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.
GoogleMaps tells me that it's only 111 miles from Joey Alfieri's hometown to Eugene, so it would've made perfect sense for him stay close to home and play for the Oregon Ducks, but the four-star linebacker chose instead to travel another 550 miles down I-5 to Palo Alto. (Oregon fans might be a bit upset about this, but it could be that his family history simply wouldn't allow it; Alfieri's father attended Oregon State.)
Alfieri is one of the top outside linebacker prospects in the nation, and most of the major recruiting services are in agreement (Rivals, #19; Scout, #30; 247, #20; ESPN, #51). At 6-2 and 230 pounds, Alfieri will need to add some weight if he's to stick on the outside as a pass-rushing linebacker, but he certainly has the speed and athleticism to drop into coverage against tight ends and even running backs. He has run the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds, and his performance at The Opening, one of the most prestigious high school football camps in America, was outstanding. His SPARQ score, a measurement of a football player's overall athleticism, was 133.32. That led all outside linebackers and is the fifteenth-best score for any position.
Alfieri's athleticism and versatility come across in his highlight video. In the first half you'll see what you'd expect to see when an elite linebacker is competing against kids whose football careers will end after the Homecoming Dance: lots of crushing tackles. But the second half of the video features Alfieri on the offensive side of the ball. He clears out running lanes as a fullback, gashes through the defense as a tailback, and even catches balls out of the backfield. I doubt we'll see those skills at Stanford (there will never be another Owen Marecic), but I definitely see a Pick Six or two in his future.
Alfieri's commitment, though, is about more than just the on-field impact he will have in years to come. It reinforces what we've been talking about here for the past three years. With All-Pac-12 selections in each of the past two seasons (Chase Thomas, 2011-12; Trent Murphy, 2012), and a stable of talent currently on the roster (Shayne Skov, A.J. Tarpley, Jarek Lancaster, James Vaughters, and Noor Davis), Stanford is building a legacy of greatness at the linebacker position. Joey Alfieri is the next in line.