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Football adds Nelson, Merritt to class of 2024

Cardinal recruiting class ranked No. 19 nationwide

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On Wednesday, two more high school seniors — defensive end Matthew Merritt and quarterback Beau Nelson — announced their signing to play football at Stanford, adding to the already loaded 2020 signing class that is currently ranked No. 19 by Rivals and No. 21 by ESPN.

During the Early National Signing period in December, the Cardinal secured 22 recruits — a group headlined by unanimous four-star running back E.J. Smith — and added four more on National Signing Day in February.

This brings Stanford’s total for the class of 2024 to 27. One commit, defensive back Ayden Hector, had his offer rescinded earlier this year.

Merritt is a three-star recruit and is ranked No. 165 of outside linebackers. Coming to the Farm from Buchanan High School in Fresno, California, the 6-foot-2 and 260-pound defensive end will join a defensive line that lost three players in the transfer portal.

The defensive end position, however, is deep already for the Cardinal. At DE, Stanford can look to junior Thomas Booker, fifth-year Thomas Schaffer and senior Dalyn Wade-Perry, among others, who have played reliably. All three played in all 12 games last season.

On the other side of the ball, Nelson arrives from Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, Idaho. The three-star dual-threat is No. 51 at his position.

The 6-foot-2 quarterback also joins a stacked position group. Senior Davis Mills likely has the starting job secured, but the QB 2 spot will likely be contested between junior Jack West and incoming freshman Tanner McKee, who comes to campus after a two-year mission to Brazil. No backup option has started more than a single game (West played in a blowout by UCLA), so it still could be anyone’s game come camp in August.

“As a quarterback, I love the responsibility I have for a team’s success, whether good or bad, and I use feedback from teammates and coaches to become a better player,” Nelson wrote on his QB Hit List profile. “As a player, my goal has always been to never stop improving on the field and in the classroom.”

With this expanded group of 27 commits, Stanford hopes to improve on last season’s four wins. As of now, the 2020 season is set to open in just 20 weeks, with William & Mary set to play at home on Sep. 5.

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Cybele Zhang '22 is a Senior Staff Writer majoring in English Literature with a minor in German Studies. The Los Angeles-native previously served as Sports Editor (Vol. 255, 257 and 258). Her recent work focuses on women in sports and the intended cut of men's volleyball. Contact her at czhang 'at' stanforddaily.com.