Spring Football Practice Begins Today; Spring Game Set for April 23
April 1, 2005
First-year head coach Walt Harris and his staff will get their first look at the 2005 Cardinal on the praactice field today as Stanford begins Spring Football Practice. The Cardinal will have 15 practice dates over the next three weeks, culminating in the Spring Game on April 23 at Stanford Stadium.
The Cardinal has participated in winter conditioning workouts over the past few months, but today will be the first time Harris and his staff will get to see the 2005 Cardinal on the practice field. Stanford will practice five days per week over the next three weeks.
Below is a position-by-position outlook of the '05 Cardinal:
The day Walt Harris took over as Stanford's head football coach, the competition to earn a starting spot began anew. That's because Harris, who led the University of Pittsburgh to six bowl games during his eight years, including last year's Fiesta Bowl, made it clear that 'the slate is clean. There are no assured starters,' he said.
'As a staff, we're excited to get on the practice field this spring and begin to identify what we have and establish a depth chart,' he said. 'We expect every position to be competitive as we start to teach our system of offense, defense and special teams.'
'There are some players on our team that have proven themselves to be quality players,' he said. 'and we'll have a chance as a staff to evaluate them during the spring. We've had a good winter conditioning program, but now it's time to get on the field and see what we have.'
What Harris and his staff will see this spring is a Cardinal team that returns 50 letter-winners, 15 starters and both kickers from a team that went 4-7 a year ago. Stanford graduated just one starter on offense and return the other 10, including all five lineman, both quarterbacks who started a year ago, five of its top seven receivers and two of its top three rushers. The only starter from last year not returning is tight end Alex Smith, who was named First-Team All-Pac-10 and Second-Team All-America after a record-setting season.
Defensively, the Cardinal did suffer some key losses. Although seven starters from 2004 have departed, the cupboard is certainly not bare. Five starters and 22 lettermen return to a defense that moved to a 3-4 alignment and finished third in the Pac-10 in scoring defense, allowing just 21.18 points per game.
'We're committed to the 3-4 defense,' said Harris. 'and all the fronts that go with it. Our task this spring it to put players in the best position to be successful down after down.'
'On offense, we'll utilize a high percentage West Coast offense,' he said. 'We'll spread the field, use a mix of two backs, I-formation and multiple looks. It will be critical to our success that the quarterback operates in a high percentage manner.'
'This is quarterback-friendly pass offense,' said Harris, who has a history of coaching great quarterbacks. 'The quarterback has to be successful in a drop-back passing game.'
Stanford returns its two quarterbacks who started a year ago in Trent Edwards and T.C. Ostrander, fifth-year senior Kyle Matter, who started six games and played in 10 in 2002, and Garrett Moore, who did not play as a true freshman last season. Although Edwards was the starter in nine games in 2004, Harris has sent the message to the entire team that 'every player starts this season with a clean slate.'
Edwards (Sr., 6-4, 210) from nearby Los Gatos High School, begins his fourth season in the Cardinal football program. He did not play as a true freshman in 2002 after coming to Stanford as one of the nation's most highly sought-after recruits, played in eight games and started four in 2003 and started the first nine games a year ago before an injury forced him to miss the final two games of the years.
Over the last two years, he has started 13 games and played in 17 of Stanford's 22 games. Edwards has thrown for 2,482 yards while completing 226-of-444 (.509) for 13 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Last year, he was 149-of-274 (.544) for 1,732 yards, nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Edwards threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns in Stanford's 37-10 win over BYU. In the Cardinal's 27-13 victory over Washington, Edwards completed 23-of-33 for 254 yards and three TDs.Edwards, who has two years of eligibility remaining (2005, 2006) is the team's most experienced quarterback and has shown signs of becoming a quality quarterback in the Pacific-10 Conference.
Ostrander (Jr., 6-3, 210), from Atherton, CA, is another Bay Area native who came to Stanford as one of the nation's prized recruits. He did not play as a true freshman in 2003, but he did see action in six games a year ago, the final two games vs. Oregon State and Cal as the starter. Ostrander finished the year completing 56-of-126 (.444) for 914 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
He played in the season opener vs. San Jose State (five-for-10, 122 yards), but received his first extensive playing time in game seven vs. Oregon when Edwards was knocked out of the game due to injury. Ostrander came on to complete 18-of-29 for 236 yards and one touchdown. Two weeks later, he entered the game at Arizona State in the second half and almost led the Cardinal to a come-from-behind victory. Ostrander brought the Cardinal back from a 26-14 deficit and, after a 67-yard TD pass to TE Alex Smith with 2:02 left in the game, Stanford found itself ahead 31-26. ASU, however, came back to win the game, 34-31. Ostrander started the final two games of the year against bowl-bound teams Oregon State and California.
Fifth-year senior Kyle Matter (6-2, 195, Newhall, CA), who completed 116-of-214 for 1,219 yards and eight touchdowns in 2002, nursed a shoulder injury throughout the 2004 campaign and did not see action at quarterback. He was the team's holder, however, and did score a touchdown on an 11-yard run vs. national champion USC when he took the snap on a fake field goal attempt and raced into the end zone. Matter's shoulder is still not 100 percent, thus prompting a potential move to wide receiver. He will work out at both QB and receiver during the spring.
Moore (6-3, 195, Scottsdale, AZ) did not play last year as a true freshman. One of the top prep quarterbacks in the state of Arizona during his senior season in 2003, he will compete for playing time in 2005.
Stanford returns all but one running back from last year's team, including leading rusher J.R. Lemon, a fifth-year senior, senior Gerald Commissiong, juniors David Marrero and Jason Evans and sophomore Ray Jones. 'We're looking for backs who can make first downs,' says Harris, 'run north and south and make people miss. We also need our backs to have pass catching ability. Taking care of the football is also critical. Turnovers are the most devastating plays that happen in a football game and it is vital our backs do a great job keeping control of the ball,' he said.
Lemon (6-1, 225, Fayetteville, GA) is the team's most experienced running back. He led the team in 2004 in rushing (440 yards), average per rush (4.7) and rushing touchdowns (six). He played in nine games, starting seven, and missed two due to injury. Lemon, tied for ninth all-time at Stanford in rushing touchdowns, has carried the ball 241 times in his career for 992 yards and a 4.1 average. He showed his speed last year when he raced 82 yards for a touchdown against USC, the sixth longest touchdown run in Cardinal history.
Lemon had a big game last year in Stanford's 27-13 win over Washington when he recorded career bests in yards gained (162), carries (19) and touchdowns (three). He scored on a 58-yard run in the first quarter that put the Cardinal ahead 14-0. Lemon gained 96 yards on 10 carries and scored one TD vs. USC.
Jones (6-0, 210), a second-year player from Columbus, OH, saw action last year as a true freshman and is expected to compete for more playing time in '05. He played in eight games and gained 87 yards on 34 carries. His biggest game came at Arizona State when he carried eight times for 29 yards, including his only touchdown of the season, a three-yard run in the fourth quarter. Jones gained over 4,000 yards, scored 73 touchdowns and averaged over eight yards per carry as a prep.
Marrero (5-10, 190, Parkland, FL) played as a true freshman in 2003, gaining 115 yards on 37 carries, and played a reserve role once again in '04. Last year, he played both running back and receiver for the Cardinal offense as well as being the team's punt return specialist. He carried the ball just four times for eight yards, caught seven passes for 57 yards and returned 27 punts for 224 yards (8.3 average), including a 64-yard return vs. Oregon State. Marrero is a break-away threat who can be one of the team's most explosive offensive players.
Both Commissiong (6-0, 212, Montreal, Canada) and Evans (6-1, 190, Acworth, GA) saw limited action at running back in '04, but are in position to compete for more playing time in 2005. Commissiong earned his first letter last year as a special teams player.
