Last recruiting cycle, Stanford was impressive in recruiting guys from all over the country. As a result, Stanford ranked as the 16th best recruiting class in the nation, which stays consistent with Stanford's record of having a good recruiting class every other year. But wouldn't it be exciting to Stanford churn out great recruiting classes every year? This article demonstrates how Stanford can break the cycle of having down years. These are four ways Stanford can emulate the success of the 2016 class.
Sign the top recruits in Oregon and Washington
Oregon is not known for their elite talent, but this year they have a top cornerback in Elijah Molden. Right now, Molden is 50/50 Oregon and Stanford even with his family connections to Oregon. Molden has visited Stanford and has said academics are incredibly important to him, so it could give Stanford an edge over Oregon going forward, but family ties can be very strong. Going into Oregon to steal their top recruit would be a huge statement for the Cardinal.
The same is true with Washington. 4-star ATH Salvon Ahmed and 5-star OT Foster Sarell are ranked as the 3rd best recruit and top recruit, respectively, in the state of Washington. In 2016, Stanford did not stick to a few states to exclusively recruit, they went all over the country. Being able to sign these recruits will also open important pipelines to these states. Washington is a more important pipeline and if later, recruits see top tier talent leaving the state to attend Stanford, they will do the same. This theory is also applicable to Oregon, although they don't produce as many elite recruits as Washington does. If Stanford wants to build upon the past 2016 class, they have to focus on signing Elijah Molden of Oregon, Salvon Ahmed and Foster Serall of Washington.
Sign half of their top secondary targets
This 2017 class is filled with elite secondary recruits. Elijah Molden has already been broken down, but the other three key recruits are Darnay Holmes of Calabasas (CA), Jeffrey Okudah South Grand Prairie (TX), and Chaz Ah You of Timpview (UT)
Holmes will be a difficult recruit to have sign. At first, he was a Stanford lean, but his teammates at Calabasas have chosen to go to Nebraska and now Nebraska is a serious contender for Holmes. UCLA is another one of major schools recruiting him. Stanford will really have to fight for Holmes, but no one ever said this recruiting thing was easy.
Okudah has offers from 33 other schools so Stanford has major competition escpecially when Texas and Ohio State just two of the schools recruiting him the hardest. Stanford has already established themselves as a force in Texas recruiting; they are coming off of a 2016 recruiting class that boasted six recruits from the Lone Star State. Okudah could become another important member of Stanford's secondary, but Stanford is going to have to fight national powerhouse schools for his letter of intent.
Ah You is a different story, because he is from a state Stanford is already used to recruiting.
Signing Ah You will also prove to be difficult because of his rap sheet of offers. He is leaning towards Oklahoma, but that is something a visit to Stanford can fix. If Stanford can sign at least two of these recruits, it will show other elite recruits getting a degree is just as important constantly being in the hunt for a National Championship.
Keep Picking Up Recruits From SEC Territory
Everyone knows some of the best recruits in the country come from southern schools. Athlon Sports compiled a list of the top states in producing elite talent. Out of the top 10 schools 5 of them are considered to be in SEC territory (Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama). Although California is a hotbed for top recruits, being able to recruit has been a great advantage for Stanford over the last few years. At first it was tough to recruit in the area, but in the last three recruiting classes Stanford has signed ten recruits. In the 2016 recruiting class Stanford signed Malik Antoine (LA), Bo Peek (FL), and will add Bailey McElwain (AL) in the 2017 cycle. This recruiting class Stanford has Georgia standout QB Davis Mills and fellow Georgia recruit DB Stuart Head committed. This is a great start for Stanford, they can capitalize on the pipelines they have built and also improve upon them. Some of the big names Stanford is recruiting, from down south, are: Ryan Johnson (AL), Malcom Askew (AL), Leonard Warner (GA), and Santino Mariol (FL).
Flip, Flip, Flip
Stanford isn't known for their star-studded National Signing Day or picking up major recruits during the All-American Bowls. Stanford silently puts together great recruiting classes; the 2016 class isn't any different. An important aspect that makes up the class are the flips. Stanford flipped five recruits last cycle from major FBS programs (Obi Eboh, Devery Hamilton, Andrew Pryts, Scooter Harrington, and Paxton Segina). Stanford will always need to flip recruits because of the unpredictable nature of the admissions office. Stanford is always going to have decommitments, which is unfortunate, yet true. Being able to reach out to other recruits, who have already committed, and then have them commit to Stanford is a huge and makes the ending weeks fun for Stanford fans. In 2017, there will be some decommitments, but it is how the coaching staff responds, that makes or breaks this class.
There you have it, four things Stanford can do to emulate the recruiting success from 2016. Stanford could end up with another top 20 class if they keep up their recruiting effort. Stanford has already put together a nice class and you can look at them here: