3-star defensive end Thomas Schaffer decided that the next 4 years of his life will be in Palo Alto. His recruiter was Morgan Turner, according to 247sports, which will make Schaffer Turner's second commit this season (the first being TE Kaden Smith). Schaffer is from Lake Forest, IL and went to Lake Forest Academy. Lake Forest Academy is the same school current Stanford freshman DT Wesley Annan attended. Schaffer had 19 scholarship offers, including Stanford, but in the deciding process he narrowed it down to 3 schools: Stanford, Oregon, and Wisconsin.
After Schaffer's commitment, he talked to 247sports about it: "It's a great school, It's a really good football program as well. They have a very good strength program. I look forward to the future and getting on campus." Also in the same interview his said his official visit was "different" than any other visit he had and the only thing holding him back of making the decision right then was the fact that he needed to talk things over with his family and head coach.
Thomas Schaffer is a big boy. He stands at 6'7" and weighs about 280 lbs. He is already taller and bigger than every DE on Stanford's current 2015 roster. This is a huge plus for Schaffer because now he doesn't have to come in and put on weight, so he can focus more on the defensive scheme. In high school, Schaffer played mostly strong side defensive end, but he also played a little bit of defensive tackle. This versatility is a big plus for any team to have because if someone goes down, just like Harrison Phillips did this year, on the DL Schaffer could fill in no matter which position.
Schaffer's actual technique is pretty good as well. He does a great job getting his hands on the offensive lineman right after the lineman steps back in his drop. His hands are quick which leads to him pushing away the lineman and getting to the quarterback. We he gets into he backfield, his closing speed is unmatched. His long strides are valuable because he takes 3 steps and he is already at the quarterback. His closing speed and quick hands are some of his strong points, but we have to look at some of his weaknesses.
Something that I saw in Schaffer's senior film was his lack of explosiveness in his lower extremities. As a DE you need quick hands and quick feet when the ball is snapped to either cut in between the tackle and the guard or to go outside the tackle. I didn't really see the quick reaction from his feet, it was like his hands did all the work and his feet were just an after thought. They moved, but was more lethargically. The reason why he got around those linemen is because he is so much stronger than them and his quick hands. Explosiveness is something Schaffer should work on.
Check out Thomas Schaffer's highlights courtesy of Hudl.