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Stanford football recruiting: Previewing the 2017 Recruiting Class

The Cardinal locked up one of their best recruiting classes in team history, but now it is time to start over. The next recruiting cycle is here, and this is an in-depth look at the future of Stanford football

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

While Stanford finished with a top 20 class in all three major recruiting services, the process starts all over again. Stanford's 2016 class is filled with talent and depth at the offensive line position. Although no one team can have too many offensive linemen, one can make an assumption that the coaching staff will not be recruiting offensive line as hard as other positions. The 2016 class consisted of 26 commits, 2 of which are going on their 2-year LDS mission (Simi Fehoko and Tangaloa Kaufusi) and one more I going to prep school first (Bailey McElwain). This means Stanford only gave out 23 scholarships which is quite normal and it won't count against them in the 2017 class. It can be for Stanford to focus on a specific goal (retaining the top talent in California or continuing to build a pipeline in Texas, for example) because they have to recruit the brightest and most athletic kids in the nation. With that being said, Stanford should continue to impose their intellectual brutality on the field and on the recruiting trails.

Current Verbal Commits

RB Sione Heimuli-Lund

Heimuli-Lund is a 4-star commit from the great state of Utah. He currently attends Brighton High School which is the same school 2016 WR commit Simi Fehoko attends. Heimuli-Lund was the first 2017 recruit to commit to Stanford while holding offers from schools such as: BYU, Michigan, and Washington. His commitment just proves; DC Lance Taylor has been dominating recruiting the top talent in the state of Utah. Check out his highlights courtesy of Hudl:

TE Colby Parkinson

Parkinson was the second domino to drop in this 2017 class. He is a local product and attends football powerhouse Oaks Christian High School. 4-star Parkinson committed just one day after Stanford offered him because it was a dream school for him. He is the 2nd highest rated tight end and another highly touted tight end for Stanford. People know Stanford is known for their excellent tight end play, attracting recruits who know that Stanford will highlight their strengths and push them onto the next level. Check out his highlights courtesy of Hudl:

S Stu Head

Head, a 3-star from Etowah High School in Woodstock, GA, was the third commit of the 2017 class. He had offers from Cal, Duke, and Nebraska. Head is an unusual safety because he stands at 6-4. This makes him gigantic compared to the NFL average of 5-10. Head could be switched to a more fitting position such as wide receiver, but it is too early to tell. Georgia has been another state Stanford has been continually recruiting. Aside from the 2016 recruiting class, Stanford has had a commit from the Peach State every year since 2007. Check out his highlights courtesy of Hudl:

Top 2017 Offered Targets

CB Darnay Holmes

Holmes is a 5-star product from Calabasas High School in Calabasas, CA. He is the number two player in the state and he is nationally ranked as the best cornerback in his class. Holmes has narrowed down his recruitment to Alabama, Arizona, Nebraska, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA, and Washington. He will be announcing his decision on his birthday, June 23rd.

S Jeffrey Okudah

Another 5-star in Stanford's view is Jeffrey Okudah. He reigns from Stanford's second best recruiting state, Texas. In Texas, he is the second highest ranked recruit, but at safety he is the best in the country. Okudah is a wanted man, he already has 32 offers, most notably from Ohio State, Baylor, Alabama, and Georgia. Okudah would be a solid recruit and another example of how well Stanford recruits Texas.

OT Foster Sarell

Sarell is a big boy from The Evergreen State. The 5-star offensive tackle attends Graham Kapowsin High School in Graham, WA. Sarell is another Stanford target who is very highly rated. He is the number one recruit in Washington and the number three offensive tackle in the class. But without filtering the rankings, he is the number eight recruit in the class. Experts expect him to pick Washington, but Stanford and Oregon are also in the running.

APB J.K. Dobbins

Texas has become a huge pipeline state for Stanford. Luckily, J.K. Dobbins is apart of that pipeline. He attends La Grange High School in La Grange, TX and is currently a 4-star prospect. Stanford has a lot of competition between the heavy favorites: Oklahoma and Texas. In an impressive junior season, Dobbins accumulated 2741 yards and scored 35 TDs. Even though Stanford already has a running back in this class, Dobbins could be key if Christian McCaffrey forgoes his senior season.

QB Jake Bentley

Bentley is the son of the legendary high school coach Bobby Bentley. Bobby Bentley was a coach at Auburn, but is now the running backs coach at South Carolina. Naturally, his son is drawn to USC as one of his top landing places, but the 4-star recruit also is looking at Stanford, Auburn, and Clemson. The Alabama native has great size at 6-4 and is the 4th best pro-style QB in the nation. Beating out Bobby Bentley for his son's talent will be hard, but if someone could do it, it would be Lance Taylor.

QB Davis Mills

Mills is another 4-star quarterback on Stanford's radar. He is from Norcross, GA and he is currently enrolled at Greater Atlanta Christian School. The 13th best player in Georgia is the most likely candidate to pledge his commitment to Stanford, but Michigan and UCLA seem to be right on the heels. Nationally, Mills is the 5th ranked pro-style passer which is just one behind Jake Bentley. Quarterback might not be a huge need for Stanford because when these recruits arrive on campus Ryan Burns will have one year of eligibility left, Chryst will have two, and Costello will have all four. That being said, I bet Stanford would rather be safe than sorry.

