Stanford Football Welcomes its Walk-Ons to the Class of 2009
Aug. 7, 2009
STANFORD-- With training camp set to begin on Monday, the Cardinal are elated by the quality and depth of this year's 12 walk-ons. With 103 players set to report, including this Cardinal Dozen, the 103 players is its largest roster since the 85-scholarship limit was instituted.
“Never before in the history of Stanford Football has there been a walk-on class of this caliber,” said third-year Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football and head coach Jim Harbaugh. “This group of 12 student-athletes fulfills our vision for the great health and prosperity for the Cardinal. We are in uncharted waters, with the depth and quality of this class. We anticipate that these 12 young men will have a major impact on the success of Stanford Football. I’m gushing over these guys and can’t wait to finally start coaching them.”
The walk-on class includes five players that were named all-state: cornerback Ryan Ballenger (New Albany, OH), center Jacob Gowan (Santa Rosa, Calif.), linebackers Devin Guillory (Baton Rouge, La.) and Brent Seals (Chino, CA) and safety Myles Muagututia (Oceanside, Calif.); and four league MVPs: wide receiver Brad Busby (Wilmington, N.C.), linebacker Brent Etiz (Clovis, Calif.), quarterback Robbie Picazo (Las Flores, Calif.) and running back Michael Spanos (Stockton, Calif.). Picazo, in addition, was Orange County's Offensive Player of the Year.
In addition, three players have strong ties to Stanford, all-league wide receiver Sam Knapp (Menlo Park, Calif.) heads to campus where his father, Ted, is an assistant on the national champion men's swim program; Eric Whitaker (San Diego, Calif.) joins his older brother, Nate, at kicker and Stutz states in his bio that his dream of playing at Stanford began when he was seven years old.
In addition, Guillory was a finalist for the Heisman award given to the top players in each state, Picazo threw for a school-record 33 touchdowns, Spanos and Stutz each rushed for 23 touchdowns, and Seals, Ballenger and Etiz each made over 100 tackles over their prep careers.
“These kids were very highly recruited by the Ivies and a breadth of Division-I football programs,” said recruiting coordinator Lance Anderson. “Just like the recipe for success in our scholarship signing class, we were able to get on these kids early, have them attend our games and visit our campus. These are great players across many positions, who were very high on our recruiting board. We are excited.”
2009 FRESHMAN WALK-ON CLASS
Ryan Ballenger, CB (New Albany, Ohio)
Walk-on who graduated from Lincoln High School in Gahanna, Ohio...head coach was John Snoad...earned three varsity letters...played cornerback, safety, quarterback, wide receiver, kicker and punter during his prep career...totaled 327 all-purpose yards as a senior...averaged 19.9 yards per catch and 7.8 yards per carry...also had 30 tackles and two interceptions on defense...totaled 108 career tackles and seven interceptions...earned first team All-Ohio Capital Conference accolades...also earned a spot on the 2008 Academic All-Ohio Football Team...Ohio Capital Conference Scholar of the Year...participated in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game...also lettered in track and field.
Defensive back coach Clayton White: “Ryan is a big athlete who can run. He plays physical enough for a safety, and is also fast enough to play corner. Ryan is a smart football player on top of being very athletic with great size.”
Brad Busby, WR (Wilmington, N.C.)
Walk-on who graduated from John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington, N.C. ...head coach was Scott Braswell...played quarterback, wide receiver and safety during his three-year varsity career...earned Star News All-Area and Midwestern Conference 3A/4A player of the year honors as a senior...rushed for 1,226 yards and 17 touchdowns and threw for 917 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior...also caught one TD pass...started at wide receiver as a junior and also played quarterback in running situations...helped Hoggard to four conference championships and two sectional titles...Hoggard also captured the 4A state championship in 2007 to complete a 15-0 season...team posted a combined 25-2 record over his junior and senior seasons...also lettered in basketball and track...recognized as a North Carolina High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete with the highest grade point average (4.75)...parents are James and Kathy Busby...has one younger sister, Kristen...uncle Brad Lyman played football at UCLA from 1968-72 and two years with the Houston Oilers (1972-73)...cousin Chase Lyman played at Cal from 2000-04 and two seasons with the New Orleans Saints (2005-06).
