"I felt really at home there the longer I stayed, it almost got to the point where I didn't want to go home. I absolutely loved it. I loved being around all of those coaches. I got to spend a ton of time with them, which was great. I realized how lucky I was to be in the situation I am, to be able to go to Stanford and have these opportunities ahead of me."
While on campus, Shuler got to spend one-on-one time with nearly the entire Cardinal coaching staff.
"I got to spend a ton of time with the coaches," Shuler said. "I hung out with Coach Sanford a ton, Coach Bloomgren a lot and Coach Crook as well, so I got to spend a lot of time with them. I met with Coach Shaw for a while and got to spend some time with him. I hung out with Coach Pep [Hamilton] a lot, which was a blast."
"[Hamilton] actually threw me a couple of deep balls, so I got to show him a little bit of my athleticism. Coach Mason, the whole defensive staff, I got to spend a lot of time with them as well. I was on campus for like five or six days, so I was around those guys a lot. [Co-defensive coordinator Jason] Tarver, he was awesome. He's the one that I didn't really know as well coming to this. I feel like I got to know [him] a ton better, it was a blast. We had fun together and got to spend a lot of time together, and Coach Anderson as well, got to spend some great time with him. Coach Bloomgren and Coach Crook, I really grew in my relationship with them and got to know them a ton better, so that was awesome."
While nurturing relationships with his future coaching staff is of great importance for Shuler, no doubt, we were just as interested in his proficiency at hauling in the deep ball. And, bucking the ‘linemen have no hands' stereotype, Shuler actually acquitted himself quite well.
"I was 10 for 10, maybe better than that, I was perfect on all the stuff we did," Shuler said. "And then we did an obstacle course at the end and I had to catch a pass coming across the middle, and I caught everything all day, and dropped that, I don't really know how, it was like the easiest ball thrown to me all day. I guess I was pressing too much, but I did catch everything else."
While hauling in passes may seem like a superfluous skill for an offensive lineman, Shuler said the Stanford coaches didn't necessarily view it that way.
"We actually talked about that quite a bit," Shuler said. "I played tight end my freshman year, so I was kind of joking around with them, I was like, ‘I got hands, coach, I got hands!' They were laughing at me but I backed it up and Coach Pep was really excited about that. He was like we found our guy, we found our tackle/tight end/ eligible guy for this formation, so it will be interesting to see how all of that plays out, but I think they definitely know my potential there now.
"I was pretty excited about it. It's every big boy's dream to get the ball at some point."
Being on campus for so long also provided Shuler an opportunity to meet and mingle with some fellow Stanford prospects.
"Connor Crane and Michael Rector were two guys that I got to hang out with a lot," Shuler said. "Akeel Lynch…Ifeadi Odenigbo, he's an awesome, awesome guy, I really enjoyed spending time with him. I hung out with Aziz [Shittu] some, and then I was talking to Dontonio [Jordan] pretty much the whole time, we were texting all day, we're both pretty ecstatic about our situations coming in.
"I was also Facebooking with Noor Davis a lot. But if we could end up getting Ifeadi and Noor Davis in this class, it's going to be a very, very special thing. The defense is going to be fun to watch for sure with those two guys. There were a lot great guys out there, there were several linemen that I got to spend time with and hang out with, so we're trying to go big for a big offensive line class this year, so I'm really excited about being the first, but definitely not the last."
Shuler also took a few moments to observe the competition at the Monday Night Ball camp, and came away particularly impressed with one rush linebacker from Ohio, as well as a pair of receivers.
"Ifeadi [Odenigbo] was just scary how well he moved, all the coaches were saying that they hadn't seen guys at the [NFL] combine do what he was doing," Shuler said. "He's a specimen for sure. More than that, just a great guy. I really enjoyed being around him. You could just tell there's something special about him.
"Those two receivers I mentioned, Michael Rector and Connor Crane, were very impressive to me. I think they both have a lot of upside, so I was excited about a lot of the guys there, but those are some of the guys that really stuck out to me."
As for current Stanford players, Shuler found himself around the incoming freshman the most.
"I got to spend a lot of time with the incoming freshman," Shuler said. "I ran into them in the dining hall and stuff, got to know some of them pretty well. I was blown away by the type of guys they were. Kevin Reihner was one of the guys that I really hung out with a lot and he was just awesome, but all those guys really just blew me away, really high class awesome guys that are competitive, but are good, down to earth guys, so I really enjoyed being around all of them and was very impressed and excited about being able to be around them for the next four or five years."
In addition to the aforementioned trip highlights Shuler singled out meeting with professors and practicing in Stanford Stadium as a couple of his favorite moments from the visit.
"I got to meet with some more professors which was great, and got to explore some more academic opportunities, so was very excited about that," Shuler said. "Also, for Monday Night Ball we went out on the field in the stadium. For me, I was pretty hyped up. I almost wore myself out before we even started because I was just so excited to be out on that field. I was running around a lot, kind of messing around with people, so I had a blast. That was probably the highlight for me, getting out on that field and knowing that this is where I'm going to be for the next four or five years, so that was pretty exciting."
Of course, before Shuler can officially sign with Stanford, he'll have to pass the school's admissions process. When he was on campus, the three-star recruit took the first step towards doing just that.
"I got the application when I was out there and started filling it out already so we're trying to get on top of it and make sure that my class schedule is good to go and everything so we can make this admission process as soon as possible," Shuler said.
Now, with his recruitment unofficially over, Shuler will spend the summer working a summer internship at a healthcare company, and working out with his high school team. Next fall, he plans to visit Stanford (unofficially on October 1 for the UCLA game, and officially in mid-January.
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