Stanford added one of the nation’s premiere road graters as five-star offensive tackle Walker Little chose the Cardinal over Texas on Friday afternoon in front of family and friends at Houston Episcopal High School.
Blessed to say I am Committed to Stanford University!!! #cardclass17 pic.twitter.com/a6apgM7aZT— Walker Little (@walkerlittle45) December 16, 2016
Little is a massive physical specimen with his 6-foot-8, 305-pound frame. His size is his greatest strength, as he is taller than most defensive ends and outside linebackers, allowing him more leverage in pass protection.
However, the main attraction for Little is his ability to “wreck shop”, as Episcopal head coach Steve Leisz said at Little’s commitment ceremony, as a run-blocker. His hands and upper body are a unique weapon in tossing defenders aside like rag dolls. His individual play for the Knights this season yielded a 9-2 record before a first round playoff exit.
While the Texas Longhorns and new coach Tom Herman made a strong late push to land Little in the last month, the nation’s No. 4 tackle now becomes the second offensive lineman to join #CardClass17 alongside Palma’s Drew Dalman. However, Walker is an early candidate to earn a starting role in the Tunnel Workers’ Union next fall.
It will be very interesting to observe the ripple effect this will have on the rest of the recruiting landscape.
Texas now has to move on in finding another top edge protector to keep current freshman Shane Buechele and 2017 commit Sam Ehlinger upright for their careers in burnt orange.
Additionally, gauging Stanford’s position with Foster Sarell, the only offensive line prospect ranked higher than Little, becomes increasingly muddled. Both the Cardinal and the Washington Huskies are the presumed leaders for the prize of the Pacific Northwest. however, if Stanford can can somehow pull off securing Sarell, it sets itself up to field the nation’s best offensive line two to three years down the road.
Sarell, current true freshman Nate Herbig and 2017 commits Little and Dalman can be a special group, possibly the most anticipated unit to roll through Palo Alto. However, this quartet only materializes if Sarell selects Palo Alto when he commits during the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio on January 7.
Regardless of Sarell’s decision, Walker Little has a very high floor and an even higher ceiling. His physical attributes and skills check off every box on David Shaw’s “Prototypical Stanford Offensive Lineman” checklist. If he plays to his potential, the Stanford faithful could be hearing his name called inside the top ten of the 2019 NFL Draft.
BONUS: Here’s a small sampling of the online reaction after Little’s decision. First, the other Stanford commits sound off:
#CardClass17 is going to be ELITE. Shoutout to @walkerlittle45 for joining the movement. Can't wait to ball out with you brother✊— Colby Parkinson (@CJ51) December 16, 2016
#CardClass17 is special. Congrats on the commitment @walkerlittle45 ! now all we need is @thebigfozbear— osiris (@osiristbrown) December 16, 2016
#CardClass17 just picked up a huge commitment in @walkerlittle45!! Congrats brother— Davis Mills (@Millsions) December 16, 2016
BIG DAWG! @walkerlittle45 Congrats brother! #CardClass17— Stu Head (@TheStuartHead) December 16, 2016
Offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren was super excited about unwrapping his first Christmas present early:
"Big" get for #CardClass17!— Mike Bloomgren (@mbloom11) December 16, 2016
Happy to receive my 1st present of the holiday season.
Bleacher Report’s Tyler Donohue sees the pieces for a pretty great recruiting class slowly coming together for the Cardinal:
Love what #Stanford is doing offensively in 2017 cycle. 5-star QB, 5-star OT, top-ranked TE, blue-chip prospects at RB and WR. Impressive pic.twitter.com/tbV5WZACwh— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) December 16, 2016
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