Gutwald accepts Stanford walk-on offer
Over the course of his recruitment, three-star Dublin High School offensive lineman Matthew Gutwald racked up offers from a number of Power 5 programs. Four of the six Pac-12 North programs extended scholarship, as did Arizona and Colorado. Nearly every Mountain West school offered, along with the entire Ivy League.
Yet on Tuesday night, Gutwald announced he would take the path that few college recruits do: He'll turn down numerous scholarship offers in favor of a preferred walk-on spot at Stanford.
"It comes back to academics a lot," Gutwald said. "When I came into high school I was 5-foot-8, 160 pounds. I was a smart kid. I never thought about playing sports at the next level. And I always dreamed of going to a really good academic school like Notre Dame or Stanford. I had the opportunity for both of those schools and it turned out that Stanford was the one for me. And I have confience in my abilities as a player that I could earn a scholarship. I really wanted to have the right fit and get an education that will set me up for life."
Gutwald's decision came down to two strong academic schools and football rivals - Notre Dame, where he visited last weekend, and Stanford. He was considering preferred walk-on options from both programs.
"I came back (from a trip to Notre Dame) and thought about it if football wasn't in the picture, which school would I pick," Gutwald said. "I had Stanford without a doubt. And then I kind of realized looking back at all my experiences on campus, I felt like that's where home is. And the education is just so incredible - you can't even put it into words. That's what set it apart."
The Dublin High School product informed Stanford's coaches of his decision this morning.
"They were super excited," Gutwald said. "(Offensive coordinator Mike) Bloomgren was crazy. Bloomgren seemed like he didn't expect it. He was so excited, it was great to see that."
"He said that I made the right decision and he thinks I'm going to be a hell of a player there."
A few months before arriving at his college decision, Gutwald received a piece of news that greatly improved the Cardinal's chances. He learned that he had been admitted into Stanford University in mid-December.
"It was so exciting," Gutwald said. "I was on my way to my first basketball game, actually, when I got that news. I checked my email. It was crazy - I was so excited. I was in the car driving to my basketball game and I can't even describe - I was so excited when I got that news. I worked really hard on the application, I worked really hard all throughout to get that opportunity, so it was good to pay off."
Gutwald did not lack familiarity with Stanford before making his decision. He attended each of the Cardinal's home games this year except for the Thursday night matchup against UCLA and the Big Game; he also took multiple unofficial visits last spring and summer.
"It was great because I got a chance to interact with a lot of the commits and the recruits," Gutwald said. "I became pretty good friends with Graham Shuler and Brian Chaffin throughout those visits. And I even got to talk to Barry Sanders, who I actually went to school with when I was in Oklahoma... I really got a good sense of family. And the attitude of the offensive linemen, (spending time with them), - I realized, that's kind of who I am. I realized it would be a good fit for me."
Gutwald is expected to play a position along the interior of Stanford's offensive line once he arrives on campus.