Stanford will return to a more traditional fullback position in 2005 after using the position as a blocking back and pass receiver the past two years. The Cardinal used a combination of fullbacks, tight ends and wide receivers in that spot in recent years, but look for a true fullback to emerge this season. The candidates for the starting spot include fifth-year senior Kris Bonifas, junior Emeka Nnoli and converted nose tackle Nick Frank, a two-year letter-winner on defense.
Bonifas (6-1, 235, Pebble Beach, CA) was the team's 'starter' last year as he played in all 11 games and was the only true fullback to start a game in 2004 (he started three). He did not carry the ball and caught just one pass for five yards as he was mainly used as a blocking back. He started games at Washington State, UCLA and Cal. Bonifas earned his first letter last year as a fullback and special teams player.
Nnoli (6-1, 230, Sacramento, CA) is in his third year in the Cardinal football program. He did not play as a true freshman in 2003 and received limited play in '04. He did, however, receive one carry, the only carry by a 'true' fullback for Stanford during the season. Nnoli has put himself in position to compete for the starting role in 2005.
Frank (6-2, 275, New Orleans, LA) is in his third season at Stanford. He has been a reserve nose tackle the past two years, playing in 21 of Stanford's 22 games, but will be moved to fullback for the 2005 campaign. Frank has all the tools necessary to be an outstanding fullback and he will battle for playing time immediately. He played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2003 and all 11 last year while recording 10 tackles, two tackles for loss and one quarterback sack.
Stanford returns all but one wide receiver (Greg Camarillo) from last year's team, including its top three: Evan Moore (39 receptions), Mark Bradford (34 catches) and Justin McCullum (26 receptions). Two other letter-winners return in fifth-year senior Gerron Crochet and senior Marcus McCutcheon. Harris, who has coached two Biletnikoff Award winners, is looking for consistent, quality receivers in his West Coast offense.
Moore (6-7, 235, Brea, CA) is the team's leading returning receiver and also its biggest target. He played on the Cardinal's basketball team in 2003-04 as a true freshman and began this past year playing basketball. But, Moore gave up basketball in December 2004, to concentrate on football. He led all receivers a year ago and was second on the team to tight end Alex Smith with 39 receptions for 616 yards. He led the team with six receiving touchdowns and a 15.8 yards per catch average.
Moore began the year by catching four balls for 77 yards and two touchdowns in the '04 season opener vs. San Jose State. The following week, he had four catches for 56 yards and a TD vs. BYU. He scored another touchdown the following week against USC. His longest play of the season was a 67-yard touchdown pass from Edwards in Stanford's win at Washington State. In two seasons, Moore has caught 47 passes for 766 yards and seven touchdowns.
The receiver with the most career starts is Bradford, a 6-2, 190-pound junior from Los Angeles. He made an immediate impact at Stanford as a true freshman in 2003 and in the past two seasons, he has started 19 of the team's 22 games and caught 71 passes for 1,069 yards, a 15.1 average and four touchdowns. He was third on the team in receiving last year (34-482-1) after turning in a record-setting performance as a freshman. His numbers in 2003 - 37 catches, 587 yards, 15.9 avg., three TDs - were the best in Stanford history for a true freshman. He became the first true freshman in school history to lead the team in receiving yards.
Bradford had season highs last year of five catches in two games (vs. Washington and Oregon State) and he caught at least one pass in each game, but he did not score a touchdown until game No. 10 as the Cardinal offense struggled with the passing game throughout the year.After working through injuries during much of his first three years at Stanford, McCullum came into the '04 season healthy and ready to contribute - and he did not disappoint. A 6-4, 220 pound fifth-year senior from Mercer Island, WA, McCullum is coming off a season in which he recorded 26 receptions for 376 yards and one touchdown. He began the year by catching three passes for 115 yards in the season opener vs. San Jose State, then came back in week two to haul in his first career touchdown. He had a career-high seven catches in Stanford's road win vs. Washington State.
Crochet (6-0, 170, Boulder, CO) is in his fifth year in the Cardinal football program while McCutcheon (6-0, 200, Huntington Beach, CA) is in his fourth, and second as a receiver. Crochet is a speedy receiver who is a sprinter on the Cardinal track team. He has 18 catches in his career. McCutcheon was a defensive back his first two years at Stanford, but was moved to receiver in 2004. Most of his playing time came on special teams, however. He returned 10 kickoffs for 238 yards (23.8 average) and had a long return of 34. He has continued to improve as a receiver and he should be able to contribute more in 2005.
