Although the 2018 college football season has yet to kick-off, Stanford is preparing for a transformative year in 2019. By then, most of its offense, including elite backfield specialist Bryce Love, will turn to the 2019 NFL Draft. As a way to cope with the future losses, Stanford will have to train its 2019 list of freshman of which already features seven hard commits, including one of the nation’s sought after running backs, Austin Jones of Bishop O’Dowd.
Stanford Football Recruiting: Class Of 2019 Commits To Know
Running Back – Austin Jones, Bishop O’Dowd
Stanford’s hardest hit for next season will come at running back as both Bryce Love and Cameron Scarlett look to further their football careers in the 2019 NFL Draft. Bishop O’Dowd’s Austin Jones (ranks 171st in the ESPN300) is a likely candidate to take their place in the near future. He’ll be surrounded by good company nonetheless in Stanford upperclassmen Dorian Maddox, Justus Woods, and Trevor Speights. Regardless of Stanford’s depth at running back, Austin Jones’ 5-foot-11 frame could be useful in evading tackles since he’s built closer to the ground.
Throughout only one year of varsity football, Jones has amassed 1,560 yards and 23 rushing touchdowns. Those numbers are good enough for an average of 130 yards per game in a state saturated by high school talent. Another asset for Jones, is his size in comparison to Bryce Love – Jones is 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, whereas Love is 5-foot-10 and 196 pounds. Stanford’s other reliable back, Cameron Scarlett (6-foot-1, 213 pounds), is in a class of his own, but measuring Jones’ success by stature alone is unfair, especially for someone who posted 126 yards and five touchdowns in one game.
Center – Branson Bragg, Crandall
At 6-foot-4 and hovering around 300 pounds, Crandall’s Branson Bragg (ranks 155th on the ESPN300) will have no trouble fitting into a collegiate offensive line. During his junior year, Bragg showed no mercy towards opposing defenses in what’s called “roach patrol.” After allowing zero sacks as a junior in 2017, Bragg addressed that it’s not only football that attracted him to Stanford. Next year’s Big Man on Campus, who allegedly averages a 4.19 GPA at Crandall, is also privy to Stanford’s academic prowess, which he saluted in his commitment.
A mentor to Bragg, once he steps into the C-House, will be Stanford OG Nate Herbig, a crucial anchor to the team’s center. Herbig has the playing experience and enough football instinct to teach Bragg the fundamentals of keeping next-year senior K.J. Costello safe, along with fending off one of the improving defensive conferences in Division I football.
Guard – Jake Hornibrook, Malvern Prep
Like Bragg’s situation with Herbig, Malvern Prep’s Jake Hornibrook is another addition to Stanford’s o-line in next year’s recruiting class. Hornibrook’s not mentioned in the ESPN300, but don’t discount him so soon. In one of his highlight reels, Hornibrook is a younger, underdeveloped version of Herbig. Being aggressive off the ball isn’t a curse and neither is keeping his opponent close and dragging him another five yards away from the line of scrimmage.
WR Colby Bowman, St. John Bosco
Cardinal wideouts Osiris St. Brown and Connor Wedington may steal the show away from 2019 freshman Colby Bowman, but it just gives Costello another weapon to look forward to. Over the years, St. John Bosco has been a factory at producing Pac-12 talent, like Washington RB Sean McGrew and ex-UCLA Bruins QB Josh Rosen. That, of course, doesn’t excuse Bowman, who puts out every season at his Bellflower-based school.
In congruence to other years for his high school, St. John Bosco and Bowman will undergo stress tests early on this season with match-ups against St. Thomas Aquinas, Chaminade, Mater Dei, Servite, and Centennial. Those games will be proving grounds for Bowman to demonstrate that he can compete with the best at the collegiate level. Until then, football’s on Bowman’s mind and Bowman’s mind is on football.
Cornerback – Kyu Kelly, Bishop Gorman
Highlighted by Obi Eboh, J.J. Parson, Treyjohn Butler and Malik Antoine, cornerback will be Stanford’s safety net in 2019. As a result, Bishop Gorman’s Kyu Kelly time in the waiting room will be his best teacher as he learns from those Cardinal vets. Regardless, Kyu Kelly, a kid with roots in the scariest high school football program in the nation, will emerge as one of Stanford’s most feared defensive players.
If you want to know more about the culture of high school football, then look no further than Bishop Gorman from Nevada. Like St. John Bosco, BG alum have been flocking to Pac-12 schools, like UCLA (QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson) and Cal (RB Biaggio Ali Walsh), and to Stanford’s indie rival, Notre Dame (CB Nicco Fertitta). Kelly, who registered 18 total tackles and four interceptions in 2017, also plays as a wide receiver, so he’s coachable on either side of the ball.
The one factor that gives Kelly a disadvantage is his weight – he may be 6-foot-1, but he’s only 160 pounds. For perspective, Stanford’s lightest guys are wide receivers: Jay Tyler (160), Cameron Buzzell (164) and Sidhart Krishnamurthi (167).
While it’s too premature to figure out the rest of Stanford’s high school football recruiting pool of 2019, the five above will have their own opportunities to make a footprint on The Farm. After all, David Shaw is known for preparing his players, like Andrew Luck and Christian McCaffrey, in other ways than just the physical dynamics of college football. He’ll soon have the chance to sculpt the young minds of Jones, Bragg, Hornibrook, Bowman, and Kelly for years to come at Stanford.