QB Andrew Luck
9-10-11 at Duke
9-17-11 at Arizona
10-1-11 UCLA
10-8-11 COLORADO
10-15-11 at Washington State
10-29-11 at Southern California
11-5-11 at Oregon State
11-12-11 OREGON
11-26-11 NOTRE DAME
Coach: David Shaw
1st year

2010 Statistics

2010 RESULTS: 12-1
at UCLA WON 35-0
at Notre Dame WON 37-14
at Oregon LOST 31-52
USC WON 37-35
at Washington WON 41-0
at Arizona State WON 17-13
at California WON 48-14
Virginia Tech WON 40-12

2010 Final Rankings
AP-4, Coaches-4, BCS-4


One aspect of the Stanford 2011 outlook that has been obscured by the return of Heisman finalist Andrew Luck and top billing in most every preseason poll is that the turnover within the Stanford football program has been colossal. Half of last year’s starters will not return. Stanford has been quietly stockpiling some incredible talent, but many of these former prep stars lack game experience. This is a common occurrence at a number of positions on both sides of the ball. First year head coach David Shaw has been mum when it comes to producing a depth chart due in part to the fact many of these position battles are far from settled. The most glaring deficiencies are along the offensive line and in the defensive front seven, where they lost a combined seven starters. There are also gaps at wide receiver, fullback and cornerback. Not to mention the biggest question mark of all will be just how this team can perform with head coach John Harbaugh bolting to coach at the next level with the 49'ers.

However, we did mention that Stanford has been stockpiling talent. Ergo, some truth does lie behind the preseason numbers. Just enough top tier experience is available to mix with the unproven talents waiting in the wings to merit a lofty Top 5 beginning. The higher ups at Stanford made the right choice in promoting offensive coordinator David Shaw to take over the program. Continuity is the key after what this team just accomplished in 2010. These are exciting times to be a Cardinal.

One aspect this new coaching staff will lean on is the balance on offense. Andrew Luck is apparently good enough to play on Sundays. He may be a one-man show on most collegiate teams, but he won't have to be at Stanford where Stepfan Taylor heads one of the best set of running backs on one of the most successful rushing teams in the Pac Ten. This team can win games handing the ball off. The wide receivers may have some issues. However, somebody has to be catching Luck's passes. Look for one or two of these route runners to become immediate stars in this offense and don't be surprised if one of the tight end/H-backs winds up gathering much of that praise and post-season accolades.

There have been local rumblings that the line of scrimmage might be as good or better than it was last year. That's a tall order given the personnel turnover and is probably a little wishful thinking. If skeptics are going to point fingers at glaring needs, both the offensive and defensive lines warrant the accusations. As mentioned, a ton of unproven talent is waiting in the wings. Now it's just a matter of mixing them in with the veterans while building the necessary team chemistry. This is all quite possible and Stanford could be sitting at the top of these standings come late November. No doubt though, there has to be concern in the trenches.

Our early predictions have Stanford undefeated and in the Top 3 heading into Halloween weekend based on a lighter schedule the first two months -- not easy but lighter. What happens next will be Death Row as the Cards’ next five opponents consist of USC, Oregon State, Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame. The last three are at home. They better have that injury bug under control down on the Farm heading into that closing monster stretch. This gauntlet is likely going to prohibit Stanford from playing for all the BCS marbles. Heck, it would most any team. Despite some serious personnel turnover, this early Top 5 billing is legit all the same. Expect some new names from this program to emerge in the national limelight.


Projected 2011 record: 9-3

DB Delano Howell
2010 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Andrew Luck, 263-372-8, 3338 yds., 32 TD

Rushing: Stepfan Taylor, 223 att., 1137 yds., 15 TD

Receiving: Coby Fleener, 28 rec., 434 yds., 7 TD

Scoring: Stepfan Taylor, 16 TD, 96 pts.

Punting: Daniel Zychlinski, 24 punts, 41.8 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: Shayne Skov, 84 tot., 50 solo

Sacks: Shayne Skov, Chase Thomas - 7.5 each

Interceptions: Delano Howell, 5 for 0 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Chris Owusu, 19 ret., 24.3 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Drew Terrell, 18 ret., 12.2 avg., 0 TD


2011 College Football Preview
OFFENSE: Owen Marecic-FB, Ryan Whalen-WR, Doug Baldwin-WR, Konrad Reuland-TE, Andrew Phillips-OG, Chase Beeler-C, Derek Hall-OT, Nate Whitaker-K
DEFENSE: Sione Fua-NT, Brian Bulcke-DE, Owen Marecic-ILB, Richard Sherman-CB, Austin Yancey-SS, Taylor Skaufel-FS, Thomas Keiser-OLB (NFL)