Other players looking to compete for playing time at wide receiver include second-year players Thaddeus Chase (6-0, 173, El Paso, TX), Anthony Kimble (6-1, 185, Baton Rouge, LA), Kelton Lynn (6-2, 185, Boulder, CO) and Nate Wilcox-Fogel (6-2, 185, Los Altos, CA). All four did not play as true freshmen in 2004. Also battle for playing time is junior Michael Miller (6-1, 185, San Clemente, CA).
Stanford may not be able to replace the production of last year's starter, Alex Smith, but the Cardinal does return three letter-winners from last year's team who help give Stanford a talented group from which to choose. In Matt Traverso, Patrick Danahy and Michael Horgan, the Cardinal can boast of three quality tight ends who each received playing time last year and will be in the hunt to earn increased playing time in 2005. Smith's departure creates an opportunity for another tight end to become an integral part of the Cardinal's pass game. Smith, who led the team in receptions last season, caught 52 passes while all other Stanford tight ends caught five balls.
Traverso (6-5, 250, Sacramento, CA) is the most experienced tight end on the squad. Now in his fourth season, he has played in all 22 games the past two seasons. He played in two games as a true freshman in 2002 before an injury forced him to miss the remainder of the year. He has caught two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown the past two years and has played a key role in Stanford's two-tight end and run formations.
Danahy (6-5, 240, Sarasota, FL) has also earned two letters, including a letter as a true freshman in 2003. Now a junior, Danahy has shown great potential and the ability to be effective both as a blocker and receiver. He has caught four passes in his career for a total of seven yards, three of which have gone for touchdowns. Last year, he had three receptions and two, two-yard TD catches (vs. USC and Oregon).Horgan (6-6, 240, Pasadena, CA) did not play as a true freshman in 2003 and earned a letter as a reserve last season. He had one reception for eight yards and saw most of his playing time in two and three tight end situations. He will compete for increased playing time in '05.
Two second-year players, Austin Gunder and Patrick Bowe, will also be in the hunt for a more significant role in 2005. Both Gunder (6-4, 235, Red Lion, PA) and Bowe (6-6, 235, Deephaven, MN) did not play as true freshmen a year ago.
The most experienced area on the team is on the offensive line, where Stanford returns all 16 players from a year ago. All five starters are back, and, of the 12 non-true freshmen last season, nine of them earned letters. Add to the veterans a group of highly touted second-year players and the Cardinal enters the 2005 season with a very talented core of offensive lineman who will battle each other for starting assignments.
The five starters from a year ago include LT Jon Cochran, LG Ismail Simpson, C Brian Head, RG Josiah Vinson and RT Jeff Edwards. In addition, Mikal Brewer started two games at center and one at right guard in '05. Other returning letter-winners in '05 include LT Tim Mattran, LG Preston Clover and RT David Long.
At left tackle, Cochran (6-6, 315, West Des Moines, IA) started all 11 games in 2004 and is a two-time letter-winner who is now in his fourth season. He has played in 21 of Stanford's 22 games the past two seasons and he enters the spring as the most experienced left tackle on the squad. Mattran (6-5, 295, Chanhassen, MN), who earned his first letter as a backup last year, is in his fourth year in the Cardinal football program. Michael Macellari (6-5, 290, Granger, IN) is also in the hunt to earn playing time. Now in his third year, Macellari played defensive tackle as a true freshman in 2003 before being converted to the offensive line for the 2004 season. Ben Muth (6-6, 285, Phoenix, AZ) did not play as a true freshman last year after coming to Stanford as a prep All-America.
