Christmas is a time where people gather with their friends and family and talk about what is happening in their lives and to be appreciative of one another. On this Christmas Eve, Stanford's football family just got a little bit bigger. Stuart Head of Woodstock, Georgia, committed to play for Stanford. Head was recruited by defensive backs coach Duane Akina and by DC Lance Anderson. Anderson also recruited Sione Lund which makes Anderson directly responsible for 2 out of the 3 2017 recruits. Stuart Head also had offers from Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and many others.
Stuart Head stands at 6'4" and weighs about 190 lbs. The average height in the NFL for a safety is 5'10", so Head is in a league of his own. There are quite a few advantages being 6'4" for a safety. One advantage is being almost evenly matched when defending a TE. Having someone that can matchup well against a tight end is a huge bonus for a team. Tight Ends and running backs can cause the most problems when matching up and now being able to eliminate one mismatch is huge for the Card. To match up well against a TE one needs length, strength, and speed. Head has the length part down and his speed is adequate. He just needs to get stronger, but he has another year until he is off to Palo Alto. With the tight end landscape changing from more of a blocking TE to a pass catching one, having someone tall enough and skilled enough to cover them makes the defenses life a lot easier.
Another advantage of Head's size is his ability to be better in the run defense. Head can plug up holes due to his height and his tackle range is significantly bigger than someone who is the average size for a safety. Head can reinforce the run defense by his big frame. He can plug up holes if he is blitzing or if he is playing close to the line. Head so unconventionally tall that he can use his big frame to widen his tackling range and ultimately bring down more ball carriers. Head is physical at the point of attack and has incredible range already, so when he gets to Stanford that is something he can't lose.
I can see Head switching to more of a run defender role in the Stanford defense. He could switch over to strong safety, which would allow him to be more active in the run defense but he can also still cover the TE when he is needed. One guy that Head can really model his game after would be George Iloka. Iloka is a strong safety for the Cincinnati Bengals and plays as a physical run defender.
Check out Stuart Head's highlights courtesy of Hudl and also check out the 2017 recruiting class: