was Shaw’s worst with Stanford struggling to an 8-5 record and the Oregon Ducks finally winning the Pac 12 North. That was also the year that the Ducks made it to the national
Stanford wasn’t exactly up to par this past season in 2016. But, when you finish 10-3 and everyone is disappointed, you know you’ve earned a name as a program.
David Shaw is 64-17 as a head coach. Sure, you can make the claim that Jim Harbaugh built the program. But, his players have been gone for years and Shaw has continued the tradition.
On the first Wednesday of February 2017, Stanford signed a class that should ensure that quality football remains at Stanford.
ESPN has Graham, Washington’s Offensive Tackle Foster Sarell as Stanford’s top recruit. At 6-7, 310 and a 5 star recruit, Sarell was a huge recruiting win for the Cardinal and a huge loss for the defending Pac 12 champion Washington Huskies. ESPN has Sarell rated as the 4th best Offensive Tackle prospect in the country, but he is every bit as good as the guys ranked higher. Stanford has very little depth up front and Sarell could come in and challenge for immediate playing time.
Stanford had a nice haul at Offensive Tackle with the additional signing of Walker Little of Houston, Texas. Little is not quite so little at 6-8, 305 and they have him rated as a 4 star and the 8th best Offensive Tackle prospect in the country. I don’t agree with that assessment because Little is a talent. He just eliminates defenders on the high school level and humiliates them driving them into the ground. Both Sarell and Little should push for playing time really early on. It will be interesting to see who plays first between them.
Tight End is a position that Stanford has come to be known by in recent years with Zach Ertz, Coby Fleener, Austin Hooper and Ryan Hewitt currently playing in the NFL. 4 star Colby Parkinson from Westlake Village, California and 3 star Tucker Fisk from Davis, California hope to add to those numbers. Parkinson is 6-7, 228 and runs really well. He also played Defensive End, but he looks more suited for Tight End.
Fisk is 6-4, 255 and may grow into an Offensive Lineman, or even a Defensive Lineman. He is athletic, but not as fleet footed as Parkinson.
From Georgia, the Cardinal landed an extremely gifted 4 star Quarterback prospect in Davis Mills. Quarterback was not exactly a solid position at Stanford last year with both Ryan Burns and Keller Chryst struggling most of the season to measure up to Kevin Hogan.
Mills is 6-4, 200 and an incredible prospect at Quarterback. He is tall, with more mobility than expected. With a really strong arm, he also has a nice touch on the ball. Mills and redshirt freshman KJ Costello should battle for superiority in the future.
Also on the Offensive side of the football is Wide Receiver Saiid Adebo, a 4 star from Mansfield, Texas. Adebo is the 9th rated Wide Receiver in the nation according to the guys at ESPN. Listed as 6-0, 180, Adebo is not a blue burner, but he’s got some speed and he is a smooth runner. He might be as good as a Defensive Back as he is a Wide Receiver.
Osiris St Brown of Santa Ana, California and the famous Mater Dei High School is the younger brother of Notre Dame super Wide Receiver Equanimeous St Brown. While Equanimeous is 6-6, 205, Osiris is considerably smaller at 6-1, 178, but in spite of lack of size the younger St Brown can come up with the big play and he’s very physical.
Osiris is the 31st rated Wide Receiver in the country and another 4 star.
The Cardinal and David Shaw still use a Fullback and they signed the top ranked guy in the country Sione Heimuli-Lund is listed at 6-1, 237 and supposedly he has 4.9 speed, but he ran for over 5,000 yards in high school. Will he be happy with a blocking role? He is efinitely big and physical and he could play Linebacker as well as Fullback if needed.
out of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Losing Christian McCaffrey to the NFL Draft should have made signing a top Running Back a priority, but they only signed 3 star Connor Wedington from Sumner, Washington. At 6-0, 190, Wedington is ranked 40th at Running Back. Like St Brown and Adebo, Wedington is not a burner but he is a smooth runner with good shiftiness and strength.
Wedington is also a pretty good snowboarder, they say.
Drew Dalman is an undersized Center at 6-3, 265, but the Salinas, California product is ranked 9th in the country at his position. He’s probably not rated very highly because of his size, or lack of it. But, Dalman is an athlete with great feet. He’s strong enough to play in the Offensive Line, but is quick enough to play Defensive End and be a good pass rusher. He plays Offensive Guard in high school, but projects as a Center. I project he will be an overachiever.
Stanford is not like Washington State and Oregon, they do love defense. But, they decided to focus on Offense this time around. Either that, or they just lost out on a bunch of Defensive kids.
They only signed 4 on that side of the football.
The 10th ranked Defensive Tackle prospect, Dalyn Wade-Perry from Sparta, New Jersey is a beast at 6-3, 335. Wade-Perry is never going to be a great pass rusher, but he’s an awesome prospect at Nose Guard. He should be able to eat up a running game and possibly draw double teams and take some heat off of the Linebackers. He’s quick for his size.
Four star Ryan Johnson from Mobile, Alabama is a great prospect at Defensive End. He is listed as
6-4, 250 and ranked the country’s 14th best Defensive Lineman. Johnson possesses great quickness off the edge and is great against the run and the pass. He’s a little undersized for the 3-4 right now, but gaining the pounds shouldn’t be much of a problem.
The Stanford class is not big with 14 signatures, but it is a quality class. It’s rounded out by three star defenders Linebacker Levani Damuni of Hyrum, Utah and Safety Stuart Head of Woodstock, Georgia. Damuni is 6-0, 220 and Head is 6-3, 175.
Damuni is extremely athletic and plays Outside Linebacker on Defense and Running Back, Fullback, Tight End and Wide Receiver on the other side of the ball. I think he’s underrated.
Head is the kind of guy that a coach like David Shaw takes and molds into a champion. He’s an outstanding athlete, just not very well known and he makes plays all over the field on both sides of the football.
This recruiting class won’t make you think of Nick Saban and Alabama, but these kids go to class and they have difficult majors.
These guys will almost definitely keep the Stanford program going in the right direction. They could have used a few more play makers on Offense, in my opinion, but this is a very good class.