Offensive coordinator David Shaw: “Brad is a tall, athletic young man who is making the transition from quarterback to wide receiver. He has size and speed and will add to the versatility and depth of our wide receiver corps.”
Brent Etiz, LB (Clovis, Calif.)
Walk-on who graduated from Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif....high school coach was Mike Vogt...three-year starter at a linebacker...also captained the squad for three consecutive seasons...first team all-conference performer was named the Tri-River Athletic Conference's (TRAC) Defensive Player of the Year as a senior...also earned first team all-San Joaquin Valley honors...Buchanan Bear Award recipient in 2008...member of the all-valley junior team and second team all-TRAC in 2007...finished with 126 total tackles as a senior, including 21 tackles-for-loss...also had three forced fumbles and four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown...also had seven sacks and four pass breakups...holds Buchanan's career and single-season records for solo and assisted tackles...helped Buchanan to consecutive TRAC titles in 2007 and '08...also lettered in baseball...named class valedictorian...Academic Scholar of Distinction who graduated in the top 1% of his class...B'nai B'rith Student-Athlete of the Year finalist...California Scholarship Federation lifetime member...plans to major in business.
Co-defensive coordinator Andy Buh: “Brent Etiz is a tough, hard-nosed football player from the Valley who we are very fortunate to have as part of our team. I think Brent will grow into a good-sized middle linebacker and add sure-tackling ability to our special teams units.”
Jacob Gowan, C/G (Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Walk-on who graduated from Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, Calif....played for head coach Paul Cronin...also attended Anderson Valley in Boonville, Calif. from 2005-07...earned first team all-state Division III honors as a senior...second team all-state pick as a junior...helped Cardinal Newman to the 2008 North Coast Section Division II championship and a runner-up finish in the CIF championships...member of the President's List for maintaining a grade point average above 4.0 for four semesters...also lettered in rugby and track & field.
Offensive line coach Tim Drevno: “We are fortunate to have Jacob join our football team. Jacob is a physical football player who brings a toughness to our offensive line and a winning attitude from Cardinal Newman High School.”
Devin Guillory, LB/S (Baton Rouge, La.)
Walk-on who graduated from McKinley High School in Baton Rouge, La. ...played for head coach Robert Signature...four-year defensive starter...played free safety, strong safety, outside linebacker and defensive end...totaled 92 tackles as a senior, including 16 tackles-for-loss, 11 sacks and three forced fumbles...predominately used as a safety as a junior...recorded 72 tackles, including 16 pass break-ups, three interceptions and had four forced fumbles...participated in the U.S. Army Red Stick Bowl in Baton Rouge following his senior season...earned Louisiana 4A first team all-state honors...2008 Wendy's High School Heisman State finalist...All-District 7-4A selection as a junior...2008 U.S. Army Red Stick Bowl Scholastic Award recipient...four-year recipient of McKinley's student-athlete award...Dr. Delores Richards-Spikes Award winner as presented by the McKinley High Athletic Alumni Association...2009 Student Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) recipient...2008 Louisiana Composite Academic All-State selection...also lettered in track and field, participating in the long jump, triple jump, 400 meter relay and 1600 meter relay...2009 National Merit finalist...National Achievement and Coca-Cola Scholar...2008 AP Scholar with distinction...class salutatorian...member of the National Honors Society...2009 East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Ambassador...2008 Riz Up Louisiana Most Outstanding Academic Award recipient.
Buh: “Devin Guillory, with some added size, will grow into a weakside linebacker. A rocket on the field as a high school football player, we are very fortunate to have him. Devin, like most of our freshmen, will compete for spots on the depth chart and add to our special teams units.”
Sam Knapp, WR (Menlo Park, Calif.)
