Stanford signs 12 to National Letters of Intent

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(Below is Stanford’s press release on the players added as part of its 2013 recruiting class.)

STANFORD, Calif. – Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football David Shaw announced today the members of the 12-man 2013 recruiting class who have officially signed their National Letter of Intent and Financial Aid Agreement to play football at Stanford University.

“When you look at our 2013 class, you will see size. You will see athleticism. You will see toughness,” said Shaw, the two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year. “We made it a point in this class to find tight ends and linebackers who can physically do what we need, and we’re excited about the guys we found.”

A class mirroring Stanford’s on-field prowess built upon big athletes, today’s signees average 6’4” and 235 pounds. That comes in a class with no defensive linemen and just two offensive linemen.

The 12 newest Cardinal hail from eight different states. Five come from California, plus one each from Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah and Virginia.

While the number of available scholarships due to a small graduating senior class limited the size of Stanford’s recruiting class, the quality stands strong. As of the completion of today’s final signing, the 2013 Cardinal class ranked 16th in the nation for average player rating and 17th by 247Sports.com.

Among Stanford’s 12 signees, five were named PrepStar All-Americans and five were members of the ESPN 300. Nine of the 12 members of Stanford’s 2013 signing class were rated at least four stars by various recruiting services, including two five-star selections. Nine signees were also selected to play in an All-American game, while 10 were ranked top-25 in the nation at their respective positions by various services.

Seven of these signees are slated for offense – three tight ends, two offensive linemen, a quarterback and a wide receiver – with a quartet on defense – two each at outside linebacker and inside linebacker. One player is listed on both sides of the ball at wide receiver / cornerback. Following several successful recruiting classes at the positions, Stanford passed on signing a running back or defensive lineman for 2013.

“Offensively, we believe that we’ve added exciting firepower,” said Shaw. “Ryan Burns is a big, athletic, strong-armed quarterback, and he is joined by Francis Owusu, who is one of the most explosive wide receivers in the nation. Up front, we have added two physical, aggressive and versatile offensive linemen who fit our style and temperament of play.

“People have asked me the last few years, ‘Where do you find those tight ends?’ We believe that we have three guys in this class who can be as productive in the running game and passing game as Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo were for us.”

Stanford’s three-man tight end haul is a leading strength of the 2013 signing class. Austin Hooper (San Ramon, Calif./De La Salle HS) is a First-Team All-State two-way standout, captain of the CIF Open Division State Champions and No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Greg Taboada (Atlanta, Ga./Marist HS) also earned First-Team All-State honors and was ranked the 167th overall prospect in the nation and 18th overall player in Georgia by ESPN.com. A talented receiving threat and athlete in the mold of Ertz, Eric Cotton (Nampa, Idaho/Columbia HS) may be a sleeper in this class, unranked in any category by Rivals.com and holding one other Pac-12 scholarship offer, though ranked 227th overall in the nation and first overall in Idaho by 247Sports.com.

The Cardinal signed one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Ryan Burns (Leesburg, Va./Stone Bridge HS), a PrepStar Dream Team selection and U.S. Army All-American who can throw and run at 6’5” and 225 pounds. Burns came to the forefront of Stanford’s recruiting in the summer of 2011, when he thrilled at the Cardinal’s Quarterback Academy camp. He ranked top-six in the nation among pro-style quarterbacks in the 2013 class by PrepStar, ESPN.com and Rivals.com.

A familiar name to Stanford, wide receiver Francis Owusu (Oxnard, Calif./Oaks Christian School) is the younger brother of former Cardinal wideout Chris Owusu (2008-11), now playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The younger Owusu is a taller version at 6’3” who broke his high school’s receiving records and ranked among the top 20 wide receivers in the nation by PrepStar and Rivals.com.

A year after signing what was hailed as the top offensive line recruiting class in the history of college football, Stanford selectively and patiently targeted versatile and athletic linemen to fit the Cardinal’s culture. Both were found in Southern California, after standout performances at Stanford’s summer camps. David Bright (Yorba Linda, Calif./Mater Dei HS) can play tackle or guard and rated as a PrepStar All-American. Thomas Oser (Los Angeles, Calif./Harvard-Westlake School) is an experienced center ranked 11th in the nation by 247Sports.com who can also play offensive guard.

