Stanford fans have long understood the rich tradition of California high school quarterbacks - from Jim Plunkett to John Elway to Steve Stenstrom to Randy Fasani to Trent Edwards. Nationally, the Golden State is recognized for its depth in the prep ranks for premier signal callers, but the Lone Star State unquestionably has had better prospects for the Cardinal these last two years. In the 2004 class, Stanford took an early and unsuccessful shot at Rhett Bomar. In the current rising senior (2005) recruiting class, the Card took a similarly early but failed attempt on Colt McCoy. They are trying to make some play with Todd Walker, who is an elite receiver or quarterback target. But the most special Texas signal caller of all in this class may be Chase Daniel from Southlake Carroll, who Stanford has squarely in their sights today.
Daniel put up otherworldly numbers this past fall as he took the Carroll Dragons to the brink of a repeat state championship. He threw for 3800 yards and 42 touchdowns in a spread offense. Don't discount the run game, though, as he ran 15-20 times per game and scrambled for 1570 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. With an arm that can throw the ball 60 yards, and legs that could pick up the same, the Texas junior was named the state's 5A offensive player of the year this year.
"The big thing for me is to just be a big distributor of the ball. If I do my job and get my receivers the ball, they do all the hard work," Daniel describes of his role in the Carroll offense. "We had four wide receivers this year with 900 yards and eight touchdowns or more each, and two of them are coming back. We put the ball up 30 times a game, spreading three or four wide and operating from the shotgun."
The Southlake Carroll standout is a special athlete, as well. At the College Station Nike Camp this spring, he ran a 4.50 in the 40, a 4.27 in the pro shuttle, and recorded a 31.1" vertical jump. At the Texas Longhorns mini-camp last weekend, he reportedly ran a 4.45 40. When you see those times, you can understand how he ran so successfully with the ball this year. You can also believe that he was the team's leading receiver in his sophomore season. His athletic tools may grip you, but this Southlake star is just as focused on his precision and technique.
"I completed 67% of my passes last year, but when I looked at my film, I know it should have been 80%," Daniel charges. "I can always improve. I look at my follow-through and can change that. Sometimes after a big run I am tired and don't make a throw - I need to fix that."
At 6'1" and 215 pounds, there might be a question in the mind of some schools that this athlete can play quarterback at the college level. To wit, a pair of schools who he has expressed interest have yet to offer scholarships: Texas and Kansas State. There are many more, though, who have taken an enthusiastic plunge into his recruitment. He holds offers from Stanford, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Maryland, Duke, TCU, Houston, Colorado State, Northwestern, UTEP, Utah and Baylor.
"I just want to approach [recruiting] very openly. Everybody is very even," Daniel carefully pronounces.
"Stanford is pretty high on my list right now," the Texas talent comments on the Cardinal. "I've been talking with them and feel I can come in there and really make an impact."
With several Big 12 schools breathing down his neck, though, how tough would it be for him and his family to send him out West for four or five years?
"Distance is not a problem at all," Daniel quickly replies. "Especially when my mom is a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines. My parents could get out to every game without a problem."
This Lone Star slinger is not unlike many at his position this time of year, with some degree of urgency in making a college commitment. For various reasons, colleges and quarterbacks mostly come together during the summer and wrap up business. With so many schools looking to take just one or two quarterbacks in a given class, a domino effect can often accelerate commitments in knee-jerk fashion at various times. Daniel is no different and says that he would like to make his decision by the end of July or early August. That means he is unlikely to take any official visits before he commits. As such, unofficial visits this summer loom large in his evaluation process.
Daniel camped at Texas this past weekend and visited Oklahoma State the weekend before that. The Cowboys made a particular splash with how they hosted him, and should be considered one of the top teams to beat in this race.
"I came away very impressed," the quarterback recruit reports on his Stillwater visit. "They treated me very well - like a first class athlete. Their facilities also really impressed me."
In speaking about the Pokes, Daniel offered a genuine enthusiasm that exceeded any other school he discussed with me. That leads to the question of whether OSU should be tabbed his leader at this point. Daniel does not want to go that far, but says that they are one of three favorites - along with Stanford and Missouri.
Not surprisingly, he is attending camp at Missouri this week and will soon thereafter camp at Houston. Unofficial visits will take him to TCU and Northwestern. He is scheduled to camp at Stanford at the end of the month, as well. With all those visits under his belt, Daniel will indeed be armed for a decision with his given target. The candidate schools and the timeframe are now clear, but what about his criteria?
"I want to find what offense impresses me the best," the recruit describes. "I am also looking at the coaches and academics of each school."
Any time a recruit wants to pull the trigger as quickly as Daniel declares, there is the element of the admissions process that must be examined. The Southlake standout says that he recognizes that he has to apply and be admitted before his Stanford offer becomes unconditional, and he reports that the Cardinal staff have mailed an application to him. He reports a 97% average in the classroom (Texas uses numerical rather than grade point averages), which he estimates would translate to a 3.7 GPA. He has scored a 24 on the ACT.
You might also care to note that Chase Daniel is a quality baseball player. He went 9-2 as a pitcher in the recently completed junior high school season, with 82 strikeouts in 63 innings. He also hit .300 at the plate. Daniel plays his summer baseball with the Texas Stars.
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