Senior center Drake Nugent gives Cardinal a full set in 2019
When Drake Nugent camped at Stanford in July he was determined to give his best effort to earn an offer from his dream school. He didn't expect it to happen, but he got the good news at the end of the camp session and on Thanksgiving announced his commitment to play at Stanford.
Nugent has been admitted to the university and didn't waste any time ending his recruiting process, which he told reporters for months is what he would do. Arizona State was one of several other Pac-12 offers and the program that seemed to be pursuing him the hardest outside of Stanford.
Whether Nugent was admitted provided the only drama to his recruitment since Stanford offered. He attends Highlands Ranch High, which is up the road from Valor Christian, the training ground of the McCaffreys. Nugent watched Christian McCaffrey dominate Colorado prep football and then make college football look like a lot of fun on The Farm.
Nugent now gets to follow the same path to help clear the way for the next Heisman runner-up running back at Stanford.
The first positive to note about Nugent's commitment is his passion for Stanford. He probably would have practiced pulling in front of offensive line coach Kevin Carberry in bare feet on broken glass if he thought it guaranteed an offer.
A two-way player in high school, Nugent is a football workaholic who explained that he never wants to leave the field, which is why he played almost every snap during his junior year, even on special teams as long snapper. His senior season was limited by an injury that caused him to miss multiple games and Highlands Ranch missed the playoffs.
Nugent isn't a big lineman -- because 6-2, 270-pounds is "small" -- but he can move well, is a tenacious finisher and his barrel build can carry more weight.
Nugent's commitment also complete's a five-man set for Stanford's offensive line class. (Although, Stanford may not be done with recruiting that position group. Subscribers can follow updates on that in the Recruiting Notes thread.)
Carberry emphasizes versatility in his training, so positions are open to change, but the five commits -- all of whom are admitted -- could line up like this: LT Walter Rouse, OG Jake Hornibrook, OC Nugent, OG Branson Bragg, RT Barrett Miller. Hornibrook (tackle), Miller (guard) and Bragg (center) have been recruited to play multiple positions.
Stanford's offensive line pipeline needed an influx of talented prospects after getting only one commitment in 2018. (Trey Stratford has missed his entire redshirt season due to injury.) This 2019 group is a start to reversing the trend of low numbers in that room. Stanford likely won't have enough linemen for a second unit with which to practice during the spring. The Cardinal are also pursuing several walk-on targets and if the next few months break the right way it wouldn't be surprising to see eight or nine freshmen on the roster for training camp.