STANFORD, Calif. - Why be the second to know when you can be the first?
We're taking you behind the scenes for all the happenings around the Stanford football program throughout National Signing Day -- from the unlocking of the doors to the reception of the final National Letter of Intent and beyond.
Nestled within the walls of the program's offices in the Arrillaga Family Sports Center, we'll be providing an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes during this (often considered) national holiday.
4:25 a.m. - Welcome to The Farm for National Signing Day.
Things begin with Stanford's assistant director of football operations and recruiting Ryan Devlin flipping the light switch on in the newly renovated football offices. Devlin, who went to bed Tuesday evening around "10ish" and woke up around "2:30" and was in the office "before 3 a.m." is the point person for receiving the National Letters of Intent.
Mike Bellotti just said Stanford is "one of the most beautiful places in the world. They have the greatest student athletes." #GoStanford— Ryan Devlin (@DjMosDev) February 5, 2014
4:45 a.m. - Willie Shaw Director of Defense Lance Anderson, who also serves as the program's admissions liaison, arrives into the office. He'll likely be charging and re-charging his cellphone countless times throughout the day.
5:32 a.m. - While the National Letters of Intent from student-athletes in the Eastern and Central Time Zone begin trickling in, nothing can be officially announced until they're approved by Stanford's compliance office.
5:58 a.m. - Need something to hold you over? Enjoy this Signing Day perspective from ESPN.com's Kyle Bonagura.
6:08 a.m. - Assistant athletic director for compliance services Megan Boone, who was in the office well before 6 a.m., begins to approve the first batch of letters received.
6:15 a.m. - Boone gives the thumbs up. Reilly Gibbons, Jesse Burkett, Alameen Murphy, Harrison Phillips, Brandon Simmons, Solomon Thomas and Denzel Franklin are the first official members of the 2014 signing class.
Burkett's letter was the first received by the Cardinal staff, arriving at 4:03 a.m. (PT).Donning a bow tie, Thomas uprooted a tree and placed it on the table while announcing his commitment to Stanford. “It was my best friend’s idea,” Thomas told ESPN after he made his announcement live on national television around 5:10 a.m. (PT).
S Thomas joins a Stanford d-line that has 75 sacks when sending 4 or fewer pass rushers in last 2 years, 20 more than next-closest AQ school— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 5, 2014
6:34 a.m. - Gibbons, a consensus four-star tackle, anchored an offensive line at St. Petersburg Catholic (Fla.) that produced three 1,000-yard rushers in 2013.
6:35 a.m. - Letters received and approved, these from Casey Tucker, Christian McCaffrey and Dalton Schultz.
6:42 a.m. - Burkett, an offensive lineman from Florida, was tabbed a four-star recruit by ESPN and notched 37 career starts at Bartram Trail. Burkett also threw shot put for the track and field team, leading the squad to a pair of state titles.
6:46 a.m. - Remember when Schultz revolutionized the commitment game?
6:52 a.m. - Stanford loses a Trent Murphy but adds an Alameen Murphy to go along with rising junior Kyle Murphy.
Maryland’s 14th-best overall recruit by Scout, the cornerback had 650 career all-purpose yards, 252 tackles, 105 solo tackles, four interceptions, nine forced fumbles and seven touchdowns as a prep.
Murphy’s brother, Ali, plays football at Lake Erie College.
6:57 a.m. - Lane Veach, come on down! Veach is considered the nation’s 32nd-best weak side defensive end by 247Sports and Arizona’s 12th-best overall recruit by Scout. Limited to 12 career games due to injuries, Veach managed 70 career tackles, 45 solo stops and 11.5 sacks throughout his prep career as a linebacker at Perry (Ariz.).
7:11 a.m. - Tucker is an offensive lineman out of Gilbert, Ariz., leading Hamilton to the 2012 state title and a pair of runner-up finishes. The five-star recruit by Scout and nation’s 39th-best overall prospect by ESPN also lettered in wrestling.
7:13 a.m. - Andrew Luck Director of Offense Mike Bloomgren on tight end Dalton Schultz: "Dalton is a kid that all the recruiting services had as the No. 1 tight end in America. Sometimes when we evaluate kids and put them on our board, we are going to agree with them and sometimes we are not. In Dalton’s case, we absolutely did."
7:19 a.m. - Fax machine cranking with approved letters from Isaiah Brandt-Sims, Daniel Marx, Jordan Perez and Joey Alfieri.
