Stanford football recruiting 2014: Cardinal reloading at marquee positions

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Think the Cardinal are going away? Think again.

Life is good in Palo Alto, where top five opponents routinely get pounded to dust and the recruiting classes are now among the best in the country. According to the 247sports composite, David Shaw and company have put together a group of incoming freshmen that is the 20th best in the FBS — and more importantly, second in the Pac-12, only two points behind Arizona, whose class consists of 27 players.

Stanford has only 17, meaning that with one more addition, the Cardinal will own Pac-12 recruiting, just as they have the field of play.

Like all things related to their offense, Stanford has moved slowly and methodically in their recent recruiting. Their last commitment — Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian defensive end Nifae Lealao, a 4-star on the 247sports composite — pledged in September.

The crown jewel of this class is 247sports composite 5-star and second ranked quarterback Keller Chryst, who hails from Palo Alto himself.

Besides Chryst, one player to keep an eye on in the future is Portland (Ore.) Jesuit's Joey Alfieri — though he is only a 4-star on the 247composite and the 20th ranked player among outside linebackers, Alfieri has consistently dominated at camps and has extremely impressive measurables. In a few seasons, he could be the latest in a line of monstrous Stanford linebackers, joining the likes of A.J. Tarpley and Shayne Skov.

Other highlights include Brandon Simmons from Arlington (Texas) Mansfield Timberview, a 4-star and consensus top 20 safety, and all purpose back Christian McCaffrey out of Colorado. Alfieri, Simmons and McCaffrey all demonstrate Stanford's recruiting focuses, which are largely national, as well as their success in doing so.

There's even a fullback committed in this class, as the Cardinal have a pledge from Mission Viejo's Daniel Marx, a 3-star on the 247sports composite and a top-10 player at a very difficult to find position.

Still to come -- Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst

Stanford has a tremendous scouting program that helps to identify the best players. And it still has several in its sights, at positions of prominence within the program.

  • The top target is Solomon Thomas, of Coppell (Texas), a five-star who is also considering Texas and Ohio State. Thomas is a 6'3, 256-pound prospect who would be a nasty outside rush linebacker for the Cardinal.
  • Stanford is also very well known for offensive linemen, and it seems to have the inside track on Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton High School's Casey Tucker. Tucker is a four-star who is also considering Texas A&M and Arizona State.
  • Stanford is also very well known for tight ends, and South Jordan (Utah) Bingham High School's Dalton Schultz is an excellent four-star player who fits the mold well. Stanford is considered a strong leader to sign him.

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