Stanford inked another top-ranked recruiting class on Wednesday, its second top-15 finish in three years. After discussing the class in his annual Signing Day press conference, Stanford head coach David Shaw spoke with Cardinal Sports Report in more detail about Stanford's recruiting efforts.
Cardinal Sports Report: At the running back position you guys haven't signed a power back in the mold of a Toby Gerhart or a Stepfan Taylor for several seasons. Is that a concern at all for you?
David Shaw: I don't know that it's a concern. I think the big thing for us is when you really watch Barry Sanders, he looks like he's a back he can carry between the tackles. You look at some of our smaller backs, I think there's nothing that Ricky Seale can't do. They're just not as big, they're not over 220 pounds like Gaffney or 215 like Wilkerson. We're not concerned. We're still always looking for those big, physical backs. And I know that we'll continue to try and address that in the future.
I don't mind also saying that we're going to put Kelsey Young back there and put him back in his more natural role as a running back. He's another muscle-bound, thick young man with some speed. So his name will be added to that mix also.
CSR: A similar question at nose tackle. Granted, that might be the hardest position for any school, let alone you guys, to recruit, but is that an issue for you, the fact that you haven't recruited a true nose tackle for a few seasons?
DS: That's the question. It's tough. Thankfully we have David Parry back and it looks like he's going to be healthy for us, which is great. And we have guys like Nate Lohn, who don't have the same girth, but Nate has done a good job for us competing in there. Ikenna Nwafor, if he comes back from this injury. Hopefully sooner than later we'll get a chance to see him in there as well. So those are two guys that can play that nose position. But it's always a position that we're looking for, just like corner. This year we got a bunch and that was great. Because it might be slim pickings from here on out, you never know. But the same thing with the nose, we're always looking, especially for a team that plays a 3-4.
CSR: You talked about Keller Chryst and his physical tools earlier (in your Signing Day press conference), but when you saw him at your camp two years ago, which might turn out to be one of the talent-loaded quarterback camps in college football history, what stood out to you? There was Ryan Burns, there was Brad Kaaya, Kyle Allen… What were some of the things that you saw then that opened your eyes?
DS: The first thing you see with Keller is size. And what a quarterback needs to be able to do more than anything else initially is he has to be able to see. The guy can see everything. He's not looking through windows, he's looking over the offensive line. That's the thing when you look at the big, physical quarterbacks with great stature. A Peyton Manning, he's looking over the offensive line and everybody is available to him. You don't have to throw through windows. But then you see (Keller's) athleticism, for a guy that's 230 pounds, he moves very well. So he moves like these guys that are 180, 190, but what you love when you watch film also is he takes a hit and he doesn't go down. And I love that. Because you can't always be perfect. And a guy that can shed a (tackler) as a quarterback and reset his feet and throw the ball is huge. But besides that, we'll continue to work on footwork like all young quarterbacks, but arm strength hand accuracy are huge, and he's got both.
CSR: Is quarterback going to be a competition with Ryan Burns and Keller and Kevin Hogan this spring or fall?
DS: It will be down the road. I think it will be. I think the way that we'll approach it of course is each guy has a bunch of things to work on and we'll keep working on those. Kevin Hogan is our starting quarterback and will continue to be our starting quarterback, but we've got some young talented guys that when we deem them ready to compete, they will compete. But the quarterback is the biggest position to me as far as we have to put a guy in there that knows it all because we can't play if he doesn't know it all. So it's not about being athletic, it's not about being strong-armed, not throwing the ball at all. It's about being able to run the entire offense because the other 10 guys need him to be successful. Right now Kevin is the one guy we have that can do all that. Down the road I'm sure there will be great competition and I'm looking forward to it.
CSR: At receiver, you've taken one scholarship receiver in the last two years. What is the rationale behind only taking one in two years, what was the thinking that went into that?
DS: The biggest thing is even after this year the only guy that's leaving us is Ty Montgomery. We're extremely deep and we're extremely young. And I love the young guys that we have. So we didn't feel the need if we didn't find the perfect fit for us to really go out and take guys. We've got Conner Crane and Dontonio Jordan that haven't really cracked the lineup yet, but those guys are good and they're going to be good and we're excited about them. Francis Owusu, the sky is the limit. And those are the guys that are honestly behind the top five guys. So we are truly deep. We're still really young.
We're still going to try to address that in spades I believe in the next class. I think we'e already jumped off to a really good start there. I think we have some guys in the 2015 class that truly fit us and are great players. So we've been able to say hey, you know what, let's not force it in the 2014 class if we can't find the perfect fit especially knowing that coming down the road this next class there might be three or four guys that fit us perfectly.
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