After winning the Rose Bowl in 2015 Stanford has their sights set on loftier goals in the coming season, which starts with a solid offseason of signing young talent to the squad. Let’s dive into this great pool of talent Stanford has collected and take a look at a few players that will make an immediate impact.
Arguably the biggest signing for Stanford this offseason is four-star quarterback KJ Costello out of Santa Margarita Catholic. He stands 6’4” and weighs in at 213 Ibs. He threw for 2,347 yards and 18 touchdowns his senior year along with averaging 239.6 yards per game.
After watching film on Costello one of the first things that jumps out is the arm strength. He consistently is asked to throw deep, and over and over again he delivers with bombs. However he is not just tossing the ball up for grabs, he can throw downfield with accuracy so that he can hit receivers in stride as opposed to only throwing jump balls. He also does a good job working through his progressions and not panicking when the first or second read is covered.
There is, however, a few things that he’ll need to work on while he is waiting to start. The first is that he had a really good offensive line which means there are not a lot of times he was under pressure. Now Stanford has always had solid offensive line play but when they face top tier defensive linemen there will be that variable of him not really having a lot of experience against an elite pass rush.
The second problem is despite the great numbers he did not shine when down or in crisis. In a game which Costello and company were leading 14-7 at half time, they ended up losing 62-14 while being unable to muster any offense in the second half. However, despite these few red flags, the arm and quarterback IQ paired with great footwork and size make him a promising player.
Then there is three-star running back Trevor Speights who just came off a fantastic senior season with 3,195 yards and 50 - yes 50 - touchdowns at McAllen Memorial High Shcool. He is explosive and has a knack for getting out of sticky situations. He has a lot of wiggle and slides between tacklers. Despite only being 5’11” he is also a very powerful runner and often bounces off the first attempted tackle, he is also a terrific asset in pass blocking. With a year to sit under McCaffery, lookout for Speights to make plays whenever he hits the field and bust out in 2017.
On the defensive side the Cardinal have added a stud four-star corner back in Treyjohn Butler who had 40 tackles and 16 passes defended in his senior season at Etiwanda High School. Do not underestimate Butler because of his 5’11”, 190 Ib frame. He is an instinctive ball hawk who can play off man zone, of press coverage. He also has great make up speed along with a 34 inch vertical. When watching film on Butler it brings to mind pro bowl NFL corner back Brent Grimes who can play with big receivers despite his size.
My favorite prospect in this class is four-star outside linebacker Curtis Robinson out of Mater Dei High School. Last season he had 55 tackles, 17 hurries, 18.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 10 sacks, 7 passes defended and an interception. He makes crazy plays all over the field, crushing quarterbacks for sacks or to force incompletions. He is fast enough to play out in coverage or crash the quarterback from way outside on a delayed blitz. On one play he hurried the quarterback who managed to dump it to the running back, then he went and tackled the running back for a loss. He is a great talent and will make plays when he gets on the turf.