“Defensively, with the depth of young talent in the defensive backfield and the returning strength of our defensive line, we’ve added four linebackers in this class who can run and hit and play the aggressive style of defense for which Stanford has come to be known,” said Shaw. “Each of these linebackers has unique abilities in pass rush and in coverage, and they will add to the strength and depth of our front seven.”

Outside linebacker Peter Kalambayi (Matthews, N.C./Butler HS) is one of the most decorated players in the nation, earning First-Team All-American honors by USA Today, selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and one of five finalists for the high school Butkus Award. Kalambayi is ranked top-100 among all players in the nation by PrepStar and Rivals.com and consensus top-10 nationally at various linebacker positions. He is joined by Mike Tyler (Brecksville, Ohio/Brecksville-Broadview Heights HS), an All-Ohio performer who recorded 18 sacks his senior season.

Kevin Palma (Pixley, Calif./Mission Oak HS) is ranked the 10th best middle linebacker in the nation and 196th overall player by Scout.com. He earned First-Team All-State honors following a senior season that saw him record 19 tackles for loss including a school-record eight in one game. Paired at inside linebacker in this class is Sean Barton (North Salt Lake, Utah/Woods Cross HS), a PrepStar All-American and consensus top-three player in Utah who played myriad positions on both sides of the ball. Barton totaled 43 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 receiving yards on offense plus more than 200 tackles and 36 tackles for loss on defense in his career but will wait until 2015 to enroll at Stanford University, following his two-year LDS church mission in Africa.

Three-way threat Taijuan Thomas (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish HS) has prospects at both wide receiver and cornerback plus special teams for Stanford, with demonstrated track speed and playmaking football ability that earned him top-35 prospect rankings in Louisiana by ESPN.com and Rivals.com and Honorable Mention All-State honors.

“Taijuan Thomas is one of those explosive athletes who could help us on offense, defense and special teams,” said Shaw. “We can’t wait for his playmaking ability to impact our team.”

For detailed bios and highlight videos on all 12 Stanford Class of 2013 signees, visit SigningDay Central.

The Cardinal kicks off spring practices in less than three weeks on Feb. 25, with the Cardinal & White Spring Game returning to Stanford Stadium – for the first time since 2009 – on April 13 at 3pm.

2013 Stanford National Letter of Intent Signing Class

* PrepStar All-Americans (5): ILB Sean Barton, OG/OT David Bright, QB Ryan Burns, OLB Peter Kalambayi, WR Francis Owusu

* USA Today All-American (1): OLB Peter Kalambayi

* ESPN 300 (5): QB Ryan Burns, TE Austin Hooper, OLB Peter Kalambayi, WR Francis Owusu, TE Greg Taboada

* Scout 300 (3): OLB Peter Kalambayi, WR Francis Owusu, ILB Kevin Palma

* Rivals 250 (3): QB Ryan Burns, OLB Peter Kalambayi, WR Francis Owusu

* 247Sports 247 (4): QB Ryan Burns, TE Eric Cotton, OLB Peter Kalambayi, ILB Kevin Palma

* Tacoma News Tribune Western 100: ILB Sean Barton, TE Eric Cotton, TE Austin Hooper, WR Francis Owusu, ILB Kevin Palma

* U.S. Army All-American Bowl selections (2): QB Ryan Burns, OLB Peter Kalambayi

* Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl selections (4): ILB Sean Barton, TE Austin Hooper, OG/C Thomas Oser, WR Francis Owusu

* Offense-Defense All-American Bowl selections (3): ILB Sean Barton, ILB Kevin Palma, TE Greg Taboada

