After 27 consecutive starts, 34 career games played, three Pac-12 championships and two Rose Bowl victories, senior center Graham Shuler announced on Tuesday via an open letter to the Stanford community that he will hang up his cleats and follow his ambitions outside of football.
“After wrestling with this decision for the last several weeks, I feel a strong sense of empowerment to do something different — to chase my dreams and opportunities outside of football,” Shuler wrote.
In his letter, Shuler explained that Stanford has “empowered me beyond my wildest dreams” and feels an urge to pursue his passions off of the field in a greater capacity around the Stanford community.
He goes on to thank his teammates for their tight-knit brotherhood over the last few years and head coach David Shaw, offensive line coach Mike Bloomgren and strength and conditioning coach Shannon Turley for their contributions in developing him into the player and man he is today.
“This is the biggest step in my journey, because it’s the next step,” Shuler wrote. “I will carry the lessons football has taught me forever.”
After first coming to Stanford in 2012 as part of the legendary recruiting class that brought the best offensive line haul in school history to The Farm, Shuler redshirted his freshman season before seeing time as an extra offensive lineman in Stanford’s heavy packages as a sophomore in 2013.
With the graduation of Khalil Wilkes after the 2013 season, Shuler assumed the starting center role in 2014 as a junior and started every game for the remainder of his career.
As a senior in 2015, Shuler earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention honors and was part of a Stanford offensive line that earned finalist honors for the Joe Moore Award, given to the nation’s top offensive line.
During his time on the team, Shuler was particularly well-known for being one of the team’s de facto spokesmen due to his closeness with many of his teammates and his eloquence and candor in interviews.
With Shuler departing, rising junior Jesse Burkett will likely take over as Stanford’s starting center as the Cardinal will look to replace three pieces from their 2015 starting offensive line: Shuler, Kyle Murphy and Josh Garnett.
Shuler will graduate from Stanford with a degree in science, technology and society.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dhpark ‘at’ stanford.edu.