Feb. 4, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. -
Stanford University's Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football and head coach Jim Harbaugh announced today that 22 high school seniors have signed official letters of intent to play football at Stanford University next fall.
The 22 student-athletes attended high school in 12 states--California (8), Texas (4), Arizona (2), Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Washington and Wisconsin--lending to Stanford's national appeal.
By position, the Cardinal added to its roster four defensive linemen, four tight ends, three wide receivers, three running backs, two quarterbacks, two offensive linemen, two linebackers and two defensive backs. It should be noted players might move to different positions once they arrive on campus.
Of Stanford's signees, 19 were listed among the top 50 in the nation at their respective position and 10 recruits were named high school All-Americans by either SuperPrep or PrepStar Magazine. Six of the eight recruits from California were listed among the top-40 high school prospects in the nation at their respective positions by SuperPrep.
Three of Stanford's recruits--Usua Amanam (Bellarmine College Prep), Kevin Danser (Bellarmine) and Zach Ertz (Monte Vista HS)--attend high school in the Bay Area.
"We feel this recruiting class is a cornerstone group that will build on the foundation that has already been laid to win Pac-10 championships," said Harbaugh. "Everyone involved in the recruiting process feels we have successfully met the challenge of recruiting top-flight scholar-athletes who are BCS-caliber football players.
"It's a balanced class across the board. All of these players are strong men of character, talent and ambition. They all have the desire to earn a degree from one of the world's leading universities and compete at the highest level in college football.
"We are very pleased and excited for all of these young men and their families. What an accomplishment to gain admission into Stanford and be part of the best athletic program in the nation."
Three notable positions in the class are running back, wide receiver and tight end, where Stanford signed at least two prep players who were listed among the top-20 in the nation at their respective positions.
In addition, Stanford signed one of the most highly-recruited players in the nation in linebacker Shayne Skov, a five-start recruit out of Trinity-Pawling High School in Pawling (Dutchess County), N.Y. A Bay Area native who attended Piedmont High School before transferring to Trinity-Pawling, Skov is rated as the third-best middle linebacker in the nation by both Rivals and Scout.com and was also listed as the 40th-top recruit in the country by Scout.com.
Along with Skov, Geoff Meinken, an all-state selection from Lynnwood High School in Washington, is Stanford's only other recruit at the linebacker position.
Stanford's impressive list of running backs includes Tyler Gaffney (San Diego / Cathedral Catholic), Amanam (Fremont / Bellarmine Prep) and Stepfan Taylor (Mansfield, Texas / Mansfield HS).
Listed as the third-best fullback in the nation Scout.com and fourth by Rivals, Gaffney was named Cal-Hi Sports "Mr. Football" in the state of California and SuperPrep's Far West Offensive Player of the Year after he rushed for a San Diego section record 2,866 yards on 297 carries and 48 touchdowns as a senior, helping Cathedral Catholic to the CIF Division II State championship. He also caught 28 passes for 505 yards and eight touchdowns out of the backfield. His 56 total touchdowns equaled the fourth-best single-season mark in state history. Gaffney turned in one of the most impressive single-game performances in state history in the Dons' 37-34 victory over St. Mary's-Stockton in the state championship game, rushing for 337 yards and four touchdowns. An outstanding baseball player, Gaffney is expected to add his name to Stanford's impressive list of two-sport athletes.
Amanam was named Cal-Hi Sports Large School State Player of the Year and MaxPreps.com Division I State Player of the Year after he rushed for 1,828 yards on 221 carries and 30 touchdowns to lead Bellarmine Prep to its first Central Coast Section championship since 1990. The West Catholic Athletic League's Player of the Year totaled 36 touchdowns in his final campaign, including two receiving TDs, one on an interception return, two more on punt returns and one kickoff return.
Taylor, a four-star recruit who was listed as the 20th-best running back in the nation by Rivals.com, rushed for a school-record 4,792 yards with 67 rushing touchdowns during his three-year varsity career at Mansfield (Texas) High School. This past season, he set single-season school records with 2,463 yards and 33 touchdowns as Mansfield advanced to the third round of the state playoffs.
Stanford's recruiting efforts also paid large dividends at the tight end position, where the Cardinal were able to ink two of the top-10 rated tight ends in the nation in Levine Toilolo (La Mesa, Calif./Helix HS) and Zach Ertz (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista HS).