Walk-on who graduated from nearby Menlo-Atherton (Calif.) High School...played for Bob Sykes and Phil Brown...three-year varsity letterwinner who played both wide receiver and safety...two-time first team Peninsula Athletic League selection as a junior and senior...also earned first team All-San Mateo County accolades as a junior and honorable mention all-county marks as a senior...he was named first team All-Daily News as a junior and named to the second team as a senior... finished with 30 catches for 513 yards and six touchdowns as a senior, despite missing three games due to injury...also had four interceptions as a safety...caught 25 passes for 460 yards and six TDs as a sophomore...tallied 40 receptions for 863 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior...caught a total of 95 passes for 1,863 yards and 19 touchdowns during his varsity career...helped Menlo-Atherton to back-to-back PAL Bay Division championships as a junior and senior...team also captured the 2008 Central Coast Section Large School Division title...also earned all-conference honors in basketball and baseball...named school's outstanding athlete as a senior...hit .414 as a senior and compiled an on-base percentage of .506 to go along with a .557 slugging percentage...averaged 11 points and 10 rebounds per game over two his final two years of basketball... California Scholastic Federation and AP Scholar Award recipient...In June, 2009 was named a candidate for the Farmer's Scholar Athlete of the Year Award... parents are Ted and Laurie Knapp...father was an All-American swimmer at Stanford from 1978-81 and currently serves as the associate head coach of the Cardinal men's program.
Shaw: “Sam is a big, strong wide receiver with great hands. He's shown the ability to go up and make tough catches in traffic, as well as being a dependable Red Zone threat. We're looking forward to seeing him compete.”
Myles Muagututia, S (Oceanside, Calif.)
Walk-on who graduated from Francis Parker High School in San Diego, Calif...head coach was John Morrison...played strong safety, wide receiver, tight end and weak side linebacker during his varsity career...two-time all-CIF San Diego Section selection...second team all-state defensive selection as a senior...helped Francis Parker to Coastal League and CIF san Diego Section Division IV championships as a senior...participated in the San Diego Section All-Star Game following his senior season...also lettered in basketball and volleyball...was selected as one of the top 50 seniors in the country by Volleyball Magazine...parents are Faauuga and Kathleen...has two older brothers, Grant and Garrett...brother Garrett plays volleyball at UCLA...cousins Matthew Malele and Norris Tualaulelei-Malele both played football at Cal.
White: “Myles is a big and explosive athlete. You can see it with his vertical leap when he plays volleyball, where he is one of the elite athletes in the country.”
Robbie Picazo, QB (Las Flores, Calif.)
Walk-on who graduated from Tesoro High School in Las Flores, Calif....head coach was Brian Barnes...four-year varsity letterwinner...garnered Orange County Offensive Player of the Year honors after throwing for 2,754 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior...also was a CIF Southern Section Pac-5 first team selection...earned second team MaxPreps all-state honors...named South Coast League Offensive Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year...set a school single-game record by completing 22 passes against Mater Dei in the 2008 CIF playoffs...also set single-season records for completions (192), touchdown passes (33) and passing yards (2,754) as a senior...led his team to back-to-back league titles as a junior and senior...Tesoro advanced to the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 championship game at Angel Stadium where it suffered its first loss of the season to Long Beach Poly...also lettered in basketball and baseball...first team all-conference and second team All-CIF Southern Section Division I-A selection who averaged 11.6 points per game as a senior...AP Scholar...National Hispanic Recognition Program and National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award recipient...earned Tesoro's Torch of Excellence Award for AP Euro (2007), AP U.S. History (2008) and AP Government (2009)...National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation member...parents are Bob and Carolyn Picazo...his father wrestled at Stanford as a freshman in 1975-76.
Harbaugh: “Robbie has all the tools to be an excellent Pac-10 quarterback – including size, speed, athleticism, arm strength and a deep desire to be good. He has a real passion for Stanford, which has been evident since we first met Robbie.”
Brent Seals, LB (Chino, Calif.)
Walk-on who graduated from La Puente (Calif.) High School...played for head coach Steve Hagerty...played linebacker, running back and strong safety...earned 2008 first team All-CIF honors...also garnered first team All-Serra League and All-San Gabriel Valley honors...also earned first team all-league marks as a junior...earned the school's scholar athlete award as a junior and was named his team's most valuable player...finished with 111 tackles, seven sacks and one interception in 11 games as a senior following an impressive junior campaign in which he finished with 107 tackles, three sacks and one interception...totaled 272 tackles, 12 sacks and five interceptions during his three-year varsity career...ranks third all-time in school history in total tackles...three-year letterwinner in track and field...participated in the long jump, triple jump and 100 meters...National Achievement Scholarship and AP Scholar Award recipient...member of the National Honor Society and California Scholastic Federation...also earned Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award...parents are Robert and Dione Seals...has one older brother and a younger sister...brother Chris played football at Idaho State from 2003-04.
