This week's update is limited to highlights from games involving players currently publicly committed to Stanford. Full updates on the full board of Stanford recruits will return later in October. The weekend's highlights:
Stanford commits in action:
* Stanford's newest commit is quarterback Josh Nunes, who revealed on Saturday that he was switching his commitment from Tennessee to Stanford now that he has an opportunity to play at Stanford. The day before, he led his Upland (Calif.) team to a 41-17 win over Lancaster (Calif.) Eastside that made the Highlanders 4-0 on the season. In the game Nunes completed 9 of 22 passes for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns with 3 interceptions. The touchdowns both went to Arizona State commit Osahan Irabor, one from 33 yards out and the other from 45 yards out. Irabor finished with 4 catches for 174 yards and also blocked a punt in the game. With the trio of interceptions, the game was Nunes' most uneven of the season so far. In the first week of the season, he quarterbacked a 42-7 win over Ontario (Calif.) Harbor, completing 17 of 26 pass attempts for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. He hit 8 different receivers in that game and also tacked on a rushing touchdown. The next week, Upland took out Glendora (Calif.) 35-21, with Nunes connecting on 17 of 27 pass attempts for 288 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He had a rushing touchdown in that game as well. In the third game, Nunes was 13-of-18 for 180 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception, in a 37-21 win over Phelan (Calif.) Serrano. Through 4 games, Nunes has completed 56 of his 93 passes for a 60% connect rate and has 990 yards passing and 9 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. He has 2 rushing touchdowns, but has not been a rushing threat and has negative rushing yardage on the year and a long run of only 3 yards. Irabor has been his favorite receiving target but 4 receivers have at least 9 catches. Five receivers have at least 30 yards receiving per game.
* Nunes is the second quarterback to commit to Stanford this year, joining Taysom Hill of Pocatello (Idaho) Highland. Hill, who committed to Stanford following the Jim Harbaugh Quarterback Academy that he and Nunes both attended, was back in action this past weekend after a bye week for the Rams. His team improved to 2-1 on the strength of a 66-14 drubbing of Twin Falls (Idaho). Hill threw for 132 yards but had his biggest impact on the ground, romping for 152 yards on just 8 carries, including touchdown runs on 5 of the 8 carries. The touchdown runs came from 6 yards, 1 yard, 1 yard, 19 yards, and 60 yards. Hill also kicked a 36 yard field goal and made 8 extra points, giving him a staggering 41 points on the game. He was an efficient 8-of-10 through the air for the 132 passing yards.
* In addition to recruiting a pair of 4-star quarterbacks, Jim Harbaugh and his staff have focused on attracting playmakers to complement the men under center in the Cardinal offense. In particular, the wide receiver class boasts three current commits who rank among the half dozen highest-profile receiver recruits for Stanford this decade. The most highly-sought of that trio is 4-star receiver Jamal Patterson. On Friday, Patterson helped McDonough (Ga.) Henry County move to 3-1 on the season. The Warhawks shut out Macon (Ga.) Central 13-0 in their lowest scoring game of the season so far. For the second straight year, Patterson finds himself one of numerous options for Henry County. Last year, he split receptions with 4-star Auburn commit Chris Jackson. This year, Patterson is part of an explosive arsenal that also includes junior mega recruit Markeith Ambles and seniors Quan Jones and Drew McMillian. In the most recent game, it was Jones who starred, reeling in 5 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown and carrying the ball 10 times for 62 yards. On the season, Patterson has 16 catches for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns. While he is still committed to Stanford, he is taking some visits this fall and took in the Georgia game this past weekend after earlier trips to Georgia Tech.
* Stanford's other 4-star receiver commit, Long Beach (Calif.) Wilson's Jemari Roberts, could not prevent the Bruins from falling to 2-2. They lost 28-14 to Los Alamitos (Calif.). Roberts was limited to 2 catches, one for 38 yards and the other a 15-yarder. He also had a 37-yard kickoff return and had 3 tackles. In the end, Clark Evans of Los Alamitos was just too much for Wilson to stop. The Colorado quarterback commit threw for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for 106 yards and 2 more touchdowns, accounting for all of his team's scoring.
* Drew Terrell rounds out the group of receivers in this year's banner year for recruiting at the position for the Cardinal. His Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton Huskies are now 4-1 following a 30-14 victory over Mesa (Ariz.) Red Mountain. Reports are conflicting on whether Hamilton's first touchdown of the game, a 12-yard run, was scored by Terrell or Zach Hambsch. Terrell also visited Washington State this weekend and scheduled an October 11 visit to Northwestern, signs that he has not completely shut down his recruitment.
* While the receiver class is shaping up to be Stanford's best of the decade if not longer, the tight end class is where Stanford's recruiting efforts have garnered headlines and national attention. The tight ends further complement the group of receiving threats and big athletes available for the future. 4-star tight end Zach Ertz got the ball rolling at the position when he committed to Stanford back in November. This past weekend, Ertz caught a touchdown pass for the third straight week to start the season, all wins for Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista. Ertz now has 4 touchdown receptions on the year. In the most recent game, Ertz caught 4 passes for 21 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown reception, but saw passes spread around to 8 other of his teammates in a 55-0 Monte Vista rout of Castro Valley (Calif.).
* Ertz is joined as a headliner in the tight end horde for Stanford by Levine Toilolo, the highest ranked prospect in the class according to Scout.com as the #81 overall prospect in the nation. Toilolo's La Mesa (Calif.) Helix team battled to a rare 19-19 tie this past weekend against Chula Vista (Calif.) Otay Ranch. The hulking tight end put Helix ahead in the third quarter with a 21-yard touchdown reception over the middle. Toilolo also blocked an extra point, a crucial contribution along with the touchdown in what turned out to be a stalemate.
