David Shaw owns a 42-12 record as the head coach of the Stanford Cardinal. It isn’t easy to win football games on “The Farm” because of the school’s stringent academic standards.
In the five recruiting classes Shaw and his staff cobbled together, only one of them were considered a Top 10 class, according to Rivals.com.
Shaw’s approach to recruiting is very different from other schools, though. He places a much higher priority on loyalty and development than blanketing the country with offers.
“This is not meant to offend anybody, but I’m sure it will. I want the Stanford offers to be real,” Shaw told the Cardinal Sports Report’s Andy Drukarev. “I want them to hold weight. We give an offer to a kid, it’s an offer. It’s a real offer. There’s no time expiration on it. We’re not dangling it between you and three other guys (saying), ‘Hey, first one to jump gets it.’ We just don’t operate that way.
“We are slow and methodical. And some recruits and some parents don’t understand that. Because there have been guys, there are guys on our team right now, that we didn’t offer early, that we offered late, and it was a hurdle for us to get over. And what I typically say is, ‘I’m not going to offer you a scholarship until I know that I have that scholarship for you. Now, if somebody offered you three months before and you want to hold that against us? OK, that’s fine. But is that going to be a decision-maker for you?’
“Does it matter that you meet your wife a month later than you thought you should have? It doesn’t matter. Half this recruiting stuff is crap. It’s all crap. It’s all flashing lights, it’s all emotion. When it comes down to it…here’s what Stanford has to offer. Does it fit what you’re looking for? We cut through all the other stuff. Other people can talk, and that’s great. And some people out there are great recruiters. They’re a great recruiter at one school, become a great recruiter at another school. I have no problem with that.”
As every step of the recruiting process becomes more publicized due to social media, examples of recruits being showered with hundreds of recruiting letters and dozens of offers have become common place.
Stanford will never take that approach.
“So just because we want to be great in football, I don’t want it to be like we’re Johnny Appleseed throwing offers around,” Shaw said. “We offer, it’s backed because you have academics, you have high character, you are a good football player, we have a spot for you that we will wait for you to make your decision. That spot is yours, and it’s real. I understand nobody else operates that way, and I’m fine with that.”