WDE Jaelan Phillips

The second California target on this list is Jaelan Phillips. Phillips is a junior at Redlands East Valley in Redlands, CA. He is the 27th ranked recruit in the state and also is the 16th ranked weak-side defensive end. He is also a 4-star prospect. Stanford will be fending off fellow Pac-12 teams Oregon, Washington, and UCLA for Phillips's commitment.

WR Osiris St. Brown

Brown was recently offered by Stanford. He is a 4-star out of Mater Dei High School, the same high school as 2016 OLB Curtis Robinson, in Anaheim, CA. Brown is a top 20 wide receiver and a top 10 talent in the state, so locking him up would be huge for Stanford. He has also received interest from Notre Dame, USC, and Michigan.

CB Elijah Molden

Molden is the third defensive back recruit Stanford is targeting. The 4-star recruit is from West Linn, OR and attends West Linn High School. According to Molden, Stanford is "one of [his] dream schools", so hopefully Stanford can use that to its advantage. There isn't much talent in Oregon, so Molden is by far the most talented prospect in the state. His rank among cornerbacks is also impressive, he is 14th. His two other offers besides Stanford are Washington and Oregon.

S Chaz Ah You

Ah You is another great prospect out of Utah. He is 4-star recruit from Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs, UT. The secondary coach, Duane Akina, will be heading up his recruitment, but Lance Anderson will probably be heavily involved as well. Ah You is another defensive back target, who is ranked within the top 10 at his position. In Utah he is ranked as the second best football player, but he can move up later on in the recruiting season. Other schools who have offered Ah You are: Oregon, UCLA, and Michigan.

S Damani Neal

Neal is ranked as a 4-star recruit from Sterling, VA. Neal may be from Virginia, he actually goes to school in Potomac, Maryland, The Bullis School. Stanford can continue it's surge to recruit the northeast of the country by getting Neal to commit. He is a top 10 recruit in Virginia and a top 25 recruit at safety. Other schools who are looking into Neal are: Penn State, Maryland, and Rutgers. This is a crucial recruiting class for defensive backs, the young secondary Stanford has now will all be seniors or graduated by the time Molden, Holmes, Okudah, Ah You, or Neal arrive on campus.

DT Dalyn Wade-Perry

Wade-Perry is probably the most likely 2017 recruit to commit. He is a 3-star defensive tackle, just two points off from a 4-star mark, from Englewood, NJ where he attends Pope John XXIII. Due to his 22 offers, Wade-Perry is another highly sought after recruit who is both top 25 at his position and top 10 in his state. Stanford is the expected landing sport for Wade-Perry, but they will be battling Notre Dame, Alabama, and Ohio State.

Top Non-Offered 2017 Targets

TE Jimmy Jaggers

Stanford brought in three tight ends last class (actually, two if you don't count Tangaloa Kaufusi because he will be going on his LDS mission), but that won't deter Stanford from adding more. Jaggers is a local product from Roseville High School. He is a high ranking 4-star recruit and comes in at seven for the top ranking tight ends. Stanford already has Colby Parkinson, the number two ranked tight end, but adding another wouldn't hurt. As of now, Jaggers only has 12 offers and the most prominent offers are from Michigan, Washington, and Louisville.

WR Austin Williams

Williams is from the state of Mississippi where he attends Ocean Springs High School. Williams is directly in the middle of SEC country, but Stanford has their eye on him. He is not a high ranking recruit, but he is a top end 3-star recruit. Through my colleague at ForWhomTheCowbellsToll, he is Mississippi State's to lose, but an offer from Stanford could change that. Other interested schools are Alabama, Florida State, and Ole Miss.

QB Dylan McCaffrey

The name might sound familiar, but if it doesn't let me remind you. Dylan McCaffrey is the younger brother of Stanford's RB/WR/KR/PR/QB Christian McCaffrey. Dylan McCaffrey is from Littleton, Colorado where plays for Valor Christian High School. McCaffrey is the second best pro-style quarterback in the class and the best football player in Colorado. Other than Stanford, Michigan and Duke (where his brother Luke plays wide receiver plays) have been linked to little McCaffrey. Michigan is the trendy pick for him, but Stanford still hasn't offered him. I believe the game will change when he gets his Stanford offer.

There is something that is quite noticeable about the targets Stanford has their eye on. It is the fact that there aren't any linebackers in this list. Stanford has offered some inside linebackers, but the recruits aren't really interested in the offer. With five linebackers on the current roster leaving within the next two years and the combination of Stanford not recruiting one in the 2016 class, they will need to make sure they recruit some to the 2017 class. Just based on a depth perspective they need to recruit inside linebackers.

As you can see, Stanford has a plate full of 4- and 5-star recruits. It is also incredibly early in the recruiting process, so people will be taken off of Stanford's board and others will be added on. The recruiting process is so fickle and unpredictable that recruits will come and go as they please. The 2017 recruiting season is just starting up and Stanford has lined up a great group of targets; it will be interesting to see who will join the the intellectual brutality movement.