Stanford added on to a solid class on Friday, with four-star running back Bryce Love spurned offers from the like of UNC, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee to sign with the Cardinal.
The Wake Forest native was 247 Sports' #6 overall all-purpose back in the class of 2015.
Love brings blazing speed to the table for Coach David Shaw, checking in with a stellar 4.30 40 time. However, he has a small 5'10", 180-pound frame that will seemingly put him on a crowed list of several similar running backs in Palo Alto, including Barry Sanders and Christian McCaffrey. He is a well-built athlete, but certainly is not Toby Gerhart. Love's frame does not fit the typical Stanford system very well, but with Shaw possibly starting to open up the offense, it'll be interesting to see how to coaching staff deploys him. Shaw would love (pun intended) to have all of the offensive firepower he can get his hands on.
From looking at his tape, Love seems to have more strength than his numbers suggest. He could be a stronger version of De'Anthony Thomas or even Sanders for the Cardinal, with his quick cuts and lateral movement reminiscent of the former Oregon back and the son of a legend. Love seems to be very patient waiting for holes to open up on the offensive line, something Stanford backs not named Christian McCaffrey struggled with last season.
Love could be used in a hybrid role, returning kicks, playing in the slot, and taking outside runs out of the backfield. He has great vision, but he could work on continuing to push after the initial hit and running inside the tackles. Clearly, Love does not have the size to do so effectively, but adding bulk could help the young back.
Although Love might seem like a player poised to succeed better in an open, spread offense like most other Pac-12 teams, the success of Christian McCaffrey in Stanford's system may mean that there are bright things in the future for Love.