Stanford Lands First '06 Commit

Stanford Football was already expecting an eventful week of news. Spring ball starts on Friday, ushering in the Walt Harris Era on The Farm. A pair of elite national recruits are taking planned unofficial visits to the campus, to boot. But surprising news today has trumped that all, as the Cardinal landed this morning their first commit in the 2006 recruiting class...

We thought that today's biggest news would be the unofficial visit from Seattle superstar safety Taylor Mays, but the elite recruit was upstaged this morning by a phone call from Boulder, Colo.  6'7" 285-pound offensive tackle John Kyed from Boulder High School had taken his own unofficial visit to The Farm last Wednesday, and after a weekend of reflection and discussion with his parents, Kyed pulled the trigger on an early verbal commitment to the Cardinal.

"I committed this morning on the phone to Walt Harris," Kyed told The Bootleg tonight.  "Though that is contingent upon admissions.  I have to get in to school - that's the big thing."

The Boulder student-athlete is a model performer in the classroom to match his exploits on the gridiron, carrying a 4.357 weighted GPA on a 4.0 scale.  His school awards five points for AP classes, which comprise a heavy portion of his current classload.  Kyed says his core unweighted GPA is a strong 3.714.  Better still, he snared a 1320 on the SAT this winter.

"I'm glad that I got that score early, because that allowed me to get an offer early from Stanford," the recruit comments.  "I was a little surprised with how early they offered me, but I'm glad.  This lets me focus on my senior season."

Kyed is familiar with the two in-state schools recruiting him, Colorado and Colorado State, including a one-day camp at CU last summer.  He also camped at UCLA last summer, and has taken unofficial visits to see Nebraska, California and Stanford.  With all those observations and experiences under his belt, he and his family felt comfortable making the commitment phone call this morning.

""It kind of took me by surprise that I committed this early," Kyed explains.  "But I pretty much knew Stanford was where I wanted to be after I had seen a couple schools.  My dad and I talked about all this last night.  I said that if this is where I want to be, why look anywhere else?  Why screw around?"

The Colorado recruit says that he knows he cannot completely close out other schools this spring, while he navigates Stanford's admissions application process and his offer remains conditional upon that acceptance.

"I feel confident that I'll get accepted, but you never know, I guess.  My academics are really solid, and that will help me a lot with getting in.  I'm taking all honors and AP courses, except for weightlifting," he describes.  "I'll keep the door cracked, but once I get in, I'm going to Stanford.  I'll get the application in May, and I can start filling it out then."

Kyed held scholarship offers from Colorado State and Stanford before his commitment today.  After we have a chance to review his film, we will get a better handle on where he ranks among West Coast linemen, but you shouldn't bank on his offer list growing.  Cardinal commits become ghosts on the recruiting radar of most schools, especially when they are such strong students like Kyed.  Last March, Stanford received a commitment from 6'6" DL/OL Matt Kopa, who was on some early Top 100 national lists.  But schools mostly backed off the big two-way lineman until the door opened again with the firing of Buddy Teevens two months before Signing Day.

"I had been talking a lot with CU - they're right in my back yard and I'm been a Buffs fan all my life," Kyed details of his recruitment.  "And I was receiving a lot of handwritten stuff from Duke and Iowa State.  UCLA hadn't shown a lot of interest lately, which was surprising, to be honest.  I had a great camp there last summer, and things were really positive when I left.  I went to Nebraska last month, and they were positive while I was there, but they told me they wanted me to come to camp before they could get serious."

Kyed currently has no plans to camp anywhere this summer other than Stanford, where he will get a head start working with his future position coach, John McDonell.  He also says that once he gets admitted to Stanford, he cannot see himself entertaining any other options.  His love affair with the Cardinal, you see, predates his unofficial visit of a week ago.

"My uncle is a Stanford alum, I guess you would say.  He got his masters in engineering there," the recruit reveals.  "When I was young, he told me how great the school was.  I saw that Stanford was the best, and decided that's what I wanted to do.  I worked all through middle school and high school with that in mind.  I've always wanted to go to Stanford."

Kyed and his parents were already excited about the school when they visited last week, but when the Cardinal offered him first thing that morning, it elevated the rest of the day several-fold.

"First thing we met with my recruiter, Tom Freeman, and my position coach, John McDonell, to get introductions.  Then we went to Walt Harris' office and he offered me right off the bat," Kyed remembers.  "That was exciting.  I'd wanted to go to Stanford as long as I can remember.  It was awesome the rest of the day.  It made the whole visit that much better - having the offer colored everything I saw.  It was a cool experience seeing everything and saying to myself, 'This is where I will be in two years.'"

The Boulder High School junior says that his marriage with Stanford is exactly what he wanted from a school - a dream come true.

"The number one thing is just the academics.  They're second to none.  Stanford is surpassing even Harvard now," Kyed declares.  "Add to that the opportunity to play bigtime Pac-10 football.  That's everything I dreamed of - the top education with bigtime football."

John Kyed is Stanford's first commitment in the 2006 class, and he comes at a position of need.  The Cardinal landed just one offensive lineman in the 2005 class in Chris Marinelli, and they have their sights set on big bodies again this year.

This is the third straight year where Stanford has received an exceptionally early verbal commitment, relative to historical standards.  It is a rare recruit who will give a public pledge to the Card before he gains admission to the school, but three bluechip linemen have now done so in the last three years.  It started in early February 2003 when center Alex Fletcher (Class of '04) made waves committing just days after Signing Day.  Defensive lineman Matt Kopa (Class of '05) followed in March 2004 in a manner very similar to what just transpired the last week with Kyed - taking an early unofficial visit, receiving an offer on that visit and then committing days later.

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