* International Bowl selection by Team USA (1): TE Eric Cotton

Barton, Sean … ILB … 6-3 … 220 … North Salt Lake, Utah … Woods Cross HS
Bright, David … OT/OG … 6-5 … 290 … Yorba Linda, Calif. … Mater Dei HS
Burns, Ryan … QB … 6-5 … 225 … Leesburg, Va. … Stone Bridge HS
Cotton, Eric … TE … 6-6 … 235 … Nampa, Idaho … Columbia HS
Hooper, Austin … TE … 6-4 … 245 … San Ramon, Calif. … De La Salle HS
Kalambayi, Peter … OLB … 6-3 … 240 … Matthews, N.C. … Butler HS
Oser, Thomas … OG/C … 6-5 290 … Los Angeles, Calif. … Harvard-Westlake School
Owusu, Francis … WR … 6-3 … 193 … Oxnard, Calif. … Oaks Christian School
Palma, Kevin … ILB … 6-2 240 … Pixley, Calif. … Mission Oak HS
Taboada, Greg … TE … 6-5 … 235 … Atlanta, Ga. … Marist HS
Thomas, Taijuan … WR/CB … 5-10 … 185 … Monroe, La. … Ouachita Parish HS
Tyler, Mike … OLB … 6-5 … 225 … Brecksville, Ohio … Brecksville-Broadview Heights HS

Washington State head coach Nick Rolovich intimates opting out over COVID-19 concerns is fine, not so much for Pac-12 players movement

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Another layer has been added to a Washington State story that exploded across the college football world late this weekend.

Sunday afternoon, players from across the Pac-12 confirmed that they will sit out the 2020 season en masse unless a laundry list of concerns are addressed.  A short time later, allegations began to emerge that Washington State football players were being “released from the team” over their support for the movement. One of those making such a claim was the mother of wide receiver Kassidy Woods.  A Wazzu spokesperson subsequently told the Dallas Morning News “is a member of our football roster.”

Woods himself confirmed to the Morning News that he is opting out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns related to the sickle-cell trait he possesses.  The player had previously confirmed to Washington State head football head coach Nick Rolovich in a phone call that he would be opting out.  Rolovich told Woods “I got nothing wrong with that” on the coronavirus front.  Where Rolovich started down a slippery slope was when Woods confirmed he is joining the Pac-12 football unity movement.

At that point, Rolovich intimated that Woods’ future with the Cougars is in jeopardy.  And how do we know that?  Because Woods recorded the phone conversation with his coach.  And the Morning News transcribed it.

Rolovich: OK so that’s going to be, that’s gonna be an issue if you align with them as far as future stuff, cause the COVID stuff is one thing. But, um, joining this group is gonna put you on a, on a — that’s obviously, you know, you get to keep your scholarship this year, but it — it’s gonna be different. You know, if you, if you say, ‘I’m opting out ‘cause of COVID and health and safety,’ I’m good. But this group is gonna change, uh, I guess, how things go in the future for everybody, at least at our school. Um, so just think about that is, if it’s about getting paid and not (inaudible) about racial justice and that stuff. Then it’s probably, it’s there’s two sides, there’s two sides here. I’m good with the Sickle Cell and the COVID, and but this, this group is gonna be at a different level as far as how we’re kind of going to move forward in the future. Does that make sense?

Woods: Yes sir.

Rolovich: OK so it’s not, you know, there’s one way we’ll handle it if it’s COVID-related. And then there’s one way we’re going to handle it if it’s joining this group. So I appreciate you letting me know. And I was going to address this tomorrow night at the Zoom.

(To read the entire transcript, including Rolovich confirming players who opt-out will, understandably, not be permitted to practice or work out with the team this season, click HERE.)

Woods, a redshirt sophomore, went on to tell the newspaper that he is unsure if he will still have a scholarship beyond this year.  Thus far, and the brief roster statement to the Morning News aside, neither Wazzu nor Rolovich has commented publicly on any of the developments of the past 24 hours.

Arizona QB Kevin Doyle Jr. is third Power Five player to opt out of 2020 season over COVID-19 concerns

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By way of Arizona, a third college football player has opted out of the 2020 season.  Certainly, though, he won’t be the last.

On Twitter over the weekend, Kevin Doyle Jr. announced that he will not play for the Arizona football team in 2020.  The quarterback cited concerns over COVID-19 in making what he described as “a really tough decision.”

Doyle’s announcement came prior to players from the Pac-12 threatening to sit out the season en masse.  It also came after one of his Arizona football teammates was suspended for repeatedly violating the school’s COVID-19 protocols.

”We are in challenging times,” Doyle began his missive. “I have been watching and reading about the Covid pandemic and I understand that it is new for everybody.  The only thing I can do is listen to professionals and watch professionals and make decisions off that information.  Dozens of high-profile NFL players are opting out of playing football and giving up tens millions of dollars.  There must be more risk than I can even perceive.

