Any discussion of 2014 recruits comes with the understanding that even those players who have committed to the Cardinal could change their minds or fail to gain admission to the University. Nothing is official until national signing day on February 5, 2014, so recruiting news should be read through that filter. It's an inexact science, but it's simply too much fun to ignore.
It doesn't seem that long ago that even as the Stanford defense began to gain strength and confidence, the defensive backfield lagged behind as somewhat of an Achille's heal. Thankfully, those days are over. With the success of former Cardinal and current NFL Pro Bowler Richard Sherman, the ascendence of safeties Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards, and last year's emergence of corner Alex Carter, the top level of the Stanford defense is suddenly an NFL pipeline.
The next talent ready to jump in line is Brandon Simmons, a 6'1", 180-pound safety out of Mansfield, Texas. Simmons comes highly regarded by all major recruiting services as one of the top safeties in America (Rivals, #20; Scout, #8; 247 Sports, #21; ESPN, #16), and all four see him as a four-star prospect. Simmons's offer list reflects that confidence, as he is reported to have turned down scholarship offers to 32 different schools, including LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. Normally there are concerns about whether or not an athlete will meet Stanford's rigorous admissions requirements, but that probably won't be a concern with Simmons; one of the offers he turned down was from Harvard, a school which enjoys such a prestigious academic reputation that it is often refered to as the Stanford of the East.
Aside from his on-field impact (click here for his highlight package) which could begin as early as 2014 in certain nickel packages, Simmons has already begun recruiting other talent to join him in Palo Alto as part of a 2014 admissions class that could solidify Stanford's place amongst the elite of college football.