The story is well documented already. Andrew Luck passed up millions of dollars and a chance to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft to return to Stanford for another year and get his degree. Although Luck will still only be a redshirt junior, the nation's top gun has "taken the next step" according to new head coach David Shaw. He is in complete command of this offense as evidenced in the spring game where Luck finished 16 of 22 passing while leading his Cardinal team to touchdown drives on all four of its possessions with him under center. For those wondering what might change under coach Shaw, the answer is not much. After all, he was the offensive coordinator here the last four seasons. The battle to name the backup has not seen any clear resolution yet. For the moment Josh Nunes is penciled in but Coach Shaw has said this battle will continue all the way into August training camp. Nunes is a 6'4 pro-style drop back quarterback similar in nature to former QB Tavita Pritchard. Many feel that true freshman Brett Nottingham has a great shot at wrestling this job away after “decomitting” from UCLA this past recruiting season to land in a Cardinal uniform this spring as an early enrollee. Nottingham was widely considered the top QB in Northern California a year ago.

A main reason why Stanford is ranked so high this preseason has to do with more than just having Andrew Luck under center. This offensive backfield led by senior workhorse Stepfan Taylor is just as legit running with the ball as Luck is capable of throwing the ball. This factor makes the Cardinal very balanced and difficult to defend. Stepfan Taylor has asserted his dominance through the spring after toting the rock on 223 occasions last fall. He is on the verge of becoming one of the Pac Ten's top running backs. The depth behind him is just as capable. Highly touted Anthony Wilkerson (11th-best HS running back prospect in the nation by ESPN) led all rushers in the spring game. He will continue be the next option after Taylor. Tyler Gaffney is another alternative that saw 60 solid carries last fall. He will have to work his way back into a stiff rotation after electing to play college baseball this spring. Redshirt freshman Ricky Seale was another one of the surprises from the spring game and there is still Jeremy Stewart, a standout from the Orange Bowl that has received a medical hardship sixth season from the NCAA. Replacing Owen Marecic at fullback is an important piece of the puzzle. No one may be able to replace him totally. Ryan Hewitt will attempt to fill this role but in a different fashion. The former tight end Hewitt has been Mr. Versatility while playing more of a hybrid role, which includes some H-back duty. Sophomore Geoff Meinken, a recruited defensive end, is a bit more of a bull. Lee Ward at 250 pounds appears to be the most traditional fullback of the bunch. Needless to say, this entire backfield has a ton of options from which coaches can choose.

This isn't a young group anymore. Despite the experience the spring reviews appear to be a mixed bag with most of the qualms being a lack of consistency. Those issues are not easily rendered considering the health of Chris Owusu cannot be counted on. Remove him from the mix, and the returning wide receivers had all of 24 catches last season. The departed Doug Baldwin and Ryan Whalen started the entirety of last season, but Baldwin was largely in that position because of Chris Owusu’s chronic injuries (exactly what ails Owusu from week-to-week has been kept top secret). When healthy, as he should be for the fall, Owusu is a starter. Remember that in 2009, Owusu led the team in touchdown grabs and was an All-American kick returner. The dependable Griff Whalen (no relation to the departed Ryan) is the most ideal No. 2 option, although he was seemingly outperformed on numerous occasions this spring by some of the others. Former Georgia high school stud Jamal-Rashad Patterson has taken a few years to master the system and has come on strong during the absence of Owusu. Seeing a considerable amount of time catching passes from Luck this spring has been rising junior Drew Terrell, who has shown a knack of making the spectacular grab with defenders draped all over him. Former quarterback Darren Daniel looks like a playmaker standing at 6'4 and will see a few reps in the rotation on occasion.

The wide outs may have a few question marks that need ironed out but the tight end/H-backs on this roster are well equipped to handle the load catching those NFL darts Luck will be tossing. In short, Stanford is absolutely loaded for "Bear" at this position. The fifth-year senior Coby Fleener is the team's leading returning receiver. Standing at 6'6, the top tight end out from the state of Illinois has started to make his mark with the Stanford program. This spring Zach Ertz has been a tremendous value for this offense. He was responsible for three of the Cardinal's six touchdowns and caught six passes for 64 yards in the spring game. Look for Ertz, who also stands a sturdy 6'6, to become a regular name called by play-by-play commentators. If that were not enough, coaches have to salivating about the future of 6'8 Levin Toilolo, who was rated as the fourth-best prep tight end recruit in the nation by Rivals.com. Toilolo has three uncles who played in the NFL but has been held out of hard contact this spring due to a bum knee. And don't count out FB/HB Ryan Hewitt. Somebody will make a living off of Luck's arm. That somebody is likely to be one of these studs.