7:23 a.m. - Brandon Simmons played at Mansfield Timberview (Texas) and was four-star recruit by Scout, Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports. Simmons is a two-time District 7 (5A) first team performer with 302 career tackles, seven interceptions, 17 pass breakups, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 12 tackles for loss.
Simmons’ father, Kashann, played football at West Virginia (1992-97).
7:27 a.m. - Alijah Holder, a cornerback out of Oceanside, Calif., is officially a member of Stanford’s signing class. The sixth-best cornerback in the West by Scout had 21 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 20 passes defended and two defensive touchdowns as a senior (one in the form of a 105-yard interception returned for touchdown).
7:31 a.m. - There is more than one version of Stanford's #NerdNation glasses, as displayed by Brandon Simmons.
7:38 a.m. - Cheers around the office.
7:45 a.m. - Bobby Okereke. Signed. Faxed. Delivered.
The Southern California linebacker was a four-star recruit by Scout, Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports.
A member of the 2013 Orange County Register All-West Coast “Fab 15” first team, he collected 162 career tackles, nine sacks, four interceptions, seven passes defended and two interceptions returned for touchdowns.
Okereke’s cousin, Amobi Okugo, played soccer at UCLA and professionally for the Philadelphia Union.
7:55 a.m. - Palo Alto High School product Keller Chryst’s letter arrived and has been approved.
California’s third-best recruit by ESPN was the 2013 Mercury News Offensive Player of the Year and – are you ready for these numbers? – was 395 of 730 passing for 7,326 yards and 85 touchdowns during his prep career. Palo Alto totaled 13,513 total yards (5,943 rushing, 7,326 passing) with Chryst as its starting quarterback.
Chryst is the school record holder for games started at quarterback (35) and tied for games won at quarterback (23 - tied with Stanford assistant Peter Hansen).
His father, George (Geep), played football and baseball at Princeton and currently serves as the quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Chryst’s mother, Shelly, played volleyball and basketball at Wyoming before playing professional volleyball. Uncle, Paul Chryst, played football at Wisconsin and is the head football coach at Pittsburgh.
7:58 a.m. - It's not how you start, it's how you finish.
8:09 a.m. - Inside linebacker Joey Alfieri, a four-star recruit by Rivals, ESPN, Scout and 247Sports, was tabbed Oregon’s top recruit by Scout and 247Sports (and second-best by Rivals and ESPN). In 2013, he was an all-state at both running back and linebacker.
Alfieri gained 1,712 yards rushing (9.7 yards/rush) for 22 touchdowns before his suffering a season-ending injury in Jesuit’s eighth game.
Both parents, Phil (football) and Kelly (track), were varsity student-athletes at Oregon State. Alfieri has five siblings, and brother Nick plays football at Georgetown.
8:20 a.m. - Peach State products Greg Taboada, Ronnie Harris, Henry Anderson, Alex Robinson, Jordan Watkins, Ra'Chard Pippens and James Vaughters will be joined by Pace Academy’s Denzel Franklin. The state’s 50th-best recruit by Scout also lettered in basketball and track, taking the state title in the 4x1,600 relay.
8:21 a.m. - The fax machine is slowing down but the operation is still humming along.
8:25 a.m. - A.T. Hall is the latest Brophy (Ariz.) product, following in the footsteps of All-American Trent Murphy. The offensive guard was considered the nation’s 40th-best by ESPN.
Hall’s father, Travis, played football at BYU and for both the Atlanta Falcons (1995-2004) and San Francisco 49ers (2005).
8:34 a.m. - Recognized as the nation’s third-best fullback by ESPN, Daniel Marx packs a punch in his 6-2, 240-pound frame. Marx led his prep squad to a pair of league titles on the gridiron and scored 15 goals as a midfielder in his one season of varsity lacrosse.
8:51 a.m. - At 6-4, 258-pounds, Harrison Phillips is a big ol’ boy. Nebraska’s Gatorade Player of the Year was the state’s top-ranked recruit by 247Sports, second by Scout and Rivals and third by ESPN.
Christmas card with the family? Love these two so much, thanks for everything! pic.twitter.com/UrkJ72nBfu— Harrison Phillips (@horribleharry66) February 5, 2014
Phillips was a force at defensive end by racking 295 career tackles (188 solo), 80 tackles for loss, 34.5 sacks and 23 forced fumbles.
Phillips went 96-11 in his first three seasons on the wrestling mat and was the 2013 Junior National heavyweight champion
His sister, Delanie, plays soccer at Nebraska-Kearney.
