Stanford Football: Oklahoma Sooners

Top position classes: TEs 

February, 13, 2014
2/13/14
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and Big 12)
Oklahoma addressed many needs with its top-15 recruiting class, and that certainly includes the tight end position. Coach Bob Stoops and his staff signed a trio of tight ends, including ESPN 300s No. 277 Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union) and No. 295 Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain), as well as three-star junior college prospect Isaac Ijalana (Mount Holly, N.J./Pierce College). All three players have terrific size of at least 6-foot-5, and Meier and Andrews possess the frame to add mass and strength. Meier has good initial burst and above-average ball skills, while Andrews has excellent hand-eye coordination and the ability to beat linebackers and safeties with regularity.

The Sooners had the nation’s best tight end class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

1. The NFL and NFLPA standing firm on not taking players until they are three years out of high school has been good for college football. But the record 95 players who declared themselves eligible for this year's NFL draft should give anyone pause. That’s 22 more than the record set last year. Not all of them are ready, and their departure will diminish college football. The bottom line is that adults have the right to make a bad decision. But look for coaches and the NFL to redouble their efforts to provide the info to keep early-entry candidates from coming out before they should.

2. In its season wrapup, Oklahoma displayed a long list of improvements the Sooners made from 2012 to 2013. The ones that struck me: Oklahoma rushed for 62.5 more yards per game and gave up 55.4 fewer rushing yards per game than it had the previous season. That total of nearly 118 yards per game speaks directly to the Sooners’ play at the line of scrimmage, where Bob Stoops hired a new O-line coach (Bill Bedenbaugh) and D-line coach (Jerry Montgomery) a year ago. The results are plain to see.

3. Fred Hargadon, the admissions director at Stanford from 1969-84, died Wednesday. Hargadon had a wonderful sense of humor. In 2006, he told the story of fending off former Stanford coach John Ralston. “I said, ‘I’m really sorry, John. There’s no way we can take this guy,’” Hargadon said. “He said, ‘Well, OK. We’re going to see him in our backfield one way or another next year. Either playing for us or running through us.’ And sure enough, he went to ... Southern California, and came up here and ran for 200-something yards.”

3-point stance: Don't underestimate OU

December, 8, 2013
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1. The rise of Auburn to the VIZIO BCS National Championship game has focused on the improbability of the Tigers’ last-play victories against Georgia and Alabama. But let’s not forget that Auburn went 3-9 last season, including 0-8 in the SEC. In fact, only one other team in the 16 years of the BCS rebounded from a worse record. Illinois went 2-10 in 2006 and played in the Rose Bowl the following season. But the Illini did win a Big Ten game in ’06, and they didn’t win the Big Ten in ’07. Ohio State won it and played for the crystal football.

2. Oklahoma lost to Texas by 16 points and to Baylor by 29, at which point the Sooners got written off. Oklahoma had played in only one BCS bowl in the past four seasons, it had a 7-2 record after losing to the Bears, and gee, hadn’t Bob Stoops slipped a bit? The Sooners then won three straight, scored two touchdowns in the final :19 to upset No. 6 Oklahoma State, 33-24 and appear headed for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. That’s Stoops’ ninth BCS game, a record that will forever be his, and in his 15 seasons, the Sooners have had 12 10-win seasons. The Sooners aren’t back. They never left.

3. A year ago, Tyler Gaffney, minor-league outfielder, sat in the stands on Jan. 1 and watched his former Stanford teammates win the Rose Bowl. Gaffney decided to return to the Farm to play football, in part because he wanted to win a Rose Bowl, too. How often does such a dream become reality? It’s hard enough for the players who won to repeat. Gaffney made sure it happened. He won the Pac-12 championship game MVP with 133 yards and three scores in the Cards’ 38-14 rout of Arizona State. Gaffney finished the season with 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns -- and an invitation to play in Pasadena.

Cornell, No. 1 in 2015 class, narrows list 

November, 20, 2013
11/20/13
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Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin Derham-Hall), the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2015, has narrowed his top list. After much deliberation, Cornell has cut the list of schools in the running down to 15.