Former head coach John Harbaugh built this team with blocking from inside the trenches. Last year this was the nation's top pass blocking unit by a landslide. They finished ranked 2nd nationally in sacks allowed (triple option Air Force was No. 1) and opened gaping holes for the running backs to become the Pac Ten's second best rushing attack. The good news is that Stanford will boast two NationalChamps.net Preseason All-Americans in juniors David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin at guard and tackle respectively. Both are mainstays from the past two years and have started every game during said stretch. The bad news is that everyone else has departed leaving DeCastro and Martin as the only two returning starters up front. This has caused some problems for the coaching staff. The only other position that has been decided is at left guard where the outstanding spring play of Kevin Danser has locked down his role as a full-timer. The center and right tackle spots are still totally up for grabs. The main battle is at center where Stanford must replace All-American Chase Beeler, one of the school's best to ever play the position. There is no clear frontrunner between redshirt sophomore Khalil Wilkes and redshirt junior Sam Schwartzstein, though Schwartzstein was getting more time with the first team in the latter part of spring. At right tackle is a three-man race. Mabry is the elder statesman of the group and has been spending most of his time with the first team, but the other contenders have gotten reps there, too. Fleming has the ideal tackle frame, while Yankey played as a true freshman. This is far too close to call and much like the right-tackle battle last season will go into summer camp. While this seems to be more of a reloading effort with DeCastro and Martin still in the lineup to guide the new faces, this line probably takes a little step back from it's top performance of a year ago. Duplicating that kind of effort might make this offense unstoppable.


OG David DeCastro


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Andrew Luck-Jr (6-4, 235) Josh Nunes-So (6-4, 209)
FB Ryan Hewitt-So (6-4, 240) Lee Ward-RFr (6-1, 247)
RB Stepfan Taylor-Jr (5-11, 210) Anthony Wilkerson-So (6-1, 215)
Tyler Gaffney-Jr (6-1, 216)
WR Chris Owusu-Sr (6-2, 199) Jamal-Rashad Patterson-Jr (6-3, 205)
WR Griff Whalen-Sr (6-1, 192) Drew Terrell-Jr (5-11, 179)
TE Coby Fleener-Sr (6-6, 244) Zach Ertz-So (6-6, 249)
Levine Toilolo-So (6-8, 255)
OT Jonathan Martin-Jr (6-6, 297) David Yankey-RFr (6-5, 305)
OG Kevin Danser-So (6-6, 284) Dillon Bonnell-RFr (6-4, 270)
C Sam Schwartzstein-Jr (6-3, 278) Khalil Wilkes-So (6-3, 280)
OG David DeCastro-Jr (6-5, 307) Cole Underwood-RFr (6-4, 275)
OT Tyler Mabry-Sr (6-7, 290) Cameron Fleming-RFr (6-6, 299)
K Jordan Williamson-RFr (5-11, 179) Eric Whitaker-So (5-9, 177)



The defensive line is somewhat of a question mark. The potential exists for this group to be productive much like it was a year ago while being absolutely stingy against the run (ranked 19th nationally) and getting after opposing quarterbacks (ranked 15th nationally in sacks). But most of these numbers have to do with a solid linebacking core in this 3-4 alignment. Senior defensive end Matt Masifilo is the lone returning starter. The Hawaiian was widely considered one of the nation's top defensive linemen coming out of high school. Getting a full 12 games out of him last year was a great sign of his reliability after an injury cut short his '09 campaign. Ben Gardner has made strides this off-season and will attempt to fill the shoes of the departed Brian Bulcke, the guy he backed up most of last year. Terrence Stephens is considered the leader to step in at nose tackle. According to co-defensive coordinator Derek Mason, "It's his time." Both David Parry and Henry Anderson demonstrated enough during the spring to warrant equal playing reps. Anderson will help on the D-line, whether at nose tackle or end. Stephens is the only player on scholarship who fits the profile of a true nose tackle, but it's good to see enough bodies exist for some semblance of a rotation. The spring reviews feel like this group can be just as good, if not better than last year. There's very little experience however and outside of Masifilo there's only one sack between all the incumbents.