Simpson (6-4, 290, Lawton, OK) is the only Cardinal to have started all 22 games the past two seasons on the offensive line and now, in his fourth year, looks to be the leading contender to start at right guard. He is a two-year letter-winner and one of the leaders of the offensive line. Clover (6-4, 275, Lake Forest, CA) earned his first letter as a reserve last season after not playing as a true freshman in 2003 and Bobby Dockter (6-5, 290, Edmonds, WA), who came to Stanford as a prep All-America and did not play last season as a true freshman, will battle for increased playing time in 2005.
At the center position, Head (6-4, 295, Corona, CA) is a fifth-year senior and a three-time letter-winner who has started 13 games over the past two seasons. He was the team's starter in 2003, where he started the first four games of the year, before a knee injury forced him to miss the remainder of the season. Last year, he started nine of 11 games (missed two due to injury) and established himself as one of the team leaders. Along with Head, talented second-year player Alex Fletcher (6-4, 290, Old Brookville, NY) will compete for the starting spot in 2005. Fletcher was one of the nation's top recruits in '04 and did not play last season as a true freshman.
Vinson (6-4, 310, Irving, TX) was the team's starter at right guard last year and has been in the starting lineup 13 times the past two years. A two-year letter-winner, Vinson started 10 of 11 in '04 and three games in 2003. Brewer (6-3, 290, Peoria, AZ) earned his first letter last season after filling the role as the team's sixth lineman. He was a valuable reserve who provided quality depth off the bench. He is in the hunt for increased playing time this season. Others looking to see additional playing time in 2005 include Amir Malayery (6-4, 275, Lawrenceville, GA) and Merlin Brittenham (6-4, 280, Renton, WA), both third year players who did not play as true freshman in 2003 and were reserves in '04.
At right tackle, Edwards started all 11 games last year and returns as the favorite to earn the start in '05. He was Stanford's starter at right guard for the first eight games in 2003 before an injury forced him from the lineup over the final three games. He was one of the team's best offensive linemen in '04 and his continued improvement will be a key factor for the Cardinal in '05. Also battling for playing time at right tackle are Long (6-9, 315, Madison, MS), who played a reserve role last season and earned a letter, and Allen Smith (6-5, 315, Tempe, AZ), a prep All-America who did not play last year as a true freshman.
Included among Stanford's nine defensive linemen on its spring roster are three, three-year letter-winners, two of whom are fifth-year seniors. Nose tackle Babatunde Oshinowo and defensive end Julian Jenkins both started all 11 games last year while Casey Carroll was a key reserve who looks to move into the starting lineup in 2005. Behind those three are a group of six players who received little or no playing time last year and will be looked upon this spring to emerge as key players on the Cardinal's defensive front.
Oshinowo (6-2, 320, Naperville, IL) is a fifth-year senior and two-time honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection as a nose tackle. He had 41 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 quarterback sacks a year ago as he proved to be one of the top lineman in the Pac-10. Oshinowo, who has started the last 22 games for the Cardinal, is a bonafide honors candidate in 2005. Over the past three years, he has accounted for 19.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks to go along with 89 total tackles.
Jenkins (6-4, 260, Atlanta, GA) has been a key player for the Cardinal since he lettered as a true freshman in 2002. Over the past three seasons, he has played in 31 of Stanford's 33 games and was a starter at defensive end a year ago. Jenkins earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 recognition last season after recording 47 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 5.5 quarterback sacks, all tops on the team. He has shown the ability to be a dominant player, as his 10 tackles vs. Oregon last season exemplifies.
Carroll (6-2, 280, Englewood, FL), a fifth-year senior, has played in 31 of Stanford's 33 games since 2002, all in a reserve role, and has given the Cardinal a quality backup off the bench. This year, he will compete for a starting assignment. He had 12 tackles, a sack, tackle for loss and interception a year ago.
Behind Oshinowo at nose tackle are senior Matt McClernan (6-5, 285, Norcross, GA) and sophomore Gustav Rydstedt (6-4, 293, Stockholm, Sweden). McClernan was an offensive tackle his first two years on The Farm in 2002 and '03, but was switched to the defensive side of the ball last season, where he earned his first varsity letter. Rydstedt, who came to Stanford a year ago from Sweden, continues to show improvement.
