He's Scout.com's No. 2 tight end in the country, and while not quite as highly rated elsewhere, Dalton Schultz is a consensus four-star target with offers from fully half the Pac-12. He says all the attention started back in the fall of 2011.
"I actually got my first offer the third game of my sophomore year," Schultz said in an interview with The Bootleg this week. "I had no idea. I didn't expect any of this to start there. It was after just a bad game for our team -- we lost by 35 to a team out of California -- but Coach got a call, brought me over and said Utah wants to offer.
"It was pretty overwhelming. I was 14, 15. That was just overwhelming, to know that at least somewhere, my college was paid for. I didn't expect imagine it coming that soon, or ever. But it kind of took off from there. As soon as [Utah] came in, a lot of other schools wanted to chime in.
"And then I put in a lot of hard work, and I think it showed on
the field. It's one of the big reasons I am where I am right now.
… I think I've gotten a lot better, that's for sure, over the
football years. I think a lot of it is due to the trainers and the
people I work out with. I'm always pushed by somebody to go a
little harder, and that's the M.O. at this point. It's a lot of
hard work that's finally paying off."
Seeking Out a Stanford Offer
Given Stanford's national recruiting strategy and history of recruiting LDS students and the state of Utah -- and Schultz's football profile and 3.97 GPA -- it seems likely that the Cardinal would have stumbled upon the big tight end soon enough. Schultz, however, took no chances and actively solicited a Stanford offer.
"It was the end of my sophomore year, and I'd been watching Stanford play a lot," Schultz said. "I actually asked [Bingham head coach Dave] Peck if he knew anybody at Stanford, if he had any connections.
"I told him I thought it was a really cool school, and cool how they could be so good at academics and athletics at the same time. So he actually called them up and told them that I was kind of interested. They came out and saw me, and then I went out and last year went to a camp, went to a Junior Day. I've been out there twice. It was a fun, fun time, really cool.
"They're a really prestigious university. My chemistry teacher calls them the 'Harvard of the West,' as far as academics go.
"They always contact me on Facebook, and are sending me letters,
a handwritten letter the other night from different coaches. They
contact me at least once a week. I got a letter from the new RB
coach just saying ‘We're excited to see what you can do. We will
have to get you back out here in spring and get you on campus
again,' and they're really excited to have an opportunity at me, I
Two of Stanford's presumed advantages in this recruitment don't carry much weight with Schultz, however. First, like many of his neighbors in Jordan, just south of Salt Lake City, Schultz is Mormon. However, he does not plan on going on a mission and adds that a school's track record with LDS students will not be a factor in his recruitment.
Schultz also says that a program's tight end usage will not be a driving factor in his recruitment.
"It's not a huge factor: ‘If I go here, I'll just be a blocker,'" he said. "It's wherever I can make an impact."
That's too bad for Stanford, which has practically become Tight End U in recent years. We asked Schultz about Stanford's history of putting tight ends in the NFL:
"They don't brag about it, but I know," he said. "I've watched Stanford the last few years and know all that stuff... Everybody wants to go to the NFL, so yeah that's cool that you can get to the NFL, but that's not the case for everybody. So I think that's why Stanford is appealing so much, if you don't go pro, then you have this Stanford degree."
All told, Stanford fans would be premature in consigning Schultz's nine other offerees, and whichever schools may yet hop into the fray, to second place. Befitting the cerebral students Stanford attracts, Schultz says he wants to acquire and analyze all the facts relevant to a college decision before announcing his intentions, a process which could take the better part of the next 12 months.
"I'm in a mess right now, just jumbled between everything," he said. "I think going on visits will kind of help me with where I want to go, kind of feeling the program and being around the players.
"One thing that I would really like would be to spend a day or two in the real thing, to see how it's really going to be at the college. I think it'd be kind of cool to spend a day with a player, go through his life and see what college football and college is really like for student-athletes at that specific university.
"I don't know when I'm going to narrow it down yet, but I know I'm not going to make a decision until probably close to Signing Day. But I don't know when I'll narrow anything down, or how that's possible quite yet.
"It's a lot to take in, and I feel I haven't quite taken in everything every place has to offer, so I'm just waiting for myself to figure out, ‘Okay, this place has this. This place has this.' Kind of get all of the info from as many schools as I can, to help make a decision. That's expanding my options a little bit."
In the meanwhile, there are academic demands fast approaching for a student who reports a 3.97 GPA.
"The ACT is coming up in a few weeks, and I'm kind of stressing for that," he said. "I'll probably get with some friends and do some prep stuff. I'm taking an AP class this year and a couple next year. I've taken honors classes since ninth grade, eighth grade. I've been on the honor roll throughout middle school and high school, and never missed an honor roll, knock on wood."
Schultz adds that he was only going to take what his school designated as "college" and "honors" courses instead, but when Stanford came into the picture, he added the AP courses to his slate, as the Cardinal ask of their recruits.
"It's not as hard as everyone makes it sound," Schultz said.
Schultz is playing in a 7-on-7 tournament in Vegas this weekend. He will then attend a Nike training camp this spring. He says if he selects the May San Francisco camp, he would try to pair that with another visit to the Farm.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!