Even though it has long been assumed that Palo Alto High School's Keller Chryst would one day walk across El Camino Real to attend Stanford University and take his place in the long, long, long line of outstanding Stanford quarterbacks, today's signing finally makes it official.
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 highlight video is eleven minutes of must-see television. Chryst is bigger and stronger than most everyone on the field, so there are a few shots of him stiff-arming defensive linemen like annoying little brothers 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. And don't doubt his arm strength -- the package is filled with fifty-yard passes out of deep drops and shorter passes rifled off his back foot.
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. While quarterback Kevin Hogan is entrenched as the starter at least through this season, Chryst will likely be given the chance to compete with Ryan Burns for the starting job once Hogan moves on. Cardinal fans will have to wait a bit before seeing him on the field, but they should still be excited. Very excited.