At one defensive end position, junior David Jackson and sophomore Pannel Egboh will backup Jenkins and compete for increased playing time in 2005. Jackson (6-5, 285, Dunwoody, GA) did not play as a true freshman in 2003 and saw limited action a year go while Egboh (6-6, 240, Mesquite, TX) did not see action last season in his first year on The Farm. Both will have the opportunity to play an integral role on the Cardinal's defensive front this season.
At the other defensive end spot, Carroll will compete with junior Chris Horn and sophomore Alfred Johnson for the starting role. Horn (6-5, 260, Dayton, WY) saw limited playing time last season after not playing as a true freshman in 2003 while Johnson walked-on to the program prior to the '04 campaign.
Five of Stanford's six outside linebackers are returning letter-winners, but one in particular has already proven to be a special player. Fifth-year senior Jon Alston (6-1, 215, Shreveport, LA), a Second-Team All-Pac-10 pick last year, is the leader of the group and one of the most explosive defensive players in the country. Alongside Alston, the Cardinal must find a replace for two-year starter Jared Newberry.
Make no mistake, however, the Cardinal defense will rely on Alston's talents in 2005. Last year in his first season in the starting lineup, Alston registered 61 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception. He was among the Pac-10 leaders in tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles as he earned a reputation as one of the best pass rushers in the conference. Alston had four sacks vs. Oregon State and five tackles for loss against UCLA and a career-best 14 total tackles vs. OSU.Alston did not play as a true freshman in 2001, started five games and played in all 11 in 2002 and played a key backup role in '03 before moving into the starting lineup last season. He has 20 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks in his career, tops on the team, and 2005 could be the year Alston makes his mark on the national scene.
Behind Alston are two-time letter-winner, Timi Wusu and second-year player John Solder. Wusu (6-3, 210, Palo Alto, CA), a fifth-year senior, is a decathlete on the Cardinal track team who has also played a significant role as a reserve on the Cardinal football team. He was a safety his first three years on The Farm, but was converted to outside linebacker prior to the '04 campaign. He had 20 tackles while playing in 10 games last season.
The other outside linebacker spot will be a battle among three players who were all letter-winners in 2004. The candidates are senior Taualai Fonoti (6-2, 250, Honolulu), Emmanuel Awofadeju (6-4, 240, Roswell, GA) and Udeme Udofia (6-4, 235, Scottsdale, AZ).Fonoti has played both defensive end and outside linebacker in the past three seasons and most of his playing time has come on special teams. He is a two-year letter-winner who has played in 21 of Stanford's 22 games in 2003 and '04. Both Awofadeju and Udofia did not play as true freshmen in 2003, but came on to play limited roles and earn letters in 2004. The Cardinal will look to one of these players to emerge as a full-time starter for the 2005 season.
Stanford has talent and experience at the two inside linebacker positions and returns five letter-winners among its group of six. Fifth-year senior Kevin Schimmelmann started nine games last year before an injury forced him to miss the final two games of the year. The Cardinal must find a replacement for David Bergeron, a three-year starter, but the candidates form an impressive list from which to choose.
Along with Schimmelmann, the inside linebacker corps includes three-year letter-winner Michael Craven, two-year letter-winners Michael Okwo and Mike Silva, junior Landon Johnson and Tim Maynor, a second year player who did not play as a true freshman last season.Schimmelmann (6-3, 228, Marietta, GA) has played free safety, strong safety, outside linebacker and inside linebacker during his Cardinal career. Last year, in his first season as a starter, Schimmelmann was leading the team with 58 tackles before a knee injury forced him from the lineup for the final two games. He had 10 tackles vs. USC and nine vs. Notre Dame and Oregon.
Craven (6-1, 230, LaQuinta, CA) and Johnson (6-1, 225, Arlington, TX) will compete with Schimmelmann for the 'mike' inside linebacker position. Craven has been a starter in the past at outside linebacker and is a three-time letter-winner. He started the first four games of the 2002 season and the final five games of the 2003 season at outside linebacker, but saw limited action last season. Johnson did not play as a true freshman in '03 and earned a letter last season as a special teams player.
