Stanford Football: Dalton Schultz

Top position classes: TEs 

February, 13, 2014
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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:


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Today the countdown of Stanford's Top 5 position groups with room to improve begins.

One position group will be highlighted each day this week.

[+] EnlargeTy Montgomery
AP Photo/Tony AvelarTy Montgomery was an explosive player for Stanford, but the Cardinal need more production from other wide receivers and tight ends.
No. 5: Wide receiver

Must replace: None.

Returning starters: Ty Montgomery, Devon Cajuste

Players to watch: Michael Rector, Kodi Whitfield, Jordan Pratt, Francis Owusu, TE Dalton Schultz

Outlook: If Stanford is going to remain atop the Pac-12, its group of receivers will likely need to play a bigger role next season. Outside of Montgomery (61 catches), only Cajuste (28) had more than 16 catches for the Cardinal a year ago. That number figures to rise as the group of pass catchers becomes the most experienced position group on the team. Montgomery has a chance to become of the nation's best receivers and Cajuste, when healthy, proved to be a reliable option in the intermediate passing game. Aside from those two, the Cardinal have several intriguing prospects. Rector proved to be the team's most dangerous deep threat as a redshirt freshman in 2013, catching 14 passes for 431 yards -- an average of 30.8 yards per reception. The offseason will be important for his development as the staff tries to mold him into a more balanced player -- when he was on the field last year, it was pretty much just to run deep routes. Whitfield was used more on underneath routes, but this touchdown catch was easily Stanford's play of the year. Freshman Schultz has a chance to fill the void left by the departure of tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo following the 2012 season. He was the No. 1-ranked tight end in the country this year.
STANFORD, Calif. -- Stanford coach David Shaw knew for two days that four-star defensive end Solomon Thomas would give a pledge to Stanford on ESPNU to open national signing day coverage.

He didn't know Thomas, the No. 4-ranked defensive end in the country, would do it by pulling a tree out from under a table and then conduct the rest of the interview in nerd glasses. It was a pleasant surprise and a fitting start to a day in which the Cardinal signed the country's No. 15 class, which ranked only behind USC in the Pac-12.

"The fact that nerd is not necessarily a negative word anymore," Shaw said. "It says a lot about our kids that are bright, that our kids are smart. Our kids want to accomplish something also in the classroom and beyond Stanford and beyond football. It says a lot about who those guys are and what they want to accomplish."

[+] EnlargeSolomon Thomas
ESPNSolomon Thomas brought some style to his Stanford announcement.
In Thomas' opening statement there was no mention of spending the next three, four or five years on the Farm. Instead, he chose to focus on what Shaw and his staff have made a priority.

"I'll be playing college football and I'll be graduating from Stanford University," Thomas said.

Key word: graduating.

Of Stanford's 20 commits, seven were ranked in the ESPN 300 and 11 were given four-star grades. Quarterback Keller Chryst, offensive tackle Casey Tucker, tight end Dalton Schultz and Thomas were the headliners, while running back Christian McCaffrey, offensive tackle Reilly Gibbons and safety Brandon Simmons were also in the ESPN 300.

Shaw wouldn't specify which players had the best chances to earn early playing time, but Schultz, the nation's top-ranked tight end, figures to be the best bet. After sending four tight ends to the NFL over the previous three seasons, the Cardinal were largely without a tight end in the receiving game this past season.

“[Schultz] is a kid that all the recruiting services had as the No. 1 tight end in America,” offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren said. “When we evaluate kids and put them on our board, we are going to agree with them and sometimes we are not. In Dalton’s case, we absolutely did.”

Stanford's recruiting efforts took a big hit in late December when it was announced recruiting coordinator Mike Sanford would leave to become the offensive coordinator at Boise State following the Rose Bowl. A few weeks later, defensive coordinator Derek Mason took over at Vanderbilt and inside linebackers coach David Kotulski went with him to become the defensive coordinator.

"We talk about being a national recruiter," Shaw said. "Well, we felt it after those guys left because you're starting with 10 and you're busy then you have seven guys to canvas the nation. It was taxing.