While competitions to fill two voids at linebacker are on going, the talent and depth is encouraging. This front seven is built around inside backer Shayne Skov, who looks to have taken over from where he left off at the Orange Bowl. Against a hot Virginia Tech offense that night Skov racked up 12 tackles, including three sacks and five tackles for loss. The man on the field with the black face paint needs no introduction. He has been a menace to anyone standing before him. The former five star prep recruit according to Scout.com has lived up to his billing. Replacing FB/LB Owen Marecic at the other inside spot appears to be Max Bergen, but this is not set in stone. Bergen led the Cardinal in tackling for a short time last season as the starter in Shayne Skov’s sat out the first two games with injury. In the mix is the redshirt freshman Tarpley who has demonstrated a nose for the ball and an ability to cover a significant amount of ground. Coaches and commentators have also been raving about incoming freshman James Vaughters and what he will bring to the table come August. Former Georgia high school standout Chase Thomas continues to man one of the outside spots. He was the co-sack leader with Skov last fall after coming out of 2009 as a Freshman All-American by most accounts. On the other side coaches expressed a desire for Indiana native Blake Lueders to win a starting role, but he spent most of his time running with the second team. Both Debniak and Murphy have spent time with the first team here but have battled injuries throughout their early careers. Debniak is a more prototypical linebacker, while Murphy is a gigantic specimen who might be better suited as an end in a 4-3 alignment. Both have played with their hands on the ground. With Chase Thomas sitting out the spring game, Murphy and Debniak each received extended playing time.

This backfield boasts three proven seniors in the starting line up. Ironically, many of the participants in this backfield were former running backs. Heading the group is one of those in Delano Howell, who has made quite a splash at the safety position. Howell, a NationalChamps.net Preseason All-American, made 60 tackles, had five interceptions and 10 passes deflected last fall. He will enter his senior season with 23 careers starts under his belt. Locking down the free safety spot is another senior in Michael Thomas, the former high school quarterback with speed to burn. Thomas was converted to defense midway through his first preseason camp on the Farm. Two years later, the junior became a starter at free safety demonstrating quickness with his hands as well as his feet. At cornerback, senior Johnson Bademosi and sophomore Barry Browning will man the two cover corner positions. Bademosi is a product of Washington DC powerhouse Gonzaga HS where he was also one of the nation's premier high school rugby players. Browning started three games as a true freshman last year and has won Shaw’s praise for his continued progression throughout spring practice. Usua Amanam may be one of the bigger spring position changes. The former running back has been enduring the learning curve and with his athleticism has a tremendous ceiling. He likely won't be a starter but should play a factor. Defensive coordinator Derek Mason said that a handful of incoming freshmen are likely to play, particularly in the secondary. So depth is no issue with this unit either.


LB Shayne Skov


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Matt Masifilo-Sr (6-3, 278) Josh Mauro-So (6-6, 266)
NT Terrence Stephens-Jr (6-2, 287) David Parry-RFr (6-2, 294)
DE Ben Gardner-So (6-4, 263) Henry Anderson-RFr (6-6, 273)
OLB Chase Thomas-Jr (6-4, 240) Alex Debniak-Jr (6-2, 234)
ILB Shayne Skov-Jr (6-3, 244) Joe Hemschoot-RFr (6-1, 221)
ILB Max Bergen-Sr (6-2, 225) A.J. Tarpley-RFr (6-2, 231)
OLB Trent Murphy-So (6-6, 242) Alex Turner-RFr (6-1, 246)
CB Barry Browning-So (6-1, 176) Quinn Evans-Jr (5-10, 179)
CB Johnson Bademosi-Sr (6-1, 197) Terrence Brown-So (6-1, 171)
SS Delano Howell-Sr (5-11, 189) Myles Muagtutia-So (6-2, 207)
FS Michael Thomas-Sr (5-11, 185) Ed Reynolds-So (6-2, 201)
P Daniel Zychlinski-Jr (6-3, 203) David Green-Sr (6-1, 205)




Stanford will need to offset the loss of kicker Nate Whitaker, who earned first team all-conference honors a year ago. His .804 career field goal percentage ranks first on the school's career list. Rising sophomore Jordan Williamson has spent the most time with the first team this spring but coaches have not named a starter. Pushing him is Eric Whitaker who is a carbon copy of his graduated brother Nate with an exceptionally strong leg. There is little drop-off in production between the two. Stanford returns two punters - Daniel Zychlinski and David Green - who both saw action last season. Zychlinski served as the primary punter for the majority of the season with 24 attempts. Green was the team's primary punter in 2008 and '09. Also back are the top three return specialists in senior Chris Owusu, Usua Amanam and Drew Terrell. Owusu ranks as the school's all-time leader in kickoff return average although knee injuries could force him to eventually give up this job.