Stanford football recruiting 2014: Cardinal assembling a top-20 class

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford continues to parlay success on the field into success on the recruiting trail.

The Stanford Cardinal are entering the final stretch before Signing Day with one of the Pac-12's best classes on the way. David Shaw and his staff have landed commitments from 19 prospects, including seven players with four-star ratings and the top-rated players in the states of Oregon, Colorado and Utah.

Stanford's class at a glance
Total commits
Five-star prospects Four-star prospects
19 0 7

Update, Feb. 5: Stanford's up to 20 commits with the addition of five-star defensive end Solomon Thomas, who committed with nerd glasses and a tree.

The Cardinal are set to reload on offense, with three top commitments coming on that side of the ball. Pro-style quarterback Keller Chryst -- a four-star prospect who grew up in Palo Alto -- leads the way in this group, ranking out as the third-rated player at his position this season, and the 51st-best recruit overall in the 2014 class. In choosing to play for his hometown team and head coach David Shaw, Chryst turned down offers from Georgia, Pitt, USC and Arizona.

Stanford will be getting quite a talent with his addition, though, one that could hold down the position for years to come:

As a passer, Chryst is legitimately gifted. He's multi-dimensional in the respect that he's a pocket passer who is able to deliver the ball from different platforms. He shows excellent touch on fade routes and bucket throws into the deep quadrants of the field, as his fastball is best utilized when asked to make stick throws into the short to intermediate areas.

His future backfield mate could also be in this class, in the form of Littleton (Colo.) Valor Christian running back Christian McCaffrey, a four-star recruit himself. The 6'0, 195-pound McCaffrey is a top all-purpose back in the 2014 class, trailing only Oakley (Calif.) Freedom High's Joe Mixon, and is rated as the 91st overall player this season on the 247Sports Composite rankings. Twenty-one schools besides Stanford offered McCaffrey, including Florida State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and UCLA.

The third member of this offensive triad is South Jordan (Utah) Bingham tight end Dalton Schultz, the top player at his position this season and the 100th-rated player in the 2014 class on the 247Sports Composite. Pursued by nearly every school on the West Coast, Schultz called it for Stanford by YouTube video in mid-January.

Between McCaffrey, Chryst and Schultz, David Shaw and company have managed to reel in three elite talents from the 2014 class, but that trio is barely the start of things. The Cardinal have put together a veritable forest full of highly rated commitments. Bobby Okereke and Joey Alfieri, a pair of four-star outside linebackers, committed to the Cardinal on the same day in August. Okereke, who played high school football at Foothill High in Santa Ana, Calif., is the No. 13-rated outside linebacker in the Class of 2014. Alfieri, the top-rated player in the state of Oregon, attended Portland's Jesuit High, and chose the Cardinal over Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Wisconsin, Cal, Arizona, Arizona State and a handful of others offers.

Brandon Simmons, a four-star safety out of Arlington, Texas, will be joining them in the Cardinal defense. Simmons played high school football at Mansfield Timberview High, and committed early to Stanford. He's ranked as the No. 16 safety in the class, and held offers from LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, USC, UCLA and Iowa, among others.

This being Stanford, there is no shortage of offensive linemen. Four-star tackle Casey Tucker out of Chandler, Ariz. highlights the class, but the Cardinal also hold commitments from three-star linemen Jesse Burkett and AT Hall. They also got a verbal commitment from three-star tackle Reilly Gibbons on February 1. Gibbons, who comes to Palo Alto from St. Petersburg, Fla., had been a longtime Miami commit but took a visit to Stanford on the final weekend before Signing Day and, to everyone's surprise, flipped to the Cardinal. Gibbons is rated as one of the top 50 players in Florida and top 30 tackles nationally.

Stanford hasn't finished recruiting, either. The Cardinal are still in pursuit of five-star defensive end Solomon Thomas. The 6'2, 260-pound Thomas, who hails from Coppell, Texas, is the second-rated strongside defensive end in this year's class and No. 3 player in the state of Texas. He is thought to be leaning toward Stanford over offers from Arkansas, UCLA, Alabama, Ohio State,and Texas, among others. Landing Thomas  would cap an already excellent class for the Cardinal.

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