We finally know the College Football Playoff committee's final four and the beginning of bowl season is just over a week away. However, the beginning of December also brings with it an uptick in the recruiting rumor mill.
As high school football players around the country end their seasons, college coaching staffs begin to check off their lists for the Class of 2017. David Shaw and company have been out on the recruiting trail all season, and more than a handful of top players have Stanford in their top choices.
Here are the Cardinal targets Stanford will be focusing on the most up until Signing Day in February:
Foster Sarell - Graham-Kapowsin (Graham, WA) offensive tackle
Sarell has narrowed his options to five (as of Nov. 23): Stanford, Washington, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Alabama.
The leader in the clubhouse appears to be the Huskies, and Chris Petersen isn't cutting corners in attempting to lure the nation's number one offensive tackle to Seattle, and it has shown. Sarell became the first recruit the Washington head coach has ever gone to see in a helicopter when Petersen flew in for an early September game.
Good news? National recruiting experts are in consensus in the fact that this will be a two-team race: Washington and Stanford. While Sarell hasn't been academically accepted into Stanford yet, he has emphasised the importance of academics in his college choice repeatedly.
He originally thought before the season began that a decision might come around this time (late November or early December), but plans have changed. The five-star senior will be one of the lucky few to announce his decision at the Army All-American Game on January 7.
Walker Little - Houston Episcopal (Bellaire, TX) offensive tackle
Stanford may have a little more luck in stealing Walker Little away from Texas, Florida State and Ole Miss. This brewing battle is also expected to be a two-team struggle featuring the Cardinal and the Longhorns.
The new Texas staff, specifically assistants Derek Warehime and Oscar Giles, made it a priority to visit with the top tackle in the Lone Star State last Thursday night ahead Walker's official visit to Austin this past weekend. Little is set to visit Stanford on January 13.
A change in the coaching regime may affect the Horns' standing in Little's eyes, especially being the only contending program for his services in his home state. We'll just have to see how it plays out.
- Cheshire Academy (Conn.) five-star Tarik Black and Cathedral (Los Angeles, Calif.) four-star Jamire Calvin are both game-breaking players. However, both game-breaking wideouts are focusing and leaning elsewhere. According to 247Sports, Black is a heavy Michigan lean after his interest in Stanford seems to have cooled off. Calvin is predicted to land somewhere in the Midwest at either Nebraska or Notre Dame, the latter of which he will take an official visit to this weekend.
- Five-star quarterback and current Cardinal commit Davis Mills was listed as the No. 4 overall prospect in the newly-updated Rivals100 rankings.
- Vidalia (Ga.) middle linebacker Nate McBride has stuck with his pair of co-leaders, Oregon and the home-state Georgia Bulldogs, throughout his senior season. McBride took an official visit to Athens this past weekend and doesn't seem to be looking at Stanford as an option.
- Pope John XXIII (N.J.) defensive tackle Dalyn Wade-Perry seems to be trending in Stanford's direction. The 6'3", 341-pound inside gap-clogger is the state of New Jersey's eighth overall prospect and would be helpful reinforcements with the graduation of Jordan Watkins on the defensive line.
- On the topic of keeping the cupboard thoroughly stocked, Timpview (Utah) defensive back Chaz Ah You named Stanford as a top-12 school back in August. Unfortunately, fellow Pac-12ers UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Utah and Washington are also in the running. Ah You, who will go on a two-year mission after he graduates from Timpview, won't return to the school of his choosing until at least 2019. Safety is a position where Stanford is particularly young, with Dallas Lloyd and Zach Hoffpauir both graduating after this year.