* With Toilolo ranked as the #2 tight end in the nation and Ertz checking in at #6, Jordan Najvar gives Stanford yet another tight end ranked among the top 20 in the nation. Unlike his future teammates, Najvar has not been able to get off to a running start to his senior season, not playing for nearly three weeks as the Houston area recovered from Hurricane Ike. His Spring (Tex.) Klein Oak squad got back on the field last Friday against Houston (Tex.) Klein Forest and came out victorious by the final score of 34-6. Klein Oak is now 2-0. Najvar had 2 catches, one for 13 yards and the other for 7 yards, a modest contribution compared to his first week explosion of 9 catches for 140 yards and a touchdown.
* Stanford also has commitment from tight end Ryan Hewitt of Denver (Colo.) Mullen, the same high school that produced former Stanford tight end and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Alex Smith. Mullen is now 4-1 after a 27-0 win over Aurora (Colo.) Overland. Mullen did all of its scoring in the first half before cruising in the second half. Hewitt hauled in the last touchdown, a 12-yard scoring strike.
* Beyond stockpiling potential pass catching weapons at receiver and tight end, Stanford also has commitments from a pair of playmaking running backs. Between the two, 4-star Stepfan Taylor projects as the high-profile, dependable every-down back. So far this season, he has arguably performed at the highest level of any Stanford commit. That trend continued this past weekend with his third 200-yard rushing game and fifth game in a row to start the season with at least 100 yards rushing. To wit, he powered a 41-7 Mansfield (Tex.) win over Arlington (Tex.) Sam Houston by rushing for 213 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He also had an 83 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Through five games, he has 919 yards rushing and 11 rushing touchdowns, as well as the kickoff return to the house.
* In contrast, Usua Amanam offers an explosive and versatile alternative just as likely to see looks in multiple slots on offense or as a return specialist and also capable of filling in as a defensive back at the next level. Amanam has starred all over the field early this season for San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep but was forced to miss the most recent game with mononucleosis. Amanam says that he has had the illness since early in September, which makes his 2 interception, 1 rushing touchdown game the previous week all the more impressive. Fortunately for Bellarmine, the high-ranked Bells outmanned San Jose (Calif.) Piedmont Hills badly even without the reigning league player of the year and won 51-0. In Amanam's absence, Bellarmine's star junior Kyle Olugbode had 2 interceptions, including a 27-yard return for a touchdown. Bellarmine is now 3-0 and has scored at least 35 in each game without giving up more than 6 in any of those contests.
* With the aforementioned cast of high-profile or explosive skill position players currently committed to Stanford, the major focus for the Cardinal from now until September will be attracting offensive linemen to man the trenches and block for the athletes in the backfield and on the edges. So far, only one offensive lineman has committed to Stanford, Camden Wentz of Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter. At the high school level, Wentz blocks for a high-powered Lassiter offense. Despite its reputation and ability so far to score at least 24 points in each game this season, Lassiter had scored progressively fewer points in each of the first four games of the season. In the fifth game, however, Wentz and the Lassiter offense exploded for 49 points in a 49-14 rout of Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler that improved the Trojans' record to 4-1.
* Stanford has recruited far fewer players this year who are clearly slotted for defense. The big name on defense is linebacker Shayne Skov, the first commit of the class and the earliest commit Stanford has ever had in a recruiting cycle. Skov suffered a knee injury last week in the first game of the season for Pawling (N.Y) Trinity-Pawling but nonetheless played hobbled this past weekend against Kent (Conn.) Kent School, helping the Pride improve to 2-0 with a 20-10 win. After getting 3 tackles and a sack the previous week, Skov led the defense in the second week with 11 tackles, including 8 solo tackles.
* Stanford's other defensive commit ranked in the Scout 300, defensive tackle Terrence Stephens, plays for one of the top teams in Maryland and helped Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard go to 4-0 by beating Rockville (Md.) Magruder 35-14.
* Stephens is joined as a defensive line recruit by Trent Murphy, a mainstay on the defensive line for Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy College Prep, a top Arizona program that has been featured this year on NBC's Sunday Night Football. Unfortunately, for Brophy, the defending 5A state champions in Arizona have not repeated the magic so far this year and are a disappointing 2-3 after losing 22-7 against Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View, their second loss in a row and third in the past four weeks. Two of the touchdowns scored by Mountain View against Murphy and the Brophy defense came within the red zone while the third came on an 80-yard bomb.
* Brock Sanders of Duluth (Ga.) Northview appears likely to join Stephens and Murphy on the defensive front for the Cardinal. Though ranked by Scout.com as a tight end, Sanders also plays defensive end and brings a big frame with the willingness to play defense and seems likely to be slotted as a defensive end. Despite having Sanders and top junior defensive tackle Denzel McCoy anchoring their defensive line, Northview has not been able to avert disaster to start its season and is now 0-5 after a 35-17 loss against Cumming (Ga.) South Forsyth. The Northview defense has given up 33 or more points in three of the first five games this season and at least 17 in each game.
* Finally, Stanford has also received an early commitment from a member of the 2010 recruiting class, junior linebacker/running back Tony Jefferson. Jefferson has excelled so far this year on both sides of the ball for Chula Vista (Calif.) Eastlake. In the most recent game, a 21-14 victory over Spring Valley (Calif.) Steele Canyon that made Eastlake 2-2 on the season. Jefferson has scored a touchdown at least once in every game this season and kept the streak going this past week with a pair of touchdown runs. His first touchdown came from 20 yards out and was followed by a 25-yarder. On the game, he rushed 12 times for 91 yards and the 2 touchdowns. He has 8 touchdowns this season in 4 games, including scores on offense, defense, and special teams.
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