Cardinal continue incredible recruiting roll
At the outset of September, the top underclassmen on the West Coast will be getting their first official offers, writes Greg Biggins.
Not since the late 90s when Tyrone Willingham was at the helm have we seen a class this talented. Stanford is always able to recruit at a national level but this year its landing some serious difference makers, players capable of playing for anyone in the country.
Earlier in the week, Stanford reeled in one of the truly elite receivers in the nation in Jamal Patterson. Patterson, 6-2, 195 pounds from McDonough (Ga.) Henry County is an ESPNU 150 selection and chose the Cardinal over programs like Florida, Florida State, Auburn, South Carolina, LSU, Auburn and Michigan, to name a few.
We had a chance to see Patterson at the NIKE 7ON Passing Tournament in July where he looked great on both sides of the ball. Patterson has size, speed, hands and athleticism and as good as he catching the ball, he looked even better playing cornerback.
Staying at receiver, the Cardinal remained in-state to land one of the best in the West in Long Beach (Calif.) Wilson standout Jemari Roberts. Like Patterson, Roberts has good size at 6-2, 200 pounds and showed explosive speed as a junior returning five kickoffs for touchdowns.
Where the Cardinal really loaded up is at the tight end position. Among their 14 commits, five are from tight ends but all five can play. Levine Toilolo out of La Mesa (Calif.) Helix is all of 6-7, 240 pounds and may be an even better prospect down the line as a future left tackle.
Toilolo does have the athleticism to stay at tight end and will be a major weapon in the red zone. He has very good hands and knows how to use his body to shield smaller linebackers and defensive backs.
Six-foot-6, 230-pounder Zach Ertz (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) is a great-looking prospect with the prototypical size and toughness for a college tight end. Despite missing the last games of his junior season, Ertz still had 38 receptions for 483 yards and should have a big senior season as the focal point of the offense.
The Cardinal were even able to venture in to Texas for standout Jordan Najver (Klein Oak, Texas/Spring). Najver, 6-5, 230 pounds, had 20+ offers on the table from schools like Miami, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Cal and Arizona State but said he just felt at home while on an unofficial visit to the Cardinal campus.
Leading the defense is one of the best linebackers we saw on the entire NIKE Camp tour last spring. Shayne Skov, 6-3, 225 pounds from Trinity (N.Y.) Pawling, put on an absolute show at the NIKE Camp at Penn State.
Skov has size, speed, athleticism and toughness. He works hard, loves to be coached and lives in the weight room. He actually played corner as a sophomore before growing in to an outside 'backer and caught 35 balls for 572 yards and four touchdowns as an H-back a year ago.
Staying in the East, the Cardinal were able to beat out schools like Penn State, Nebraska, Syracuse, West Virginia and Maryland for Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard defensive tackle Terrence Stephens.
Stephens, 6-2, 285 pounds, had 65 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior and fills a huge need for the Cardinal. There's no position harder to find than quality defensive tackles and Stephens has the size, strength and quickness to be a major impact player in the Pac-10.
Charles Siddoway, one of the elite offensive linemen on the West Coast, has transferred from Eugene (Ore.) Marist to nearby Eugene Sheldon. Siddoway originally planned to transfer to South Eugene and was already enrolled at the school.
According to the Eugene Register Guard, Siddoway was ineligible to participate in football because of an Oregon School Activities Association rule that does not allow a student to transfer to a new school and play for a coach from his previous school. Two former Marist assistants -- Dietrich Moore and Terry Augustadt -- were hired at South in the off-season.
The Siddoway family and South Eugene appealed the ruling saying neither of the two coaches had anything to do with the transfer to South Eugene.
The committee could not make a decision until the first day of fall sports practice last Monday. When a ruling still wasn't announced on Tuesday morning, Siddoway decided to transfer to Sheldon fearing he would not be able to play football his senior year. In a cruel twist, the committee ruled in favor of South Eugene later that day but the lineman had already withdrawn from school and enrolled at Sheldon.
With Siddoway now at Sheldon, it makes their opening season game with Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline even more intriguing. Skyline is ranked No. 24 in the just released ESPN RISE FAB 50 while Sheldon comes in at No. 50.
Greg Biggins covers recruiting on the West Coast for ESPN.com.
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