8:56 a.m. - Jordan Perez, a four-star recruit by ESPN, had 75 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks and 35 catches for 550 yards and five touchdowns as a senior at Carlsbad (Calif.).
Perez is slated to be an inside or outside linebacker for the Cardinal.
9:00 a.m. - It's official -- Louisiana’s Terrence Alexander will be a Cardinal.
“They give me the best opportunity be successful in the classroom and on the football field,” Alexander told ESPN during his live announcement.
After leading John Curtis Christian to three state titles, the nation’s 28th-best cornerback by 247Sports had 32 tackles, 19 passes defended and four interceptions as a senior (one interception return, two punt returns, one kickoff return).
Alexander also led his prep track and field team, leading the unit to multiple indoor and outdoor state titles from 2010-13.
9:07 a.m. - Theresa Miraglia knows a few things about Signing Day.
The 23-year Stanford Athletics veteran is in her 14th season as the football program's administrative associate. And yes, she was the one responsible for bringing donuts into the office to keep the staff fueled.
9:13 a.m. - Not only is it National Signing Day, but it's also the birthday of Willie Shaw Director of Defense and admissions liaison Lance Anderson.
Twice the reason for one of the nation's best recruiters to celebrate.
9:22 a.m. - The McCaffrey pipeline to Stanford is renewed with the signing of Christian, an all-everything running back out of Colorado’s Valor Christian.
McCaffrey played running back, wide receiver, defensive back and punter as Colorado’s top-rated overall recruit by Scout, Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports.
The 2013 Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year holds a number of national and state records, ranking seventh in high school football history with 141 career offensive touchdowns. McCaffrey is Colorado’s record holder for career points (848), career all-purpose yards (8,845) and single-season all-purpose yards (3,032).
The speedster is a Colorado state champion in the 4x100 relay and state record holder in the 4x200 relay.
McCaffrey’s father, Ed, played football at Stanford (1986-1991) and professionally for the New York Giants (1991-94), San Francisco 49ers (1994) and Denver Broncos (1994-2003). His mother, Lisa, played soccer on The Farm from 1987-90. McCaffrey’s brother, Max, is a wide receiver at Duke.
While his speed can be attributed to his parents, it’s of strong note that his grandfather, David Sime, was a world-class sprinter. Sime was the silver medalist in 100-yard dash at the 1960 Summer Olympics and the 1956 world record holder in the 100-yard dash.
10:02 a.m. - The Cardinal coaching crew has been bunkered in the staff meeting room since 8 a.m., making preparations for next season's recruiting class. They'll break briefly during the four to five-hour session for lunch before Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football David Shaw addresses the media later this afternoon.
10:10 a.m. - Shaw's media hits for the day include a 1:15 p.m. (PT) chat with Adam Zucker and Tom Lemming of CBS Sports and a 1:30 session on 95.7 The Game with Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend. Shaw will speak with ESPNU's Dari Nowkhah at 1:45.
10:25 a.m. - Want to see highlights of Utah’s top recruit by Scout and the nation’s top tight end by Scout and ESPN? We do, too.
You’re on stage, Dalton Schultz.
10:45 a.m. - McCaffrey (pianist) and Marx (guitarist) looking for drummer in 2014 signing class.
11:47 a.m. - No football staff member sightings in Jimmy V's Cafe, which is likely a first in a long while.
1:14 p.m. - Breakdown of Stanford signees' state rankings by national outlets:
1:22 p.m. - Stanford's 20 signees hail from 12 states: Arizona (3), California (5), Colorado, Florida (2), Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas (2), Utah and Washington.
1:26 p.m. - Bloomgren on Chryst: "An unbelievable student of the game."
1:27 p.m. - Defensive line coach Randy Hart on Thomas: "He's a complete player, a guy that likes to be a technician. He has a great motor and has the ability to be a great football player."
1:28 p.m. - Anderson on Alexander: "We were amazed at how much of a natural cover corner he is, but at the same time he is a tough, physical kid."
1:33 p.m. - Alijah Holder has a brother named King. The mother of Alameen Murphy is named Princess. Make of that what you will.
1:59 p.m. - Devlin, who arrived into the Stanford complex at 3 a.m. (PT), has yet to have a cup of coffee.
"I don't drink coffee," said Devlin, who must be fueled by pure adrenaline.
2:57 p.m. - Closing down shop on the updates to prep for Shaw's press conference. Watch the Pac-12 feed live.
Thanks for joining us. #fearTheTree