For the college football enthusiasts out there, Cody Brunner’s profile of Stanford’s football program is worth the read on this Friday-eve. Jim Harbaugh revived the Cardinal from the brink of pigskin irrelevance after taking the job in 2006, and left the program in the hands of one of the more underrated coaches in America – his offensive coordinator – David Shaw.
Harbaugh’s departure to the NFL required adjusting, as did Andrew Luck’s, but Shaw has kept the team near the country’s elite with a high pedigree of success including a #4 preseason ranking in 2013. To make an ever-evolving resume even more attractive, he’s one-upped Bill Walsh, Dennis Green or Harbaugh by accomplishing something they never did while employees of Tiger Woods’ alma mater – win the Rose Bowl.
But the resulting effect is that the small pool of recruits that remain – Shaw says his staff focuses on “less than 200″ each year, very low for a D-I school – are equal parts intelligent and athletically gifted. What’s more: They really, really want to be there. Even the stars with NFL-ready talent rarely leave early.
“For us, the challenge is finding those rare kids that are tough, that are fast, that are smart. The kids that fit our culture,” Shaw told Yahoo! Sports. “That’s why we go coast to coast, and that’s the difficult part is we have to go find these kids wherever they may be.”
And since Stanford recruits are in for the long haul, they’ve got no problem putting in extra work – a trait that has paid dividends in a big way over the past six years.
With Mark Helfrich and Oregon in their first year of the post-Kelly era, USC wondering how to get Marqise Lee the ball, Oregon State looking to improve on a 9-4 record in 2012, consider this “required reading” not just for Cardinal diehards, but all Pac-12 fans. Oh, and mark those calendars for Oregon @ Stanford on November 7.
That’s one to clear the Thursday evening schedule for (and possibly taking off work Friday depending how much drinking is involved), especially if their top five rankings can hold court.