As great as the 2013 season was for the Cardinal, there always seemed like there was something missing on the offensive side of the field. After watching tight ends like Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz, and Levine Toilolo serve as the focal point of the passing game for the previous three years, it was disappointing that there was no one on the Stanford roster ready to step into those shoes to keep that legacy going. But fear not -- the next great Cardinal tight end just might have arrived with the signing of Dalton Schultz out of South Jordan, Utah.
At 6'6" and 233 pounds, Schultz has the size to play the position, and his skill set might get him out onto the field early. How good is Schultz? By almost any measure, he is the best tight end prospect ever to sign with the Cardinal. Rivals.com ranks him as the third-best prep tight end in the Class of '14, and ESPN's Recruiting Nation puts him at #1. In comparison, Toilolo was #4 and Ertz was #10 in the Class of '09, while Fleener was only #40 in the Class of '07.
Schultz chose Stanford over runners-up Utah and Notre Dame, but he held offers from at least twenty schools, including Arizona State, Florida, Nebraska, UCLA, and USC. Stanford was long thought to be the leader to secure his commitment, but it wasn't until mid-January that Schultz released this video announcing his decision. If nothing else, the kid certainly has a flair for the dramatic, and we like that. We like that a lot.
But Schultz is more than just a budding video director. When you watch his game film, it's clear that he's a game-changing talent that will quickly rise to top of the Stanford depth chart and develop into one of the top tight ends in the Pac-12. He's strong enough to block effectively in the running game (a must for any Cardinal tight end), but it's his skill as a receiver that will separate him from average tight ends. As you watch his highlight package, notice that he rarely allows the pass to get into his body and instead catches with his hands, putting himself in position to make plays, not just receptions.
All in all, this is a huge signing for the Cardinal.