This was a commitment that had long been expected, but that didn't stop Cardinal fans from celebrating on Twitter and various bulletin boards when it became "official" on Friday morning. Palo Alto High School senior Keller Chryst gave his verbal commitment to walk across El Camino Real and attend Stanford University where he will likely become another in a long, long, long line of outstanding Stanford quarterbacks.
The Stanford coaches have been watching Chryst for quite some time, and for good reason. ESPN and all three major recruiting services rank Chryst at or near the top of the list of pro-style quarterbacks in the Class of 2014 (247 Sports: #1, ESPN: #1, Scout: #2, Rivals: #2), and he turned down scholarship offers from Alabama and USC. (Most schools didn't bother offering as it was widely assumed he'd be staying in Palo Alto.)
At 6'4" and 230 pounds, Chryst has the size to stand tall and strong in the pocket, and his mechanics will likely be sound -- his father is Geep Chryst, quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers, and his uncle, Paul Chryst, is the head coach at Pitt. I'm guessing that Keller has spent more than a little time breaking down game film.
Speaking of game film, Chryst's 2012 highlight video is must-see television. As you watch, remember that you're looking at footage of a seventeen-year-old junior with another year of high school to play before arriving at Stanford. Chryst is bigger and stronger than most everyone on the field, so there are a few shots of him stiff-arming defensive linemen or trucking over linebackers, but his strength is clearly as a pocket passer. If you're looking for proof of this, don't watch Chryst -- though it's admittedly hard not to watch his smooth mechanics -- but watch his receivers instead. Chryst nearly always hits them in stride, whether it's a quick slant across the middle, a lofted pass to the corner of the end zone, or a deep post pattern. If you get bored watching one beautiful pass after another, pay careful attention at the 6:22 mark where you'll see an incomplete pass, notable because Chryst scrambles to his left, throws off his back foot, and lofts the ball 55-60 yards in the air, just over the outstetched hands of his intended receiver.
The bottom line is this -- this kid can make all the throws right now, and he's only going to get stronger. Once he combines his physical gifts with a knowledge of the Stanford playbook, he'll be a force to be reckoned with throughout the Pac-12. He won't offically arrive on campus until a year from now, and he likely won't take a snap until the fall of 2015 or '16, but you should still be excited. Very excited.