Stanford seals strong recruiting class
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Stanford already had one of the Pac-12's best recruiting classes lined up before high school players began sending in national letters of intent Wednesday.
The Cardinal added to that with a major surprise on signing day.
Riding the wave of a second straight conference championship, Stanford received a big boost when Solomon Thomas -- one of the most sough-after defensive ends in the country -- committed to the Cardinal. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder from the Dallas suburb of Coppell selected Stanford over Arkansas and UCLA on national television by pulling out a small tree and putting on black "nerd" glasses with white tape over the bridge.
Thomas' decision put the finishing touches on a class that showed just how much the Stanford brand has expanded in coach David Shaw's first three seasons.
Stanford had secured most of its key recruits well before signing day after they academically qualified weeks -- and, in some cases, months -- ago. The program sealed up a 20-player class coming from 12 different states Wednesday, the first day players could sign national letters of intent.
The group includes quarterback Keller Chryst, one of the most decorated pocket-passers in the country and the son of San Francisco 49ers quarterback coach Geep Chryst, from right across the street at Palo Alto High School; top tight end Dalton Schultz (South Jordan, Utah); and offensive tackle Casey Tucker (Gilbert, Ariz.).
Cornerback Terrence Alexander, from native New Orleans, also joined Thomas as one of the late signees.
National rankings (Rivals 14; Scout 15).
Best in class: Thomas.
Best of the rest: Chryst, QB, Palo Alto (Calif.); Schultz, TE, Bingham (South Jordan, Utah); Tucker, OT, Hamilton (Gilbert, Ariz.).
Late addition: Thomas.
One that got away: Uriah Leiataua, DE, Dominguez High School, Compton, Calif. (BYU).
NOTE: Stanford filled a major hole on its defensive line with Thomas. The Cardinal also made their biggest marks at the most important offensive positions with Chryst, Schultz and Tucker. The only downer on the day was losing Leiataua, who had been verbally committed to Stanford for a month until signing with BYU.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP