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Football: Card lands two more big verbal commitments

Stanford football made a big splash at the end of its main official visit weekend, landing verbal commitments from two of its top four remaining targets in the class of 2013.

De La Salle (Concord) senior tight end Austin Hooper and Harvard-Westlake (Studio City) senior center Thomas Oser both committed early this week after spending the weekend visiting Stanford. Hooper, a four-star recruit and member of the ESPN300, could provide immediate help at the recently vacated tight end position for the Cardinal in 2013.

Hooper had narrowed his focus to Bay Area rivals Stanford and Cal. Most did not expect a final decision for at least a few weeks, pending a Stanford admissions decision, but Stanford accepted Hooper on Friday. Once he had been accepted, Hooper decided to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, Greg Hooper, who played fullback for Stanford in the ‘80s.

Oser, referred to by many recruiting experts as “a true center,” will also join a positional group looking to replace its starter, senior Sam Schwartzstein. Coming into the weekend, Oser was still deciding between Oregon, Vanderbilt and Stanford, but after two days on the Farm, Oser was ready to commit to David Shaw on Sunday.

“Stanford was just a perfect fit,” Oser said Sunday night. “It’s a combination of a great program, great academics and great people. It’s an amazing place that really felt like home.”

Stanford’s 2013 recruiting class now has 12 verbal commitments. With National Signing Day just over three weeks away, the Cardinal is close to wrapping up its class. Stanford has two big battles remaining, tight end Durham Smythe (Belton, Texas) and wide receiver Devon Allen (Phoenix, Ariz.).

Smythe, the nation’s sixth-ranked tight end, recently de-committed from Texas, opening the door for Stanford. The consensus among recruiting experts is that if Smythe is admitted, he will pick Stanford. With Stanford’s 2013 tight end problems, Smythe could be a difference maker from day one on the Farm.

Devon Allen is also an intriguing prospect for Stanford’s 2013 plans. Though his strength has yet to fully develop, Allen’s speed has coaches drooling. He is the Arizona state record holder in the 110m and 300m hurdles, and is looking to also run track in college.

Though Stanford relied more heavily on its departing tight ends, specifically Zach Ertz, this season, Stanford might lean on its receiving corps to replace Ertz and company. Ertz lined up at wide receiver for many plays this season as Stanford struggled to find capable replacements for Griff Whalen ‘12 and Chris Owusu ’12.

With or without Devon Allen, Stanford does have at least one heralded wide receiver in its committed class of 2013. Chris Owusu’s little brother, Frances, is verbally committed to play wide receiver for Stanford next year.

Overall, Stanford’s class is ranked 38th in the nation by ESPN, which is a step down from 2012’s 12th overall ranking. However, this ranking is a bit misleading, deflated by the small size of Stanford’s class, which is limited by the number of scholarships Stanford has available.

Because seniors Ben Gardner, Shayne Skov, Trent Murphy and Usua Amanam, among others, decided to return to Stanford for a fifth year, the Cardinal won’t have room on the roster, or on the field, for nearly as many freshman as 2012. That’s a trade most Stanford fans would gladly take.

About Sam Fisher

Sam Fisher is the managing editor of sports for The Stanford Daily's Vol. 244. Sam also does play-by-play for KZSU's coverage of Stanford football, Stanford baseball and Stanford women's basketball. In 2013, Sam co-authored "Rags to Roses: The Rise of Stanford Football," with Joseph Beyda and George Chen.
  • Alvin

    Why isn’t Smythe and Allen admitted by now? What’s Admissions doing, taking their sweet time? They’ll get to it, when they get to it? Bunch of lazy paper pushers. These guys would be admitted in a heartbeat at any other Pac-12 or D-1 school – with or without an application.

    This is a disgrace – I don’t think Notre Dame or USC is holding up any recruits. They even allow early admits to enroll in the spring. We don’t even admit JC recruits or other transfers. And why does Admissions get to decide? Yeah, like I’m sure Alabama or Oregon is at the mercy of the Admissions Department when it comes to their football recruits. Please, the Athletic Department makes the call at those places.

  • Dexter

    Did you even go to Stanford? Why would the school admit recruits that are just going to fail out and become ineligible after the first year? There are more important things than football to consider when accepting someone to the university.

  • Alvin

    You think you speak for Stanford students, alum, and fans? Try attending an alumni event. The main topic of discussion – after the exchange of pleasantries – is Stanford football.
    You’re wrong. The only things to consider when handing out a FOOTBALL scholarship, from an admissions standpoint, is does he meet minimum NCAA requirements. The rest can be taken care of by creating “easy” majors and classes for the “marginal” student-athletes so they don’t flunk out.
    The football recruits should be given top priority by the admissions office – assuming they should have any oversight – before the regular applicants. Signing day is approaching.

  • Tom

    There are so many more important things to the university than lowering it’s academic standards for football applicants. Football recruits shouldn’t be given any special precedence over the future gold medal winners or the potential future Nobel laureates that make our university great. If you want to worry about the minimum NCAA standards and just the football program go support the SEC. Stanford’s donations from alumni are so much more than just the donations to the athletic program

  • ’94

    as far as i can tell, stanford has not created “easy” majors and classes for the “marginal” student-athletes, and stanford football has been doing quite well. i would argue that the intelligence of our football players is a competitive advantage with complex play design.

  • Candid One

    Stanford is on-track for its 19th consecutive NACDA Director’s Cup on the basis of the rest of Stanford’s 35 varsity sports teams. Football isn’t and hasn’t been the Prima Donna sport at Stanford. Stanford has 4/5-star recruits in many other sports, including current and future Olympians. Stanford is also the smallest school in its conference, which means that 3/4-star football recruits have lots of competition for a tight-squeeze admissions situation. Stanford has been producing its share, and more, of Rhodes Scholars in recent years. Andrew Luck was a high school valedictorian; if he hadn’t been so strong academically, he may never have been admitted. Stanford is the heart of Silicon Valley, in a profoundly symbiotic relationship. Sports are valued at Stanford but not as a primary product.

  • Candid One

    Stanford is an engineering school, literally on par with MIT. Its academic strength and clout reside in Stanford’s School of Engineering, not in the Athletics Dept. Its School of Humanities & Sciences gets much more attentiveness from the Admissions Office than from the Athletics Dept. Leeway to an athlete for athletic prowess–on a campus that produces entrepreneurial startups from undergrads and more than its share of Rhodes Scholars–is a non-starter.

  • Dexter

    I agree there are more important things than athletics to worry about, I strongly disagree that Stanford is “an engineering school”. This is simply not true. We have an engineering school that is very successful but the university has MUCH more going on. Actually most students are in humanities and sciences. And don’t forget our business, education, law, and medical schools in the graduate realm.

  • Alvin

    When can we expect a follow-up article. “FOOTBALL: CARD LOSES TWO TOP PROSPECTS.” With a subtitle: “WHILE ADMISSIONS LOLLYGAGS AND TAKES SWEET TIME.”
    And maybe a quote from one of the recruits. “SCHOOL X (Notre Dame, Oregon) told me they had one scholarship open and no issues with admittance, and I hadn’t received my acceptance letter from Stanford, so I chose SCHOOL X…I didn’t want to wait another week or two and lose out on my second or third choices so close to signing day.”