A four-star recruit by both Rivals and Scout.com, Toilolo was rated as the fourth-best tight end in the nation by Rivals.com and sixth-best by Scout.com. A first team all-state Division II selection, Toilolo earned first team All-Grossmont League honors both as a tight end and defensive end. Three of his uncles--Dan Saleaumua, Edwin Mulitalo and Joe Salave'a--enjoyed long NFL careers.
Ertz will join the Cardinal after a stellar career at Monte Vista High School in Danville. Listed as the fourth-best tight end prospect and the 81st overall recruit in the nation by Scout.com, he caught 56 passes for 756 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior.
Jordan Najvar (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak HS), rated as the 12th-best tight end in the nation by Rivals.com and Ryan Hewitt (Denver, Colo./J.K. Mullen HS), ranked 30th among the nation's top tight ends by Scout.com, round out Stanford's group of tight ends.
Heading a trio of outstanding wide receiver prospects is Jamal-Rashad Patterson, a four-star recruit from Henry County High School in McDonough, Ga. Patterson was listed as the eighth-best receiving prospect and 73rd-overall in the nation by CSTV/Tom Lemming. He finished his senior season with 56 catches for 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns. One of the most decorated prep players in Georgia, Patterson earned first team all-state honors and was listed among the top-11 prep players in the talent-rich state.
Jemari Roberts (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson HS) and Drew Terrell (Chandler, Ariz. / Hamilton HS) join Patterson to round out a highly-touted wide receiving corps. Roberts, a four-star recruit, was listed as the 18th-best wide receiver prospect in the nation by Rivals.com while Terrell was rated 43rd by the same service.
Two quarterbacks are included in the 2009 recruiting class. Josh Nunes (Upland / Upland HS) received a four-star rating by both Rivals and Scout.com and was listed as the 13th-best pro-style quarterback in the nation by CSTV/Tom Lemming. An ESPN/Under Armour All-American, Nunes threw for 2,813 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior and threw for over 6,300 yards during his prep career. Taysom Hill (Pocatello, Idaho / Highland HS), regarded as the top recruit in the state of Idaho, was named the 5A All-Idaho Player of the Year as a senior after throwing for 2,239 yards and rushing for 1,491 more. He is expected to complete a two-year church mission before enrolling at Stanford.
Danser (Saratoga, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep) joins Amanam and Ertz in rounding out Stanford's recruits from the Bay Area. Listed as the 37th-best offensive tackle in the nation, Danser anchored an offensive line that paved the way for Amanam to race for 1,828 yards and 30 touchdowns this past season. A first team All-Metro selection by the San Francisco Chronicle and a San Jose Mercury News All-County pick, Danser was named the WCAL's Offensive Lineman of the Year following his senior season.
Joining Danser among the offensive line prospects is Khalil Wilkes, a product of St. Peter's Preparatory in Teaneck, N.J. who was rated as the 16th-best offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com. A two-time all-state selection, Wilkes continues a long line of Stanford players from the East Coast, including 10 players on the current roster who hail from Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
Stanford stayed on the East Coast to land defensive tackle Terrence Stephens, a two-time consensus all-state selection out of Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Md. A four-star recruit by both Rivals and Scout.com, Stephens was listed as the 19th-best defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com.
Defensive ends Ben Gardner (Mequon, Wis./Homestead HS), Josh Mauro (Hurst, Texas/Bell HS) and Trent Murphy (Phoenix, AZ) will join Stephens upfront on Stanford's defensive line. Gardner received first team all-state, all-region and all-conference honors while Mauro was rated as the 63rd-best DE by Scout.com and received all-state honors from the Texas Sportswriters Association. Murphy was rated as the 41st-best defensive end by Rivals.com and was named to the all-state team by Arizona Coaches Association.
The Cardinal addressed its need in the secondary by inking cornerback Terrence Brown (Torrance, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) and Jarek Lancaster (Helotes, Texas/Sandra Day O'Connor HS). Brown, a physical player who saw time at both cornerback and safety in high school, earned all-state honors by MaxPreps.com while Lancaster will transition to safety after playing linebacker and quarterback at Sandra Day O'Connor HS.
Stanford, which finished the 2008 season with an overall record of 5-7 and a 4-5 mark in the Pac-10, opens spring practice on Tuesday, Feb. 24. The annual spring game is scheduled for Monday, April 13. The 2009 season opener is set for Sept. 3 at Washington State.