20 join Stanford Football in 2021 recruiting class

Dec. 16, 2020, 7:04 p.m.

Stanford Football added 20 to its ranks on Wednesday during the NCAA’s Early National Signing period, acquiring nine offensive players, nine defensive players and two specialists in a recruiting class currently considered No. 30 in the nation by PrepStar.

Though the majority of the Cardinal’s recruits joined the program on Wednesday, Stanford remains able to sign additional student-athletes through Friday, as well as during the traditional signing period which begins in early February 2021. 

With the commitments, Stanford welcomes numerous highly-ranked recruits as well as multiple athletes for whom football could be said to run in the family. Defensive end Zach Buckey from Bakersfield, California is just one example, ranked No. 44 in the position by PrepStar and No. 82 by 247Sports. 

Buckey follows in the footsteps of his father, Jeff Buckey ’96, who also called Stanford Stadium home before being drafted to the Miami Dolphins as a seventh-round pick in 1996. Buckey later returned to California to play for the San Francisco 49ers. 

Buckey’s great-grandfather Sheldon Harden also showcased his athleticism in the Bay Area and later at Cal Poly, playing football for Santa Clara before serving as head coach for the Mustangs. Buckey will be the 10th member of his family to play sports at the Division I level. 

Four-star recruit Aaron Armitage and top-100 defensive end Anthony Franklin join Buckey in adding talent to Stanford’s defensive line. 

Like Buckey, impressive quarterback prospect Ari Patu comes to the Farm as a student-athlete with sports in his bloodline. The consensus top-25 quarterback boasts a No. 6 ranking by ESPN for the position and a similar No. 7 mark by PrepStar. Patu’s parents, Saul and Alana, played football and softball, respectively, for Pac-12 foe Oregon before Saul continued his career in the NFL and eventually the Arena Football League. 

Making Big Game a sibling rivalry, Patu comes to Stanford while his older brother Orin plays football at Cal. 

Brendan Barrow is perhaps the highlight addition to the skills positions, coming to the Farm as the No. 8 running back according to 247Sports and continuing in the path of two of his siblings, Connor and Pat, who played for the Cardinal from 2010-13 and 2013-16, respectively. Barrow recorded a notable 2,000 rushing yards in 2018 as a sophomore and is one of two 2021 recruits hailing from Ontario, Canada — the other being Armitage. 

Another top-100 skills position grab is wide receiver Jayson Raines. The nephew of current Los Angeles Chargers assistant coach, Alfredo Roberts, Raines is PrepStar’s No. 78 wide receiver. He set the single-season record for receiving yards (700) and touchdowns (12) for his high school, West Orange High School in West Orange, New Jersey, in 2019. 

Four defensive backs — Mitch Leigber, Caleb Ellis, Jaden Slocum and Jimmy Wyrick — were picked up in the Class of 2021 in a move that helps add depth to Stanford’s defensive backfield. Leigber boasts a consensus top-40 ranking as a safety, while the Ellis slides in around No. 51 in the position per ESPN.

Stanford also signed kicker Emmet Kenney and punter Connor Weselman at specialists. Both have dominated in their positions, with Kenney being the two-time North Dakota Special Teams Player of the Year and Weselman ranked as a top-5 punter by both PrepStar and 247Sports. 

A complete list of signees from Wednesday can be found on the Stanford Athletics’ website. 

Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Savanna Stewart is a managing editor in the Sports section. She is a junior from Twin Bridges, Montana studying Political Science and Communication and enjoys running and playing basketball. Contact her at sstewart 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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