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3-point stance: BCS shakeout begins

November, 8, 2013
11/08/13
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1. For two months, Baylor's point-a-minute-plus offense begged the question of quality of opponent. November arrived, and the Bears answered that question with authority. The 41-12 defeat of No. 10 Oklahoma should allow Baylor to slip into Oregon's chair in the BCS debate. The Sooners, meanwhile, have a question to answer. Where are they going to find a quarterback?

2. In preparing for Oregon, Stanford head coach David Shaw watched the Cardinal's last five games against them. The lack of turnover in their coaching staff makes it worth his time, Shaw said. "Just looking at things that they changed, things that we changed, things that maybe worked before, or things that didn't work before that we don't need to try again," Shaw said. Anyone else that Shaw delves that deep into history? "For nobody except these guys."

3. The convincing nature of No. 6 Baylor's victory, and that undefeated record, makes it conceivable the Bears will leapfrog the No. 5 Cardinal in the BCS ratings Sunday. Stanford solidified its position as the top one-loss team. And, of course No. 2 Florida State and No. 4 Ohio State will benefit from the Ducks' loss. The BCS race is only starting to get interesting. All the handwringing about a surplus of undefeated teams is a waste of energy. There are five Saturdays left.

Video: Flash vs. Tradition

November, 7, 2013
11/07/13
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Tom Luginbill and Gerry Hamilton discuss the changing landscape of recruiting over the last 25 years and they debate whether flashy style or tradition carries greater weight with prospects today.

Thursday Title Talk Live

November, 7, 2013
11/07/13
4:30
PM ET
Oregon-Stanford. Oklahoma-Baylor. Four top-10 teams. Conference and BCS implications galore.

It’s almost certainly the biggest non-Thanksgiving Thursday in college football regular-season history and we know many of you will be working the remote and following social media during this titanic night. Keep Thursday Title Talk Live open throughout the evening – starting at 7:30 p.m. ET -- and we’ll bring you real-time reaction and analysis from ESPN’s stable of reporters, analysts and experts.

Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



Sure, we’ll give this a try with QB’s in the current 2014 class with the categories below…

Arm strength: Georgia commit Jacob Park (Stratford/Goose Creek, S.C.). This was close, could have put Alabama commit David Cornwell (Norman North/Norman, Okla.) here as well. The ball jumps out of Park's arm with velocity, power and RPMs to drive the ball vertically and into tight spots.

Accuracy: Stanford commit Keller Chryst (Palo Alto/Palo Alto, Calif.). Chryst shows terrific ball placement and timing with the ability to change ball speeds and drop the ball in over coverage to small windows. His ability to anticipate allows him to throw to a spot before the receiver breaks.

Delivery: Purdue commit David Blough. Is is an uncoachable trait, in my opinion, and one that is highly coveted. Blough pops the ball out of his hand with a lightning quick stroke. It is tight, compact and smooth.

Running ability: Florida commit Will Grier. He is a true dual-threat only when needed. If asked to be an integral part of the running game, Grier can really hurt you with his legs and is not a guy you want to let out of the pocket.

Mental toughness: Chryst. This is where his aptitude and upbringing (his uncle is Pitt coach Paul Chryst) come into play. Chryst is mature and capable of handling the ups and downs of the position having grown up around the game in ways few prospects have.

Competitiveness: LSU commit Brandon Harris. This was close; Texas A&M pledge Kyle Allen also fits the bill. Harris wants to be great and is willing to do what it takes to make it happen. He had received limited exposure and offers in the spring, but proved himself on the camp and combine circuit.

Poise: Clemson commit Deshaun Watson. Calm, cool and collected. Watson has a quiet swagger and calming pocket presence that exudes confidence and control. He weathers the peaks and valleys of the game with an even keel.

Instincts: Oklahoma commit Justice Hansen. Hansen and Grier could swap categories here. Hansen is just one of those guys that knows when to pull the trigger and is at his best when improvising and on the move. He has a sixth sense about where pressure is coming from, can evade defenders and keep plays alive instinctively.

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David Shaw Talks Stanford Signing Day
Stanford coach David Shaw joins ESPN's Matt Schick to discuss the Cardinal's 2015 recruiting class and its top positional needs heading into the spring.
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