David Shaw has been around some elite offensive linemen over the past six years as Stanford has reinvented itself into one of the most physical teams in all of college football. Guard David DeCastro was a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, tackle Jonathan Martin a second-round selection of the Miami Dolphins, and senior All-America guard David Yankey will join his former Cardinal teammates in the NFL soon enough.
Considering that impressive pedigree, it really stands out when Shaw uses the word "special" multiple times to describe sophomore left tackle Andrus Peat.
"We haven't had anybody with the athletic ability that he has. There's no ceiling right now. We're talking about special. Different category," Shaw said Thursday.
Shaw even went as far as saying he didn't know how many offensive tackles in the nation would be better than Peat this season. That's incredibly high praise for someone that has yet to start and averaged just 20 snaps per game last season as a true freshman.
"Six-(foot)-six and a half, 315 pounds and he moves like a tight end," Shaw said. "Fast, quick, explosive. The guys can't get around him. He's too athletic. He's big but he moves."
Peat was the top prep player in Arizona in 2012, earning four and five-star grades from all the recruiting services. Sporting News even declared him the nation's best recruit, reflecting a strong family bloodline. His father, Todd, played with the St. Louis and Phoenix Cardinals and Los Angeles Raiders for six seasons in the late 1980s and early 90s.
Handle those three disruptive forces and Peat really will be in the conversation as the top blind-side protector in the college ranks, exactly as his coach anticipates.
Said Shaw: "He's still learning, he's still growing, but I think he's special."