Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 5, 2013

The chase for Chryst is over

Palo Alto quarterback ends speculation by committing to Stanford

by Keith Peters

Palo Alto High senior quarterback Keller Chryst is spending some quality time these days in Wisconsin. He's not participating in another football camp, rather he's on a family vacation.

Chryst likely is enjoying the time away from football, now that he's made one of the most important career choices of his life — which university he'll be attending.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder made that decision last week when he verbally committed to Stanford on Tuesday and then made it official to the public on Friday.

"It just kind of hit me," Chryst told ESPN of his decision to announce. "I just thought might as well do it right now. It was the right time to make a decision."

Chryst actually had Stanford No. 1 on his list all along, despite the fact it had been reported that Alabama, Pitt and USC were also on the list. It was just Stanford and USC.

"We knew all along that Stanford was his No. 1," said Paly football coach Earl Hansen. "It was just a matter of his grades. It's still not a done deal."

Hansen, of course, pointed out that Chryst still needs to keep his reported 3.7 GPA in good standing if he wants to make the short trip across El Camino Real to perhaps become another in the long line of standout Cardinal quarterbacks.

"It feels great," Chryst told Phil Murphy of ESPN.com in a video interview. "I'm just honored humbled to have the opportunity to play at such a university like Stanford. I'm just really excited to play for those guys."

Former Stanford and current San Francisco 49ers' head coach Jim Harbaugh compared Chryst to former Cardinal All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up Andrew Luck in a report on Twitter:

"Honestly, he reminds me of what Andrew Luck looked like when Andrew was his age in school," Harbaugh said. "They look very similar in how they play the game, their physical tools and skills. I don't think I'm going out on a limb saying that." If Chryst can accomplish some of what Andrew Luck did with the Cardinal offense he should be able to contribute early on."

Chryst's father, Geep, the the quarterbacks coach of the 49ers.

Keller Chryst, meanwhile, said he had a chance to talk briefly with Stanford head coach David Shaw, who has been on vacation.

"He was really happy," Chryst said in a video interview.

Chryst told ESPN that he chose Stanford over Alabama, USC and Pitts because "I just felt Stanford was the best fit for me overall. Every school had something good about it, but I felt Stanford had the most of everything. It's one of the best academic institutions in the world and they've had a great football team the past few years."

Chryst's college choice was announced at the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp in Beaverton, Ore., site of Nike headquarters.

Trent Dilfer, the camp host and a former NFL quarterback, said of Chryst on SB Nation:

"Keller has been Steady Eddie. He showed more life today. He's very cerebral and has a calming influence, but shows some fire and excitement. Keller is a very artistic passer. He's a graduate-level passer. He changes speeds and trajectories. He really needs to work on throwing to his left. That's something he needs to work on."

Chryst is rated as high as the No. 21-ranked player in the country. He took over the No. 1 pocket-passer ranking from David Cornwell in the new ESPN rankings released last week. Chryst competed 134 of 265 passes last season for 2,489 yards and 28 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He was named to the Junior All-American Team by MaxPreps.

Chryst later played on the Palo Alto basketball team, but suffered a bad ankle sprain late in the season that derailed the Vikings' postseason run in the NorCal playoffs. He showed his fitness in the late spring by running workouts with the track team.

Chryst's announcement not only will take pressure off him, but Palo Alto head coach Earl Hansen. Had Chryst delayed his decision, Hansen would have been deluged with phone calls while trying to prepare his team for the 2013 season.

"They (football recruiters) can call him only once a week," Hansen explained. "There's no limit to them calling me."

That's why, Hansen said, "We wanted to get it done, before summer started, so he (Chryst) could have a more peaceful summer."

Palo Alto's first day of school will be Aug. 15, with the first football practice scheduled for Friday the 16th. The Vikings, who finished 8-3 last year after losing to Serra in the CCS Open Division playoffs, will open their season on Sept. 13 at home against San Benito. Perhaps fittingly, Paly has new, larger stands on both sides of the field to accommodate potentially larger crowds for home games against perennial CCS powers like Mitty and Palma.

Meanwhile, the likely scenario for Chryst at Stanford would be to redshirt the 2014 season. His first active season would be 2015, when current Cardinal QB incumbent Kevin Hogan is a senior.

Chryst is part of a Stanford recruiting class that includes three-star running back Isaiah Brandt-Sims of Wenatchee, Wash.; three-star cornerback Alijah Holder of Oceanside; three-star cornerback Alameen Murphy of Fort Washington, Md.; three-star fullback Daniel Mars of Mission Viejo; four-star running back Christian McCaffrey of Highlands Ranch, Colo.' and four-star safety Brandon Simmons of Arlington, Texas.

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