After turning in the 14th ranked recruiting class in 2014 according to Rivals.com - good for 2nd in the PAC 12 - Stanford will have to finish strong on the recruiting trail leading up to National Signing Day on Wednesday, February 4 to have a top ranked class once again.
David Shaw and his staff have already made a splash in recent weeks by signing receiver Trent Irwin, a highly coveted playmaker out of Newhall, CA who is rated as the 42nd overall prospect in the nation by Rivals. If Shaw wants to keep the momentum going, this weekend will be paramount as nearly a dozen uncommitted prospects were on hand to take in Silicon Valley and The Farm on official visits. In light of the big weekend, lets take a look at a couple of Stanford's top targets.
Frank Buncom IV - 4-star Defensive Back, Saint Augustine HS (San Diego, CA)
Signing Buncom would be a major coup for Stanford as he's a top 200 recruit nationally according to both ESPN.com and Rivals. The San Diego native has good size at 6'2 and just under 200 pounds with the ability to be a run stopper, while also having the athleticism to be strong in coverage. The senior defensive back hails from a strong football lineage as his grandfather Frank Buncom Jr. was a 3-time AFL All-Star linebacker for the San Diego Chargers in the 1960's. Having already received a verbal commitment from 4-star safety Ben Edwards - 13th ranked safety by ESPN - in late December, secondary coach Duane Akina would love to parlay that with a commitment from Buncom. The talented prospect is also considering Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, and will visit Cal next weekend.
Cardinal Comparison: Jordan Richards
Bryce Love - 4-star All-purpose back, Wake Forest HS (Wake Forest, NC)
Although Love doesn't fit the mold of a typical Stanford workhorse back a la Stepfan Taylor, Tyler Gaffney, or Toby Gerhart, he is an elite athlete that could potentially be a weapon coming out of the backfield. Love is an accomplished sprinter and has the frame at 5'10 180 pounds to put on enough size and strength to be a complimentary change-of-pace back for the Cardinal in the future. Landing Love would add to an already impressive group of promising young backs that include Christian McCaffrey and 2015's top rated tailback in California, Cameron Scarlett. Stanford is competing with UNC, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech for the explosive back. Love - an excellent student - confirmed on January 10th via Twitter that he had been accepted to Stanford.
Cardinal Comparison: Kelsey Young
Jordan Fox - 3-star Linebacker, St. Peters Prep (Jersey City, N.J)
From Shayne Skov to Chase Thomas to AJ Tarpley, one constant in Stanford's meteoric rise to the upper echelon of college football is strong play at linebacker, and locking up the hard-hitting New Jersey native would help to keep that tradition alive. At 6'3 and 221 pounds, Fox has outstanding size and is a versatile player, possessing the ability to drop back and play in space while also being a sure tackler and run defender. Perhaps his biggest strength though is coming off the edge and disrupting plays in the backfield, something that Stanford linebackers (like Trent Murphy) have been known for in recent years. Fox's high school coach indicated last weekend that it's a two-horse race for the coveted prospect between Stanford and Virginia, where he will take an official visit next weekend.
Cardinal Comparison: James Vaughters
It will be exciting to watch as these players take their final visits in the coming weeks leading up to Signing Day, and see where they will be heading to school in the Fall.