"It was for the first time really in my career here at Stanford that I was gone for eight days straight. We all had to cover a lot of ground."

The class is made up of players from 12 states, with California (5), Arizona (3), Florida (2) and Texas (2) providing multiple players.

However, not everyone required a plane trip. In fact, in the case of Chryst, there was no need for a vehicle at all. The son of 49ers quarterback coach Geep Chryst literally has the arm strength to throw a football from his Palo Alto High campus to the Stanford campus, which are located across the street from each other.

Chryst's addition should make for an interesting competition down the line. Starter Kevin Hogan still has two years left of eligibility and Ryan Burns was one of the prizes of Stanford's recruiting class a year ago.

On Chryst's ability, Shaw said: "There are things you can teach playing the quarterback position and things you can't. You can't teach 6-4, 235 and athleticism that can throw the ball 70 yards. You just can't teach that stuff. You see a young man with ability and physical tools and toughness. Best thing for us is that we don't feel the need to rush his development."

Shaw said he had met the elder Chryst a few times while coaching in the NFL, but didn't develop a real relationship with him until the recruiting process began.

Bold predictions: Pac-12 

February, 4, 2014
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If the past several years are any indication, it's always fairly safe to expect something unexpected on signing day. From supposed locks signing elsewhere to supposed flips staying put, signing day wouldn't be signing day without the accompanying element of surprise.

With that being said, we look ahead to Wednesday and offer five predictions as to how the Pac-12 will fare.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: With Kenyon Frison's decision to decommit from Utah, it likely means three of the top five players in state are going end up at programs other than BYU or Utah; Nick Saban headed West Wednesday to visit the high schools of the top two quarterbacks in the 2015 class; and Washington filled a major hole in its recruiting class Wednesday by landing quarterback Kyle Carta-Samuels.


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Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

January, 22, 2014
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With just two weeks until signing day, this week's updated class rankings illustrate just how close the gap is between the top teams in the Pac-12. Arizona State again checks in at No. 1 in the conference and now sits at No. 17 in the nation. Behind the Sun Devils, five more Pac-12 teams are within 10 places, as Arizona is No. 20, USC is No. 22, Stanford is No. 23, Oregon is No. 24 and UCLA rounds out the Pac-12 entrants at No. 27.

Trending up: Stanford


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It won't register as one of 2014's more surprising commitments, but that doesn't take away from the importance of ESPN 300 tight end Dalton Schultz (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham) committing to Stanford on Thursday evening.


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Updated ESPN 300: Pac-12 analysis 

January, 14, 2014
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There were a several shifts for Pac-12 commits and targets in the newly updated ESPN 300. While it's difficult to make big jumps for players toward the top of the list, Oregon, UCLA and USC target John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) made a considerable move up 14 spots to No. 24 overall, while Arizona State and Stanford target Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) slid up seven spots and into the top 40 at No. 39 overall. But there were several others with Pac-12 ties who saw their stock rise even more:

[+] EnlargeViane Talamaivao and Austin Maloata
Blair Angulo/ESPNUSC offensive guard commit Viane Talamaivao (right) has moved up nine spots in the updated ESPN 300.
TE Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure): The USC verbal commitment moved up 37 places and now sits at No. 89 overall. He is now the No. 1 player at his position. The Trojans will need to hold off a late push from UCLA, which was his other finalist, but coach Steve Sarkisian's history with the tight end position as well as the fact that USC lost tight end Xavier Grimble to the NFL draft should allow the Trojans to keep hold of Dixon's commitment.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

January, 13, 2014
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Stanford put its best foot forward with its Big Visit Weekend, while a number of other Pac-12 programs positioned themselves for big recruiting weekends throughout the month of January. California was able to lock in a familiar face on the recruiting trail, while Oregon was able to the same on the coaching staff, in this week's recruiting wrap.


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The West region still has a chance to greatly impact the Pac-12, as five of the top six recruits in the region remain uncommitted. And while a few Pac-12 classes still have a ways to go and others are looking for the finishing touches, there is still a most important commit for each program still out there. Here, we take a look at the one "must-have" recruit for each conference program.


