I'll begin this update with a recruiting thought: with each one of my recruiting reports, not to mention a glance at the Scout.com recruiting database, it becomes clearer that we're not talking about a 2007 recruiting class that will be very good. Not many difference makers out there, and once again a number of reaches for the level of football/recruiting Stanford needs to get reach. One of my hopes with this recruiting class, then, isn't that Stanford will bring in a good class (I don't think it's possible), but that Stanford will recruit a number of "winners." I've been discouraged by the losing mentality many of Stanford's players have no doubt developed now that the last good Stanford Football team is way back in the rearview. Walt Harris' big challenge from a football perspective is correcting bad habits, cultivating good habits in the young guys, and, most of all, developing a winner mentality after years of losing. Consequently, I really like that many of Stanford's recruits play on high school teams that win all the time. I think one of the unsung stories behind Oregon's success under Bellotti is the excellent pipeline he's developed with De La Salle and now Oaks Christian. He gets guys who know nothing other than winning, and he gets them in big numbers from the best football schools in California. I don't mean to suggest that all of Oregon's recruits come from winning programs, but I do think that these pipelines help a lot. So I really like it that L.D. Crow, Jamaine Olson, Brandon and Byron Clear, Sean Wiser, Kellen Kiilsgaard, Harrison Smith and others all play for powerhouses. My hope is that Stanford gets a large share of winners in this class and that a sense of competitive spirit gives the class intangibles that might allow them to outperform their recruiting profiles down the line. The caveat, of course, is that teams with D-IA prospects tend to be really good, and it might mean nothing that many of Stanford's targets play for dominant teams. Anyway, this week's updates:
* No updates this week for David Green (bye in preparation for Mission Viejo's showdown against De La Salle next weekend), Tyler Mabry and Gino Gordon (bye for Francis Parker), Jamaine Olson (bye), Doug Baldwin, Matthew Masifilo, and Cameron Collins. The latter three have been out with injuries, and I'm pretty sure their absences extended into this weekend. Those are three of the prospects I'm most interested in, and I hope to get some on-field tidbits on them at some point this year.
* L.D. Crow's Countryside team improved to 6-0 with a 31-14 Homecoming game win. Crow was 16-of-20 for 171 yards and two touchdowns. One touchdown was a 44 yard catch-and-run on a pass behind the line of scrimmage. In Homecoming games, Countryside's coach likes to play a lot of players and let the kids have fun, so Countryside attempted an onside kick and sent Crow out for a pass at one point. After a year and a half of data points on Crow as a starting quarterback, it's clear that his strengths are his tremendous accuracy on short and medium range passes and his leadership/game sense/ability to lead a winning team. I'm on record stating my concern with the trend for Stanford's quarterback recruiting the last few cycles, but I have this lingering hunch that Crow has some Tom Brady in him.
* George Halamandaris' Moorpark team improved to 3-1 with a 40-7 win coming off of a bye. As always, Moorpark dominated on the basis of punishing run blocking and excellent running by star junior running back Darrell Scott, who ended up with 210 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Moorpark's quarterback did have 18 pass attempts and a couple of touchdown passes, so maybe the offense has become more balanced. My guess, however, is that Moorpark followed the opposite pattern most teams adopt, in that they might have passed after securing the game with the run. Scott had 150 yards in the first quarter and 185 yards in the first half. The opposing team's coach said: "Whoever has Scott on their side is going to win most games. The way he runs, with that big offensive line, we just couldn't stop him. The good news for us is that we can focus on next week and trying to win another game."
* New commit Eddie Morgan's team also improved to 3-1, easily winning a 31-0 laugher. He rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns on only five carries. His team didn't really pass at all in this game, since they were able to physically dominate on the ground (475 yards rushing). I'm sure Morgan dominated on defense since this one was apparently no contest at all.
* As some other threads have discussed, Oaks Christian continued to steamroll the opposition with a 47-17 win over Venice. In their last two games, Oaks Christian totally dominated probably the two best teams on their schedule. At this point, the question is whether Hoover, De La Salle, Byrnes, and Lakeland would be competitive against Oaks Christian. Marc Tyler and Jimmy Clausen starred, again, but possible Stanford recruit Sean Wiser also played a prominent role. He made a number of tackles and broke up some passes on defense. On offense, Wiser had a couple of touchdown receptions and was Clausen's go-to guy. See the other threads for scouting reports on Wiser.
