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Football Recruits Ranked Among Best in the Country

Head Coach David Shaw will start the 2012 season with an elite freshman class.

Photo: Don Feria/

By Kevin Cool

Stanford football coach David Shaw usually resists hyperbole and his temperature seldom seems to rise above 98.6. But his subdued demeanor could not temper the sense of giddy excitement emanating from the room yesterday when Shaw rolled out the recruiting class of 2012 at a press conference.

Buoyed by a stellar collection of offensive linemen, Stanford's class can legitimately be characterized as elite. ranked Stanford’s group of recruits No. 5 in the nation; placed it as No. 6. Shaw doesn't put much stock in those rankings, but there is no disagreement that the class is one of the best in school history.

It has breadth—blue chip athletes at linebacker (Noor Davis, of Florida), defensive back (Alex Carter, of Virginia), defensive line (Aziz Shittu, from Atwater, Calif.), wide receiver (Kodi Whitfield, son of Bob, '93, one of the top offensive linemen in school history, from Los Angeles), and running back (Barry Sanders, who spurned his famous father's alma mater at Oklahoma State to come west) to name a few.

And it has depth. Seven highly rated offensive linemen, including four-star recruits Graham Shuler, Nick Davidson, Kyle Murphy and Joshua Garnett, and Andrus Peat, considered the top offensive tackle in the country by ESPN. Shuler was in the fold early; Garnett signed a few days ago. If the Cardinal had gotten either Murphy or Peat to join them, it was going to be a top 15 class. They got both. Now it's a class for the ages. (See the entire list below.)

Shaw, '94, was careful to note that there are already some very good players on the roster who will compete for positions, but he hinted that some of the freshmen could play right away. Sometimes freshmen must grow and get stronger before stepping into a full-time role. That may not be an issue for these guys: Peat, for example, is 6'7", 305 pounds.

And Shaw lauded "the class and character" of the recruits. "They understand that this is not going to be easy," he said.

There are no other quarterbacks among this year's recruits, but Shaw noted that he and his staff are already feeling good about their prospects for 2013. He said Stanford is in the mix for "four of the top five" quarterback recruits in next year’s crop.

It was a big day for Shaw, who joked that "for some reason I was wide awake at 3:15" a.m. This may be Silicon Valley, and Stanford may be a cauldron of innovation, but Shaw and his staff were relying on a balky technology that dates to the 1980s as they awaited letters from their final signees. "This is the one day a year where the fax machine is the most important piece of equipment in the office."

This class is meaningful for another reason: It signals Shaw's emergence from Jim Harbaugh's shadow. When a reporter asked whether Harbaugh should get some of the credit, Shaw graciously offered "some," but this is Shaw's class, and marks his arrival as a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-12 and beyond.


2012 Letter of Intent Signees

Alex Carter, cornerback, 6-0, 195, Ashburn, Va.

Johhny Caspers, offensive line, 6-4, 285, Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Conner Crane, wide receiver, 6-4, 190, Lantana, Texas.

Nick Davidson, offensive line, 6-7, 285, Eden Prairie, Minn.

Noor Davis, linebacker, 6-4, 235, Leesburg, Fla.

Brandon Fanaika, offensive line, 6-3, 320, Pleasant Grove, Utah.

Joshua Garnett, offensive line, 6-5, 305, Puyallup, Wash.

Zach Hoffpauir, safety, 6-0, 210, Glendale, Ariz.

Dontonio Jordan, wide receiver, 5-11, 185, Hickory Creek, Texas.

Luke Kaumatule, defensive end, 6-7, 260, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Nate Lohn, defensive end, 6-3, 265, Kansas City, Mo.

Drew Madhu, safety, 6-1, 196, Tampa, Fla.

Blake Martinez, linebacker, 6-2, 235, Tucson, Ariz.

Kyle Murphy, offensive line, 6-7, 278, San Clemente, Calif.

Ikenna Nwafor, defensive tackle, 6-6, 300, Irving, Texas.

Andrus Peat, offensive line, 6-7, 305, Tempe, Ariz.

Michael Rector, wide receiver, 6-1, 185, Gig Harbor, Wash.

Barry Sanders, running back, 5-10, 185, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Aziz Shittu, defensive end, 6-3, 275, Atwater, Calif.

Graham Shuler, offensive line, 6-4, 277, Franklin, Tenn.

Jordan Watkins, defensive end, 6-5, 265, Decatur, Ga.

Kodi Whitfield, wide receiver, 6-2, 195, Los Angeles, Calif.


Editor's note: The original version of this article misnamed Jameis Winston and Alex Carter.


Comments (3)

  • Mr. Ralf Owen III

    thanks for this i love Jameis' ^^

    Posted by Mr. Ralf Owen III on Feb 16, 2012 4:22 PM

  • Mr. Kevin Devine

    It's 'Jameis' Winston (aka 'Jaboo') and I'd be stunned if he went anywhere besides Florida State, where he's committed but not signed.

    Posted by Mr. Kevin Devine on Feb 2, 2012 5:50 PM

  • Ms. Lauren Sickles

    It's Alex Carter, not Adam.  And Peat is a five star recruit.

    Posted by Ms. Lauren Sickles on Feb 2, 2012 8:27 PM


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