”I love the University of Arizona and I support my teammates and coaches. With that being said, [Friday] I gave my official notice that’s I will be opting out of the upcoming football season.

”I am looking forward to getting past this pandemic and redoing my teammates as quickly as possible.”

Doyle was a three-star member of the Arizona football Class of 2018.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman, then didn’t see the field this past season.  A shoulder injury, though, factored into his inaction in 2019.

Late last month, Illinois running back Ra’Von Bonner became the first FBS player to opt out over COVID concerns.  A couple of days later, standout Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley became the second.

College Football amidst Coronavirus Pandemic: On this day in CFT history, including the family of Joe Paterno filing an appeal of the NCAA’s sanctions of Penn State

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The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on August 3, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Les Miles adds second transferring son to Kansas football roster
THE SYNOPSIS: It was a veritable All in the Mad Hatter Family reunion in Lawrence. In November of 2018, Miles was officially introduced as Kansas’ next head football coach.  Early on in the 2019 offseason, quarterback Manny Miles transferred in from North Carolina.  Then former Nebraska and Texas A&M fullback Ben Miles followed his dad and brother to KU.  Ben Miles ran for one yard on three carries and caught a pass for two yards in his first season with the Jayhawks.  In three games, Manny Miles completed 9-of-17 passes (52.9%) for 114 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

2019

THE HEADLINE: Ex-Wisconsin WR Quintez Cephus acquitted of sex assault charges
THE SYNOPSIS: This was the end of a very trying year and a half off the field for the standout wide receiver.  Cephus, incidentally, returned to the Badgers for the 2019 season.  He then left UW early for the 2020 NFL Draft.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Urban Meyer tweets statement, says he has always followed proper procedures
THE SYNOPSIS: This came shortly after the Ohio State coach was placed on on paid administrative leave amidst the Zach Smith imbroglio.  Eventually, Meyer would be suspended for three games.  And then retired.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Nick Saban not suspending Alabama DL Da’Shawn Hand after DUI
THE SYNOPSIS: It just means more.  More leniency, apparently.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Report: Maurice Smith ostracized, found ‘personal belongings in the trash’ after decision to transfer from ‘Bama
THE SYNOPSIS: After initial blocking him, Alabama ultimately relented and allowed the defensive backs to transfer to Georgia.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Paterno family files appeal against NCAA for PSU sanctions
THE SYNOPSIS: The family of three late Joe Paterno subsequently filed a counter to the Freeh report that led to historic sanctions a on the Penn State football program. And then sued the NCAA in May of 2013.  Before dropping the suit four years later.  Three years after that, the Penn State Board of Trustees announced the university and the Paterno family have reached a resolution on their ongoing issues.

2010

THE HEADLINE: After shaky media days appearance, Paterno Watch resumes in earnest
THE SYNOPSIS: With a tainted legacy in tow, Joe Paterno retired 16 months later.  Two months later, the disgraced Penn State legend died at the age of 85.

Nevada picks up JUCO QB after losing one to the FCS

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The reshaping of the quarterback room at Nevada football continued at a brisk pace this past week.

Last month, Kaiden Bennett, who previously transferred in from Boise State, opted to leave the Nevada football team. A short time later, it was confirmed that the quarterback had decided to continue his collegiate playing career at FCS Sacramento State.

The same day Bennett’s father confirmed the move to the FCS, Nevada announced that it has added another quarterback to its football roster. Below is the school’s release on the signal-calling addition:

The Nevada football team announced the signing today of junior college quarterback Jacob Barlage to a scholarship agreement to join the Wolf Pack for the upcoming season.

Barlage, 6-foot-1 and 205-pounds, comes to Nevada after one standout season at Riverside (Calif.) College where he completed more than 69 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards with 30 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He will be a true sophomore at Nevada with three seasons of eligibility and a redshirt year available.

Barlage will be eligible to play this fall for the Wolf Pack, which is scheduled to open up fall camp beginning on Friday.

In 2019, Barlage led Riverside to a perfect 13-0 record and a California state championship. He threw for 286 yards and a touchdown in the championship game, a 31-14 win over San Mateo, and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Barlage starred at Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, Calif., where he played for his father, Daniel. Valley View won a CIF championship with Barlage under center for the Eagles. His mother, Jen, played volleyball collegiately at Northern Michigan and is the head coach at Valley View HS.