Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Stanford's recruiting momentum on a roll
By Erik McKinney
Stanford head coach David Shaw announced Mike Bloomgren as the Cardinal's offensive line coach and running game coordinator in late February 2011. Nearly one year later, two more significant announcements involving Bloomgren would rock the Cardinal coaching offices -- perhaps literally.
On signing day 2012, Stanford landed pledges from offensive tackles Andrus Peat and Kyle Murphy -- the Nos. 2 and 4 players at their position, and top 30 players in the country. The commitments gave Stanford three ESPN 150 (the ESPN 300 began the following year) prospects and a haul of offensive linemen in the class that included two three-stars, four four-stars and one five-star.
"It was a great celebration in the staff room," Bloomgren told ESPN.com's Kyle Bonagura of the signing day commitments. "You know how you see those signing day cameras? If they would have had one on us, it would have been good TV."
From a recruiting standpoint, it seems everything the Cardinal have done along the offensive line since that 2012 class has been good TV. After taking a much smaller class in 2013, Stanford was back at it with the 2014 class, signing three four-star offensive tackles -- including two ESPN 300 prospects. In 2015, Stanford holds commitments from ESPN 300 offensive guard Nick Wilson and ESPN 300 center Brian Chaffin, and the strong recruiting run along the line doesn't show signs of slowing anytime soon, as the Cardinal are able to reach into any part of the country and grab the attention of any offensive lineman.
"I think they're the hottest O-line recruiting team in the country right now," Chaffin said. "They're pulling in the best of the best in college football. Getting an offer from them validates your recruitment as an offensive lineman. It's a huge honor."
There are no secrets when it comes to Stanford's success with linemen on the recruiting trail. In fact, their recruiting method mirrors their playing style -- no-nonsense and brutally straightforward.
"They didn't send me a bunch of flash," Chaffin said of his recruitment. "They were just genuine. This is who we are. If you like it, you're going to do great here. It was pretty vanilla and straightforward. That meant a lot to me."
Wilson said he's tuned into Stanford games ever since the Cardinal began showing interest.
"They're very tough and play downhill for the most part," Wilson said. "That definitely attracted me to the school, that the offensive line is a big contributor to the offense."
Bloomgren said there isn't any one aspect they look for when searching the country for offensive linemen -- only that he has to be a "physical guy that wants to finish plays. Then he's got to have measurables and he's got to have the ability to bend."
But arguably the biggest selling point for Stanford right now is also something offensive line prospects can see every time they turn on a Cardinal game, and every time the stadium shakes due to how many offensive linemen are running off the sideline toward the huddle.
"We're going to keep selling the fact that we are a pretty good offensive line and we can put people in the NFL," Bloomgren said. "And also, the other thing we sell is that we play six, seven, eight, nine [offensive linemen] at the same time. Not in one game, on the same play, and nobody else in the nation can say that."