Picture a great Stanford Cardinal. It isn’t difficult. One doesn’t have to go through the annals of the nearest college football encyclopedia to read them. Plenty of examples come to mind in just the past couple years. This week the Cardinal received a verbal commitment from the next in line to carry the torch.
Greg Taboada, at least for now, pledged to respectfully decline major powers in the Southeast for the academic and athletic powerhouse in Palo Alto. Make no mistake, Taboada will be a perfect fit for both forms of discipline.
From deep in the heart of SEC country, this prep athlete could have spent the next four years at a program close to home. Instead, Taboada will do his damage on the field and in the classroom in sunny California.
Stanford’s latest verbal is rated as a four star prospect by ESPN, a three star by Rivals, and 247Sports.
Some schools have a national appeal because of their unique characteristics. Elite athletes intent on playing for national championships by the beach head to the USC Trojans. Catholics with top level talent would take a hard look at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as Mormons would the BYU Cougars.
High schoolers with a drive to military service and high acheivement target the academies. For students who view themselves as well … students first, and have the talent to hang with the best on the field too, Stanford fits the bill.
Taboada is the rare talent that looks as good in the classroom as he does on the gridiron. The Marist senior is a two way standout on defense and offense. On tape, this 6’5″ 235 pound phenom has athleticism one would expect of a smaller player. A mean tackler and an adept pass defender when lined up on defense.
On offense Taboada is a large target with plenty of upside as a pass catcher. However head coach David Shaw wants to use his latest asset remains to be seen. The Cardinal are heavy with talent at linebacker and can never have enough physical tight ends.
Shaw is stockpiling a talented 2013 class and he’s only just begun. Eight commits, six four star talents, four in the ESPN top 300, and three in the ESPN top 150. Taboada fits right in with his new collegiate peers, which should make fellow Pac-12 programs a little nervous.
Picture that Stanford.