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Though the season ended on a sour note, with a 24-20 loss to Michigan State in the Rose Bowl presented by VIZIO, 2013 was another tremendously successful season for the Cardinal. Stanford posted an 11-win season and defended its Pac-12 crown. Heading toward signing day, it's doubtful this loss will damage any of the momentum the Cardinal have built on the recruiting trail. On the heels of a small recruiting class in 2013 -- Stanford signed just a dozen prospects -- Shaw and his assistants will be able to go after more recruits in the 2014 class, though this group still likely won't approach the maximum allowable limit of 25. At this point, Stanford's 2014 class ranks No. 28 in the nation and No. 4 in the Pac-12.


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Most important targets: Pac-12 

December, 10, 2013
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There are a number of impact players in the 2014 recruiting class still uncommitted and looking hard at Pac-12 programs. While one commit won't likely make a break a class, there are prospects out there that are extremely important for each class, for reasons on and off the field. This week, we take a look at arguably the top uncommitted target for each program, and why the recruit would make such an impact for that school.

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Recruits watching: Stanford at ASU 

December, 6, 2013
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Saturday offers the final game of the Pac-12 season, as Stanford visits Arizona State in the conference title game. The Sun Devils and Cardinal sit at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, in the Pac-12 class recruiting rankings, and this weekend will give both a chance to impress recruits on a national platform.

Many recruits from the 2014 and 2015 classes will have their attention focused on the Pac-12 title game, but here are 10 seniors who likely will be paying especially close attention.

OG Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch): The three-star offensive lineman is a priority target for a number of Pac-12 programs, with Arizona State among them. Delp has taken official visits to Arizona State and Washington State, while UCLA remains the likely leader. A conference championship for Arizona State would send a strong message to recruits -- Delp included -- and there is plenty of room for the big lineman in ASU's class, as the Sun Devils hold commits from just two offensive linemen so far.


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Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

December, 4, 2013
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There was some good news for the Pac-12 in the updated class rankings released on Wednesday as Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon all moved up. The Wildcats maintained their grip on the top class in the conference and now sit at No. 18 overall. The Sun Devils jumped two places -- from No. 24 to No. 22 -- largely on the strength of a commitment from four-star running back Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale), and in doing so, leapt Stanford for the No. 2 spot in the Pac-12. The Cardinal slid two spots, down to No. 25 overall, while Oregon remains the fourth conference team among the top 40, up to places to No. 30 overall. Here's a look at the conference's rankings. Insider

Trending up: In the 2013 class, Arizona State didn't sign and enroll a single four-star high school prospect. With Richard's commitment on Monday, the Sun Devils now have eight in their 2014 class. While Richard is the first commitment since mid-November, Arizona State's on-field performance has recruits buzzing about the future of the Sun Devils and with a win this weekend, coach Todd Graham will have an opportunity to close out this class in a big way.

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Recruits watching: Oregon-Stanford 

November, 7, 2013
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This marquee matchup will likely have fewer recruits in attendance than any showdown between top-10 teams this season due to the game taking place on Thursday night and Stanford's desire to not bring in official visitors during the season. But plenty of eyes will be glued to televisions, as a number of top recruits will be watching Oregon travel to Stanford for a game that will likely decide the Pac-12 North representative in the conference championship game.

While the Cardinal and Ducks don't battle over many of the same prospects, here are 10 recruits who will definitely be taking a look at what Oregon and Stanford have to offer.

Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue): The No. 9 safety in the country was blown away when he watched Oregon take on Washington earlier this fall. Although he will continue to look at the Huskies -- as well as Notre Dame, Texas A&M and UCLA -- it's the Ducks who likely have the lead in the race for the No. 147 overall prospect.

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WeAreSC's Blair Angulo caught up with ESPN 300 WR Equanimeous St. Brown on Sunday at the IMG 7v7 West Regional to get the latest on his recruitment.Tags: USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinal, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, WeAreSC, Equanimeous St. Brown
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