Buh: “Brent Seals was a stellar high school football player. We are very pleased to have him as part of our team. Brent will add depth to our Special Teams Units and will play either strong safety or weakside linebacker for us. We are really looking for big things out of Brent.”
Michael Spanos, RB (Stockton, Calif.)
Walk-on who graduated from Lincoln High School in Stockton, Calif....played for head coach Brian Gray...played running back and defensive back...named San Joaquin Athletic Association's most valuable player as a senior...also earned all-section honorable mention honors...rushed for 1,408 yards and 23 touchdowns on 141 carries as a senior...also had 136 receiving yards and two touchdowns...ran for 715 yards and three touchdowns on 60 carries as a junior...helped Lincoln to back-to-back San Joaquin Athletic Association titles as a junior and senior...lifetime member of the California Scholarship Federation...parents are Michael and Helen...oldest of five children...cousin Nick Ruhl played football at Stanford from 2006-08.
Running backs coach Willie Taggart: “Michael is a really talented player who can do a lot of different things for us from the running back position. He can catch the ball out of the backfield or out wide. He’s quick like a cat.”
Andrew Stutz, RB (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Walk-on who graduated from Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale, Ariz....head coach was Scott Benis...three-year varsity letterwinner and two-year team captain...played running back, outside linebacker, strong safety and was used as a kick returner during his prep career...earned first team All-Black Canyon Region honors as a running back following his senior season...named the most valuable player of the 2008-09 4A State championship game...2008 Cox/Arizona Interscholastic Association 'Pursuing Victory With Honor' award recipient...four-time Interscholastic Association Student-Athlete award honoree...rushed for 1,523 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior...also had one receiving touchdown and four other TDs on special teams...averaged 109.0 yards on the ground as a senior...had 65 tackles and four fumble recoveries from his weak side linebacker position...rushed for 229 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns in Notre Dame's 15-13 victory over Marin Catholic...finished with 182 yards and two touchdowns in Notre Dame's 4A Division title game victory over Santa Rita of Tucson...contributed to Notre Dame's 49-32 victory over Mingus Union in the state title game as a junior...also lettered in track and field...had the highest unweighted grade point average in his class...National Honor Society Treasurer as a senior...four-year Arizona Interscholastic Association Student-Athlete selection...declared his plans to play football at Stanford when he was seven years old...competes in lifeguard competitions...logged over 210 volunteer hours in high school with various organizations, including Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos and St. Bernard of Clairvauz Parish...earned Academic Excellence Awards for Mathematics, Social Studies and English...Principal's Award for Notre Dame Prep core pillar of responsibility...also received school's Mater Dei Award, given annually to a senior who excels in scholarship, athletics, character, role model, leadership, spirituality, school service and team player...also received the Vanderhout Pillars of Character Scholarship for the senior who maintains high academic standards and exemplifies the highest ideals of character, citizenship, respect, fairness, integrity and responsibility...parents are Thomas and Karen Stutz...has two older brothers, Matthew and Christopher...his grandfather played basketball and hockey for Cornell in 1942-43.
Taggart: “Andrew is more of a downhill, physical runner, which we thrive on at Stanford.”
Eric Whitaker, K (San Diego, Calif.)
Walk-on who graduated from St. Augustine High School in San Diego, Calif....head coach was Jerry Ralph...joins older brother Nate on this year's roster...earned three varsity letters as a kicker...was invited to play in the Down Under Bowl as a senior but did not participate...also lettered in soccer...four year honor roll student...parents are Paul and Angela Whitaker...has one older brother, Nate.
Special teams coach D.J. Durkin: “We’re excited to bring Eric into our program. We feel he has many qualities of a Division-I kicker, and we’re eager for him to compete for our kicking job. It will be interesting because one of the guys he will compete against is his brother.”