David Shaw told a room of 3,000 coaches at the AFCA Convention in January that he wasn't just an old school coach, he's an old school person. Nothing encapsulates that description better than Dan Wetzel's profile of the Stanford coach that published last night.
Wetzel detailed Stanford's recruiting strategy as this: finding "Stanford Men" wherever they may be across the country and bringing them to the Farm. How do they do that? By convincing those Stanford Men, kids who pull in a 3.8 GPA, wreck shop on the football field and do the right things off it, that their college years are best spent surrounding themselves with people who live life like they do instead becoming an outlier inside the locker room.
"This is a kid that is in a small town and has a 3.8 GPA and is a great football player and has aspirations to be an astronaut or a physicist or something like that," Shaw explained. And he comes here and realizes, 'Wait a minute, I'm like these guys right here. I go back home and I'm not like those guys back home, I'm not like those guys that go to my local college because if I go there I'm going to stand out. I'm going to be the one guy that says, 'Hey, you know what, yeah I'll come to the party later but I have to finish [school work] first.'
"Our guys all do that."
So how does Shaw instruct his assistants to find those kids when they go recruiting? What's the key they should look for?
"You look for vocabulary," he said. "Can this kid express himself in a way that befits a Stanford man?
"Does that correlate to football? I say, yes, absolutely. [We seek] a young man that has the confidence to stand up in front of you and express himself as opposed to what a lot of young kids do today – they don't give you eye contact, they kind of mumble when they talk to adults.
"You walk around and talk to our kids, they look you in the eye," Shaw continued. "And we play that way. We are going to play right at you, in your face, 'Here is who we are, here is how we play.' There is a one-to-one correlation. There is no doubt about it to me. The inability to be intimidated by a person or a situation is something that is significant."
If you want to see how Shaw runs his program, why he's so settled at Stanford and what exactly makes that program different, you can read the full profile here. You won't find a better use for the next five minutes.