Back in November, I broke down Stanford's recruiting class as it was constructed at that time. The Cardinal were also 5-5 on the field at that stage too and, after being a dominant program within the conference the previous four seasons, it wasn't looking too pretty for the Cardinal overall.
Funny how quickly things can change in college football. Since then, pretty much everything is coming up Milhouse for David Shaw.
He led his team to an upset victory over UCLA in their final regular season game and then punctuated the season with a beatdown of Maryland in their bowl game to finish up the season with a respectable eight wins. Shaw has kept winning off the field too by keeping defensive coordinator Lance Anderson and sports performance director Shannon Turley from leaving Stanford to join their former boss Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.
And the disappointing recruiting cycle for the Cardinal? That's been turned around too with recent commitments from 4 star running back Cameron Scarlett, hard hitting safety Ben Edwards, and with today's commitment from 4 star wide receiver Trent Irwin.
Irwin's commitment still leaves them near the bottom of the Pac-12 in terms of class rankings for this cycle, but they jumped up thirteen spots from 51 to 38 overall in the national rankings. Rankings aside, Irwin is someone who should be able to make an immediate contribution at the next level. He may be the most polished receiver prospect in the nation.
They said Cris Carter only caught touchdowns. Well, Irwin catches everything. His hands are outstanding and his route running ability may be even better. He's also severely underrated as an athlete that has very good speed and will go up and compete for the football at its highest point. There may be other more explosive players in this class, but I'm not sure many of them are going to have the kind of career I expect Irwin to have at Stanford. He is going to be an incredibly productive player for multiple seasons.
It wasn't long ago that everyone thought he Irwin was a lock to attend Arizona State and catch passes from his high school teammate Brady White. In fact, it's all most people could talk about in regards to Irwin's recruitment. They seemed destined to be a package deal.
Fortunately for the Cardinal, Irwin went his own way and it's just another piece of good news for their football program. Even losing Andrus Peat early to the NFL shouldn't be too big of a blow with the way they have recruited at offensive line in recent years including this cycle with stud interior linemen Nick Wilson and Brian Chaffin committed. If they can finish up this class by adding some more blue chip recruits like defensive back Frank Buncom IV and running back Bryce Love, then all of a sudden this class that was looking disappointing can jump back up to being one of the better ones in the Pac-12.