Despite the temperate weather and laid-back atmosphere in Palo Alto, Stanford was a hot spot last week. Head coach David Shaw hosted several position specific camps over the course of five days at Stanford and from those events emerged commitments, new targets and new names for the national radar.
Alameen Murphy, CB, Washington, D.C. – Murphy came into the Stanford event rated by 247Sports as a low three-star. The industry-generated 247Composite ranking wasn’t much higher but after watching him workout over multiple days in front of the Stanford staff, it’s easy to see what they like about him. Murphy’s ranking will likely rise after he showed off fluid ability in coverage to transition and stay in the hip pocket of wide receivers and a presence bigger than his 5-10 frame. Murphy committed on Wednesday to the Stanford staff over offers from the likes of North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Vanderbilt.
Alijah Holder, CB, Oceanside, Calif. – While Holder didn’t commit at Stanford, he did make a decision shortly thereafter following a strong showing. The twin brother of wide receiver Mikah Holder, Alijah plays a position of need for Stanford at cornerback and his length (6-foot-1) and athleticism made him an immediate take for David Shaw. Alijah’s twin brother is a strong candidate to join the fold if and when Stanford offers though that is not a given with limited room at the position.
Arrington Farrar, S, Atlanta, Ga. (Class of 2015) – The Woodward Academy standout is one of the top safeties in the class of 2015 and Stanford joined an already crowded offer list but is still expected to be a favorite for Farrar. Already he has three Crystal Ball predictions with him heading to Stanford, following in the footsteps of Stanford players and Woodward Academy alumni Henry Anderson and Jordan Watkins.
Lane Veach, DE/OLB, Gilbert, Ariz. – Maybe the biggest find of the week, Veach is all of 6-6 but he can bend and change directions extremely well at that size. He worked out at the 3-4 outside linebacker position with the Stanford staff and they were impressed enough to offer and it wasn’t hard to see why. Stanford immediately becomes Veach’s most high-profile offer and he may be a steal for David Shaw down the line.
Harrison Phillips, DE, Omaha, Neb. – Though he arrived after I had left, Phillips also walked away with an offer from Stanford though currently his Crystal Ball reads resoundingly in the favor of Nebraska with 10 of 10 respondents predicting the home-state program.
Bobby Okereke, LB, Santa Ana, Calif. – A jumbo athlete with elite playmaking ability, Okereke could be a tight end or a linebacker on the next level but worked out for Stanford at linebacker. After a flurry of offers have arrived, Stanford was one he was hoping to add to the list and by doing so, the Cardinal are at or near the top. The only schools in the country the high-academic Okoreke would add to consideration would be Notre Dame or Duke. Aside from those two, his current list comprises his considerations for a decision that should come prior to the season.
Christian Folau, LB, Salt Lake City, Utah (Class of 2015) – Stanford saw enough of rising junior Folau to extend to him an early offer and the Cardinal has to be immediately considered a favorite. Folau is a stocky but athletic linebacker prospect who is a thumper in pads but moved around very well in drills last week.
Potential future offers
Josh Rosen, QB, Bellflower, Calif. (Class of 2015) – Possessing a strong case as the top quarterback in the country, Rosen’s offer seems inevitable from Stanford after an outstanding camp performance over two days. If and when Stanford offers the nation’s No. 5 prospect, it will immediately become the favorite in his recruitment.
Trent Irwin, WR, Newhall, Calif. (Class of 2015) – Only a rising junior, Irwin was a surgeon on Wednesday as a route-runner, catching every ball that was thrown in his direction by my count. His recruitment hasn’t yet exploded but Irwin has the size and the technical skill set to become a major national recruit. Already 247Sports has rated Irwin as a four-star prospect.
Justin Falcinelli, DT, Middletown, Md. – Though he’s listed as an offensive tackle in the 247Sports database, Falcinelli worked out at defensive tackle at Stanford and he was outstanding. In board drills, Falcinelli was taking on all comers, out driving a new contender in consecutive reps consistently. As a guy that can disrupt the run game or collapse a pocket, the three-star has a lot of potential on the defensive interior.
Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Anaheim, Calif. (Class of 2015)– Aside from Irwin, St. Brown was the top wide receiver at the camp last week and he should soon emerge as a national target. He’s got outstanding size and big catch radius but he’s also fluid in and out of his routes. Illinois is an early offer but more should start coming soon.
Nifae Lealao, DT, Sacramento, Calif. – Moving through bag drills and station work, Lealao showed outstanding movement skills and athleticism but he was just as impressive in the toughness and leverage drills showing good initial burst and leg drive. The 6-5, 280-pounder is an early lean to Stanford and it would take a strong effort to steer him away.
North Gwinnett skill
Three-star wide receiver Nate Brown was the biggest name skill player to arrive from Atlanta-area powerhouse North Gwinnett but by the end of the camp, there were three other North Gwinnett prospects that deserved some attention.
Running back C.J. Leggett has a handful of offers and Stanford was keeping a close eye on him throughout the coarse of the week. Already with two four-star running backs in the fold, the window may be closing on a Stanford opportunity but Leggett could be a steal for another program.
On the pass-catching end of things, Brown had a good day last week but so too did his teammates Caleb Scott and brothers Daniel and Josh Imatorbhebhe. Scott in particular turned some heads with his performance while Daniel Imatorbhebhe – a class of 2015 prospect – is a big-bodied receiver with great body control who could emerge as a tight end prospect long term. His younger brother Josh - who is in the class of 2016 also looks well beyond his age and plays it too.
All together, North Gwinnett looks loaded for the 2013 season.
Watching from the sidelines
Two elite prospects were in attendance, watching from the sidelines at camp. Grant Haley out of Atlanta was hoping to earn an offer at camp but strained a hamstring at Vandy the week before. His recruitment looks like a Vandy-Florida battle with Stanford becoming a real factor if they do in fact offer.
Also watching from the sidelines was a player that was easy to spot in Matt Nelson out of Iowa. The No. 12 tight end in the country looked all of 6-8 and seemed to be enjoying his visit. On the positive side for Stanford, Nelson is announcing less than a week after that trip with a Thursday decision scheduled. Notre Dame, Stanford and Iowa are the finalists but most see this is a toss up between Stanford and Iowa with Stanford holding the edge on Nelson’s Crystal Ball.
Sleepers and youngsters
In the OL/DL camp two unheralded prospects put together a nice effort. Ryan Popolizio and Jordan Fagan both had great size as offensive tackles and also showed natural athleticism and movement skills in workouts. Popolizio in particular also displayed terrific explosiveness at the point of attack and could even be a big guard at the next level.
Out of the class of 2016, there were two prospects in attendance that will be well-known names over the next two years. KJ Costello has the look of one of the top quarterbacks in the country in his class. The 6-4, 205-pounder out of Santa Margarita Catholic has a great frame but also has a live arm and good feet. He was joined by Kaden Smith out of Texas who already holds an offer from Clemson. Smith looks nothing like a rising sophomore as he was maybe the best tight end in attendance at his young age.
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