OT Graham Shuler sets the scene

There were no divided loyalties in the Shuler household when Graham and his father, Rob, visited Durham last Saturday for the Cardinal's game against Duke. That in it of itself wasn't a huge surprise; Tenn. OL Graham Shuler, after all, is a longtime Stanford commit, one of the Card's most enthusiastic 2012 recruits. However, Rob's ties to Duke run deep.

Not only did Rob, an offensive lineman at Auburn in his undergrad years, attend grad school at Duke, but he actually coached football there as a graduate assistant.

But according to Graham Shuler, his dad was all Cardinal while watching Stanford beat Duke 44-14.

"He wasn't conflicted at all," said Graham, a three-star prospect as Scout's No. 6 center in the 2012 class. "He's very, very excited about Stanford and he was joking around, talking about how his allegiances flipped. He GA'd there at Duke, so he actually coached football there. It was definitely an interesting dynamic but at the same time he's Stanford football all the way."

Loyalties aside, Graham enjoyed his trip to Duke.

"We made it just in time to see some of the pregame stuff," Graham said. "We just kind of walked around and saw some of the tailgating and we went to the game. We actually had great seats, my dad got them on Stubhub. We were pretty close to the game, pretty close to the action, it was great. It was good to see how they were on the sidelines and whatnot."

Shuler was impressed by the strong contingent of Stanford supporters at Wallace Wade Stadium.

"There was a huge Stanford fanbase there," Shuler said. "I actually heard there was a tailgate before and they had something like 1,000 people at the tailgate, which is pretty impressive for an away game. We met some very, very great people. We saw [current Stanford tight end Davis Dudchock's father] Mr. Dudchock, who actually played with my dad at Auburn, and his family, so we talked with them some and spent time with them.

"We ran into some people that we met along this path, so it was definitely a great experience. I enjoyed getting to network some, and just being around that Stanford family just continues to impress me."

It won't be long before Shuler sees the Cardinal play again. On Oct. 1, Shuler will fly to Palo Alto to watch Stanford take on UCLA. Shuler will be joined by several other recruits on the trip, including Barry Sanders, Andrew Jelks, and Stanford commit Conner Crane.

"I talked to Conner Crane actually for a while today and we're both ecstatic about being up there," Shuler said. "He booked his flight today. We're really, really excited about getting up there for that game. It should be a really big weekend for us. I think we have a lot of guys coming in who I talked to, and I'm really excited to see how that weekend plays out, if we can get any guys to pull the trigger."

Although Shuler declined to name prospects he thought might be thinking about making a Stanford pledge, he did explain why he felt some interested recruits might be holding off on committing.

"The big thing with Stanford is it's scary when you start this process and you're looking at your application and you're like, ‘There's an actual chance that I may not get in,'" Shuler said. "That's the thing. You don't have that with other schools. You hear the horror stories about the one kid where stuff fell apart. A lot of times, it's just because you didn't do what you're supposed to do. I'm really hoping that people will just see that if you trust the process and if you commit all-in that it will work out.

"I definitely think there are a lot of guys who are very excited about that, I think they just want to see how they do this first quarter in their classes and want to make sure that they're going to be solidified in the admissions process."

As could be surmised by Shuler's comments, the three-star recruit is still very much a solid Stanford commit, despite receiving several new offers. He also maintains consistent contact with several Cardinal coaches.

"I email Coach Bloomgren, Coach Crook, and Coach Sanford a lot," Shuler said. "We stay in pretty constant contact. I get letters and stuff from them pretty frequently, from coach Pep, just different coaches. We stay in pretty good touch. Coach Sanford and I probably talk once a week or so on the phone. I try to stay in touch with Coach Bloom and them as much as I can. It's definitely been enjoyable throughout this process. It's kind of slowed down a little bit, but at the same time we've stayed in touch."

"I did receive some new offers, my coach told me I got stuff, but honestly, I didn't really pay any attention to it. I think my coach told me I picked up like eight more, but I honestly don't know the schools' names. I got the offer I wanted, I got the school I wanted, and that's what I'm all about. For me, I'm locked in and focused and I think a lot of schools know that.

"I reached out to all the coaches who had been recruiting me from other schools and thanked them for their time but told them I was making my decision and they all knew that I was going to be solid to my decision. Also, there's the reputation Stanford has in recruiting players: once they get commitments, for the most part, they're petty locked up just because we have to make a commitment to take the right classes and get the right scores. So it's definitely something that I think coaches around the nation realized about Stanford recruits and commitments, that they're dedicated and locked in when they actually commit."

Shuler is getting close to learning his admissions fate. He's currently editing his Stanford application, and hopes to submit it soon.

"Right now I'm in the revision stage," Shuler said. "I've completed my application but right now I'm just going through it and making sure it's up to par. I should be sending that in this week or next week."

Once the application is complete, Shuler will be free to focus on academics and football. Although his Brentwood Academy team was blown out 45-7 in its season opener to powerhouse Trinity, they've won their last three games, and are starting to mature as a team.

"We replaced 12 or 13 starters," Shuler said. "It was definitely an interesting experience for us opening up [against Trinity]. We got our tails whipped, actually. It was a very humbling especially coming from the school I'm at, where we view ourselves as a power in Tennessee. It was very humbling, we realized we have a young team. We've had a lot of young guys step up. We've really come together, we've had three really strong wins, we're 3-1 now and we're hoping to continue that."

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