Palo Alto senior quarterback Keller Chryst officially signed his letter of intent with Stanford University on national football signing day, joining what one recruiting service ranked as the second-best class in the Pac-12.
"There are things you can't coach," Cardinal coach David Shaw said of Chryst on Wednesday. "Six-four, 235 pounds, athletic, can throw the ball 70 yards. You can't teach those."
Palo Alto High senior Keller Chryst
Shaw expects Chryst to take over the starting job at some point in his Cardinal football career.
"He has the ability, the physical tools and the toughness," Shaw said. "We don't feel the need to rush his development. We believe the end result is he's going to be phenomenal. He has all the tools."
Chryst is the son of San Francisco 49ers quarterback coach George Chryst and the nephew of Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst. His grandfather, George Chryst, played football at Wisconsin.
"He's an unbelievable student of the game," Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren said.
Chryst finished his Paly career with 7,326 passing yards and 85 touchdowns and numerous school records. He shares the Paly record for most wins (23) as a quarterback with current Stanford assistant Peter Hansen.
Chryst is joined by two running backs, a wide receiver and a tight end on offense. The defense also added two defensive ends.
Christian McCaffrey (6-0, 200), the son of former Stanford great and NFL player Ed McCaffrey, is one of those running backs.
"We're excited about what he can bring here," Shaw said.
McCaffrey is a two-time Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year following his record-breaking career at Valor Christian High in Castle Rock in football and track and field.
Not only does McCaffrey have a Stanford pedigree (his mother, Lisa Sime, played soccer at Stanford), he has a brother playing football at Duke and his maternal grandfather, David Sime, was the 1956 world recordholder in the 100-yard dash and was a silver medalist in the event at the 1960 Summer Olympics.
McCaffrey's family tree also has roots in NCAA Division I tennis, basketball and wrestling.
Offensive guard A.T. Hall (6-5, 295) is the son of former NFL player Travis Hall.
Two future Cardinal players announced their official decision on ESPNU: Defensive end Solomon Thomas (6-3, 255) and cornerback Terrence Alexander (5-10, 180). Thomas made his decision late in the process, with Shaw saying he knew two days ago.
"It was a long recruiting process," Shaw said. "It came down to the best education he could find with the best football he could find. What he did today was fun. It was awesome."
Wide receiver Isaiah Brandt-Sims (5-11, 180), fullback Daniel Marx (6-2, 240) and tight end Dalton Schultz (6-6, 240) are also on the offensive side of the ball.
"McCaffrey and Brandt-Sims both have unbelievable versatility," Shaw said. "I think we signed the top tight end in the country."
Dalton was considered by many publications as the top tight end in the country.
"We are going to agree and sometimes we are not," Bloomgren said. "In Dalton's case, we absolutely did."
In addition to Hall, future offensive linemen include Jesse Burkett (6-4, 305), Reilly Gibbons (6-6, 302) and Casey Tucker (6-6, 295).
"We signed four big, physical offensive linemen," Shaw said. "The Stanford class starts up front."
Cornerback Alijah Holder (6-2, 170) will be considered for a linebacker spot, joining Joey Alfieri (6-3, 230), Bobby Okereke (6-3, 215), Jordan Perez (6-2, 210) and Lane Veach (6-6, 235) as linebackers.
"That's a diverse group of linebackers," Shaw said. "That's the heartbeat of the team."
Safeties Denzel Franklin (6-0, 195) and Brandon Simmons (6-0, 180) and cornerback Alameen Murphy (5-11, 180) join Alexander in the secondary.
"That's the most guys in one class we've signed in the secondary in I don't know how many years," said Shaw.
Harrison Phillips (6-4, 258) joined Thomas on the defensive front.
"We had a lot of redshirts because we had so many fourth- and fifth-year seniors," Shaw said. "It is competition-based here. If you can help win a game, you're going to play."
Thomas was ranked the 20th-best overall recruit by several publications.
"He's mature and a leader," Shaw said. "He is focused on what is important."
Nine of the incoming freshmen were named PrepStar All-Americans and four were consensus picks.
"Just like everybody else we're excited about the young men joining the football and university," Shaw said.
NOTES: Shaw said he'll likely name his running backs coach within a week and still has people to interview for the secondary coach position . . . Shaw indicated that the Cardinal will most likely not have a full complement of 85 scholarships this year . . . Shaw said the walk-on part of recruiting has not yet ended. "We're always on the lookout for kicking talent," he said . . . Seven of the recruits had fathers who played NCAA Division I football: Alfieri, Burkett, Chryst, Hall, McCaffrey, Simmons, Veach . . . Okereke is a San Mateo native . . . The 20 newest Cardinal hail from 12 states: Arizona (3), California (5), Colorado, Florida (2), Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas (2), Utah and Washington.
2014 STANFORD FOOTBALL SIGNING CLASS
Name Pos HT WT High School/ Hometown
Terrence Alexander CB 5-10 180 New Orleans, La./ John Curtis Christian
Joey Alfieri ILB 6-3 230 Portland, Ore./ Jesuit
Jesse Burkett OT/ OG 6-4 305 St. Augustine, Fla./ Bartram Trail
Isaiah Brandt-Sims RB/WR 5-11 180 Wenatchee, Wash./ Wenatchee
Keller Chryst QB 6-5 228 Palo Alto, Calif./ Palo Alto
Denzel Franklin S 6-0 195 Smyrna, Ga./ Pace Academy
Reilly Gibbons OT 6-6 302 Clearwater, Fla./ St. Petersburgh Catholic
A.T. Hall OG 6-5 295 Glendale, Ariz./ Brophy College Prep.
Alijah Holder CB 6-2 170 Oceanside, Calif./ Oceanside
Daniel Marx FB 6-2 240 Trabuco Canyon, Calif./ Mission Viejo
Christian McCaffrey RB 6-0 200 Castle Rock, Colo./ Valor Christian
Alameen Murphy CB 5-11 180 Fort Washington, Md./ Friendly
Bobby Okereke ILB 6-3 215 Santa Ana, Calif./ Foothill
Jordan Perez LB 6-2 210 Carlsbad, Calif./ Carlsbad
Harrison Phillips DE 6-4 258 Omaha, Neb./ Millard West
Dalton Schultz TE 6-6 240 South Jordan, Utah/ Bingham
Brandon Simmons S 6-0 180 Mansfield, Texas/ Timberview
Solomon Thomas DE 6-3 255 Coppell, Texas/ Coppell
Casey Tucker OT 6-6 295 Gilbert, Ariz./ Hamilton
Lane Veach OLB 6-6 235 Chandler, Ariz./ Perry