"It was a no-brainer, really," Keller Chryst told Scout's Brandon Huffman at the Elite 11 quarterback academy. "Once I knew for sure, I thought it was the right decision for me. ... I mean, it's Stanford University, it's the best academic institution in the world."
The Story of a Mysterious Commitment
Chryst's camp held off on officially confirming his commitment until he was able to notify all coaches involved in his recruitment that he had decided on Stanford. Then, after speaking to the quarterback on Friday morning, Chryst's good friend and high school teammate Justin Rittman reached out to The Bootleg to provide the first public confirmation of the commitment. Shortly before 2 p.m. PDT, Chryst's mother Shelley also verified the news directly in a message to The Bootleg.
That put a bow on Stanford's most suspenseful commitment so far in the 2014 cycle. Although it was apparent that the Cardinal had led in the pursuit of Chryst's services for quite some time (the background picture of his Twitter account has featured a Stanford helmet for several months), the quarterback's tight-lipped approach during his recruitment enshrouded his decision-making process in mystery.
Last Wednesday, hints of a Chryst commitment began to trickle in. A Stanford representative tweeted about the school's first-ever football commitment via Facebook Messenger. Due to NCAA recruiting rules, though, the representative was unable to include the identity of this newly committed player on Twitter. The Bootleg researched the situation through other avenues and assembled the resulting puzzle pieces, eventually learning and then verifying that it was Chryst who had virtually committed to play for Stanford.
"Coach Shaw is on vacation, so I couldn't really call him, so I shot him a message that I was committing," Chryst told Huffman. "I don't think he minded being interrupted at all."
Commitment Analysis: Another Touted Quarterback, Recruiting Momentum
Chryst becomes the seventh Cardinal commitment in this 2014 recruiting cycle and the highest-rated quarterback for the school since Trent Edwards in 2002. He is partaking in The Opening, Nike's prestigious summer recruiting showcase, this week. Elite Stanford 2014 prospects at The Opening include safety Brandon Simmons (also already committed), tight end Dalton Schultz, offensive lineman Bentley Spain, linebacker Joey Alfieri, cornerback Adarius Pickett, and defensive end Solomon Thomas, so Stanford's staff certainly hopes that Chryst's commitment will parlay into momentum with its other big-time recruits.
"I have a few guys in mind, like Dalton, and I'm going to do the best I can recruiting them," he told Huffman. "I'm not going to try too hard, though, just [that] it's their decision, but I'm going to put a little effort into it."
(Disclaimer: Don't ignore recruiting developments outside of The Opening. One touted Stanford 2014 prospect not attending the Beaverton, Ore. event is Omaha, Neb. defensive lineman Harrison Phillips. He has been in frequent contact with Cardinal coaches since his impressive camp showing on The Farm about two weeks ago.)
The Future of the Stanford QB Position
Chryst is anticipated to battle with 2013 signee Ryan Burns for future playing time at quarterback. Current Cardinal starter Kevin Hogan will still have two years of eligibility remaining when Chryst joins the program in August 2014, while Burns will be coming off an expected redshirt season. In summary, Stanford looks to have elite signal caller talent in place for at least the next half decade, all while Josh Rosen, one of the nation's top 2015 quarterback prospects, says The Farm is one of his favorite potential college destinations.
Chryst's positives, including a 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame, an excellent arm, a solid footwork, and a knack to place the right amount of touch on his throws, wooed several big-time programs into scholarship offers. His father, Geep, currently works for former Stanford leader Jim Harbaugh as the quarterbacks coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
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