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February 7, 2013

Signing Day Breakdown: Defense

2013 Stanford recruiting class offensive breakdown

Stanford's 2013 defensive recruiting class will be defined by its success at one position: linebacker. In fact, the only pure defensive players in the recruiting class were inked to play the linebacker position. The fifth, Taijuan Thomas, can play either receiver or defensive back

Cardinal coach David Shaw thinks the linebacker group has many of the qualities that define the current Stanford defense.

"You see linebackers, a versatile group of linebackers that can run, that can hit, that are physical, that once again fit in very well to Stanford University as a whole, but also what we do defensively," Shaw said.

Sean Barton LB, 6-3/220, Woods Cross, UT

Shaw's Comment: "Sean Barton is an exciting football player. He's going to play linebacker for us. He's going to go on a two-year mission and will come back and make an impact I believe right away. He is athletic. He is fast. He is explosive. He is aggressive. The funny thing about Sean is when you're watching his film you can't help but watch him as a running back also. I had sent him Facebook messages throughout the year because I would get his clippings from what he did on Friday nights. I would get them on Saturday mornings and he'd rush for 185 and three touchdowns, rush for 160 and three touchdowns. And I'd tease him about being recruited as a running back, but he's a defensive player, defensive mentality, and I can't wait for him to get back.

Peter Kalambayi OLB, 6-3/240, Matthews, NC

Coach's Comment "He's similar to Chase Thomas in his range but bigger, coming out of high school," outside linebackers coach and admissions liaison Lance Anderson told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Kevin Palma LB, 6-2/240, Tulare, CA

Shaw's Comment: "Kevin Palma we're going to start with him at linebacker and once again give him a chance to compete on special teams as well. He is a big, physical young man. He is 240 pounds. He can run. He's got great ball skills. We believe he has some instincts on the defensive side. There is some possibility he could go back to the offensive side. With young guys we try and start them some place and try and get them comfortable and see what happens. If down the road he goes back to offense that's a possibility. He can do that naturally. He's a very natural pass receiver, tight end fullback h-back, very similar to Ryan Hewitt. But at the same time he can run and hit and be physical as our linebackers are. We'll see what he does over time, but we're going to start him on defense.

Taijuan Thomas WR/DB, 5-10/180, Monroe, La

Shaw's Comment: The thing with Taijuan, Taijuan is just one of those kids that walks in the room and brightens the room up. Just a great attitude, big smile on his face. The second thing with Taijuan is he is fast. He is explosive. You see him running down there in Louisiana and he's running by guys. He's another one of those guys with as we call it position flexibility. He could come in and play receiver, he could come in and play defensive back. He could come in and challenge for a spot on special teams both as a cover man and as a returner. He's just one of those guys when you see a kid who has that kind of speed who's not as vertically tall as a lot of people will say they want, but you see him and he's not small by any stretch of the imagination. He's a strong contact football player. He's very physical. We believe he could play corner or nickel. We believe he could play receiver or running back.

Mike Tyler OLB, 6-5/225 Brecksville, OH

Shaw's Comment: "The recruiting world turns sometimes it seems it turns slowly, sometimes it seems it turns very fast. We had a lot of commits at the linebacker position pretty early and really saw Mike kind of late. We're not on offering guys when we're full and just diluting the pool. We don't do that. Things changed, and it was late, as soon as we saw him we fell in love with him. He reminds me so much of Chase Thomas, a guy you might say quote unquote is undersized, but outworks everybody that tries to block him. He is aggressive. He is relentless. He is exciting to watch. He is a tough guy to block and we think he's going to be the same way here.

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