A four-star offensive tackle, Shuler has been a force in the trenches at Brentwood Academy. He paved the way for an offense that rushed for 2,454 yards and 35 touchdowns in 2011, leading the Eagles to a 9-3 record. Shuler committed to Stanford over Auburn, among other potential college suitors, in June.Read More Below
It all started with a speech.
Two years ago, Graham Shuler, a top offensive line prospect at Brentwood Academy (Tenn.), heard veterans speak at a conference in Dallas. He felt compelled to help with their Wounded Warriors Project, an organization that aids injured veterans after returning from overseas. He wanted to get involved, but didn't act on his impulse right away.
As a senior, he realized the Wounded Warriors could serve as an ideal benefactor for Brentwood's service project. He proposed the idea and it was accepted unanimously by his classmates.
"I just felt like my school was in a position to make a difference," he said.
It's not the only difference that he's made. In 2011, Shuler anchored an offensive unit that rushed for 2,454 yards and 35 touchdowns in leading the Eagles to a 9-3 record. He developed a reputation as a premier talent in the trenches.
Both literally and figuratively, Shuler is a big man on campus. At 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, he simply overwhelms defenders, possessing strong footwork and a polished football IQ for a budding BCS prospect. He credits his family for his success: His father, Rob, was a former offensive lineman at Auburn and had his son in pads by the time he was eight.
"He had me involved from a young age," he said. "It's been in my family for a while."
By his junior and senior seasons, he was wreaking havoc against smaller competition and racking up dozens of scholarship offers. It's when he first realized that he was a Division-I caliber talent.
"I was always the biggest," he said, "but I didn't realize I was actually good."
Shuler committed to Stanford in June -- following in the footsteps of first-team All-Pac-12 standouts David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin -- and is set to play in the prestigious U.S. Army Bowl on Saturday. According to Rivals, he's not just a top offensive lineman -- he's the sixth-ranked recruit in all of Tennessee.
The Army Bowl takes on larger significance for Shuler, a nod to both of his ongoing quests. It justifies his hard work on the gridiron, but also embodies how his contributions to Wounded Warriors have paid off. He plans to continue both efforts in Palo Alto and beyond.
"If I can have any involvement," he said, "I will gladly take advantage of that opportunity."