* Meanwhile, Hoover's going to lose their spot as the top-ranked team in the country since they lost 28-14 to John Curtis, a very strong Louisiana team (also ranked nationally) that features one of the top players in the country, Joe McKnight. The loss opened the way for Byrnes, De La Salle, Lakeland, Oaks Christian, or even John Curtis to be ranked as the top team in the country. Said Hoover's coach about the loss: "I've taken this offense and really screwed it up. This is on me, Rush Propst." Hoover's quarterback was 6-of-17 for only 29 yards and three interceptions. He said nothing was open, which isn't a good sign for Brandon Clear against good competition. More pleasing to Stanford fans will be this article on the Clear twins. For what it's worth, this is the second time I've seen Brandon listed as being 6-5, which is taller than I had thought.
* Harrison Smith is yet another prospect starring for a dominant team that has yet to lose. They won their latest game 35-0. Smith had 161 yards and four touchdowns on only 15 carries. He would be such a huge get for Stanford with their extremely thin depth and questionable talent at safety next year. I think he would be a lock to start immediately. I think Stanford has almost no shot unless they pull of a shocker at Notre Dame, where he will be for yet another unofficial visit there (his third or fourth at least).
* I'm not quite as excited about Kellen Kiilsgaard, but he's another guy who's at the very top of Stanford's recruiting board and would be a good bet to start immediately (in the mix at the very least). He's also another guy leading a dominant high school team. Auburn won their latest game 48-0. He passed for two touchdowns (19-yarder and 60-yarder) and rushed for two touchdowns (28-yarder and 15-yarder). Big priority for Stanford and much more likely than the other top prospects on the board, other than perhaps Masifilo.
* David Paulson's team stayed undefeated with a 30-20 victory, preserving the possibility of an end-of-season intra-town showdown of undefeated teams between Auburn Riverside and Kiilsgaard's Auburn team. Paulson, while a tight end prospect, has been a running quarterback in an option offense this season. He rushed for a touchdown and passed for a touchdown in Friday's game. He also had two touchdowns off of interception returns. I didn't even know that he played defense. Another big priority recruit for Stanford, obviously.
* Bryan Anger's Camarillo team was supposed to be another excellent winning program, but they've gotten off to a rough start this season with USC quarterback commit Samson Szakacsy injured. They won their latest game 20-10. Anger had a key 60-yard punt that pinned the opposing team deep and allowed Camarillo to begin a comeback. He also had a 37-yard reception on the drive that ended up with the touchdown that took the lead and punctuated Camarillo's comeback. There was one muffed punt, but I don't know if that was Anger's fault or not.
* Chike Amajoyi had his best game of the year in a 30-13 homecoming victory. He finished with 209 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. His coach said: "Chike was exceptional. He's a dominate presence on both sides of the field."
* Coming off of a bye, Derrick Hallman's team had by far their best game of the season in a 35-7 win, which was their first of the year. It appears that Hallman wasn't a focal part of the offensive attack, but I think he may be more of a defensive player anyway. Scout.com has done a pretty good job keeping in touch with Hallman regarding his performance, so I think they'll have better reports on his defensive performance than I'll be able to dig up.
* Johnathan Frink's team is yet another really good undefeated team and improved to 6-0 with a 35-16 win.
* Charlie Hatcher's team fell to 2-4 with a 9-3 loss. Their strength continues to be defense. Hatcher wasn't as prominent as he was in last week's loss.
* Todd Huber's team fell to 1-3 with a 10-7 loss. Said Huber, who plays both ways: "You can't score seven points and expect to win. Last week we had a good offensive game but a bad defensive game. This week, it was the other way around. We need to find some consistency." Said Huber's coach: "We challenged the team all week to get better on defense, and other than the broken play, the defense did very well." On defense, Huber stripped the ball from a ballcarrier and recovered the fumble.
* Matt Conrath's St. Rita team beat another Chicago area top-10 team 45-7 to improve to 5-1, so you can probably add them to the list of really good programs with players Stanford is going after. The Chicago Sun-Times named Conrath as St. Rita's defensive standout. Said Conrath: ''We wanted to shut down the run so they had to go to the pass.'' Conrath's size makes many people think offensive tackle, but on St. Rita's team he's a star defensive end and doesn't play offensive line as far as I know.
* Matt Howe's team improved to 3-1 with a 70-20 (!) homecoming win.
* Mitchell Schwartz' team fell to 2-2 with a 10-3 loss.
* Matt Bentler's Assumption team bounced back from consecutive losses with a 45-7 blowout win.
* And the weekly Chase Minnifield update: Henry Clay stayed undefeated and is another one of those dominant teams. They won this week by a 40-7 final score. Minnifield caught a 17-yard touchdown pass.
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