There have been a lot of talented tight ends who have come through the Stanford football program and moved onto the NFL. It’s almost becoming a tradition that the Cardinal get at least one tight end picked in the NFL Draft every year.
With Stanford sending two – Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo – to the big leagues in 2013, the Cardinal will certainly need to restock at the position if they hope to keep up their reputation as a tight end talent factory. They did just that with their 2013 recruiting class, landing three new tight ends to help lessen the blow. None of them stands out more than Austin Hooper, though.
A two-way star at De La Salle High School in Concord, CA, Hooper was an absolute beast for one of California’s premier football powerhouses while playing both tight end and defensive end. Now ready to don the Cardinal red, Hooper will focus on the offensive side of the ball as Stanford tries to replace the production that Ertz and Toilolo provided.
Hooper won’t be alone, though. The Cardinal also brought in three-star recruits Greg Taboada and Eric Cotton Jr. to help pick up the slack at the tight spot. All three will have the opportunity to receive significant playing time in their first year on campus, but my money is on Hooper to stand above the pack and make his presence felt from Day 1.
Above all, Hooper brings the type of gifted athleticism that Stanford has gotten so used to having at the tight end position. Many have raved about him being a complete stud on the football field, and for good reason. Assuming he can catch on quickly and build some chemistry with quarterback Kevin Hogan early, there’s no reason to believe that Hooper can’t be a serious contributor in 2013.
If there’s one tight end from this Stanford 2013 recruiting class who can carry on the tradition, it’s Hooper.