The 'will' inside linebacker spot will be a battle among Okwo, Silva and Maynor. Okwo (6-0, 215, Redondo Beach, CA) came on last year to earn First-Team All-Pac-10 honors as a special teams player. He received two starting assignments last year when Schimmelmann went down with an injury and showed great promise. Now a junior, Okwo is primed to take on a more significant role for Stanford in 2005.
Silva (6-3, 225, San Diego, CA) did not play as a true freshman in 2002 and has played special teams and been a reserve linebacker the past two seasons. He has played in 21 of Stanford's 22 games the past two years. Maynor (6-2, 208, Jupiter, FL), who did not play as a true freshman last season, will be in the hunt to earn playing time in 2005.
The Cardinal must replace three of its four starters from last year team and will look to a group of young players to emerge this spring. Stanford used a three-man rotation at cornerback last year and two of them have graduated: Stanley Wilson and Leigh Torrence. Senior T.J. Rushing, a three-year letter-winner, is an experienced and talented corner who is also one of the best kick return specialists in the country. At the safety positions, SS Brandon Harrison returns after starting all 11 games in 2004, but replacing FS Oshiomogho Atogwe, the team' s leading tackler the past three years, will be difficult.
Of the seven cornerbacks on the spring roster, only Rushing (5-11, 175, Pauls Valley, OK) has seen a significant amount of playing time. He has lettered each of this first three years at Stanford, including his true freshman season in 2002, and has continued to prove himself to be a quality Pac-10 cornerback. He was an integral part of the Cardinal's rotation at corner a year ago, accounting for 36 tackles, six tackles for loss and two sacks. As a kick returner, he was named First-Team All-Pac-10 in 2004 after leading the conference and finishing No. 6 nationally with a 28.39 average. He had a 99-yard kickoff return vs. BYU a year ago, the third longest in school history.
Along with Rushing at one cornerback spot is senior Nick Silvas (5-10, 180, Phoenix, AZ), junior Nick Sanchez (6-0, 180, Belle Glade, FL) and sophomore Wopamo Osaisai (6-0, 190, Pinole, CA). Of the group, Sanchez received the most playing time in '04 as he earned his first varsity letter. He played in 10 games and had one interception in a reserve role. Silvas saw limited playing time while Osaisai did not play in 2004 as a true freshman.
At the other cornerback position, the battle for the starting spot looks to be among fifth-year senior Calvin Armstrong, junior Tim Sims and sophomore Carlos McFall. Armstrong (6-1, 195, Decatur, IL) is a two-time letter-winner who has seen most of his playing time on special teams. He played in all 22 games the past two years. Sims (6-0, 180, Belle Glade, FL) did not play as a true freshman in 2003 and saw limited action last year, but he is a talented back capable of playing a more significant role this season. McFall (6-0, 195, San Antonio, TX) did not play as a true freshman last year, but will be given the opportunity to compete for playing time this season.
The Cardinal's one returning starter in the secondary is Harrison (6-2, 205, Baton Rouge, LA), who was Stanford's starter at strong safety in all 11 games last year. Harrison played in 10 of 11 games as a true freshman in 2003 and earned a starting nod last year. He finished the year with 45 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, two fumble recoveries and a blocked kick. Also competing at strong safety are senior Bryan Bentrott (6-1, 180, Irvine, CA) and junior Peter Griffin (6-0, 195, Memphis, TN). Bentrott, now in his fourth season at Stanford, earned his first varsity letter last season while Griffin saw limited playing time.
At the free safety spot, seniors Trevor Hooper (6-1, 205, Mountain View, CA), and David Lofton (6-4, 210, Plano, TX) will battle for the starting spot along with second-year player Aaron Smith (6-1, 180, San Diego, CA). Hooper was Stanford's starter at strong safety in 2003, but will move to free safety for the '05 campaign. Lofton came to Stanford as a quarterback, was briefly converted to wide receiver and is now a contender to earn a starting berth in the secondary. Smith did not play last season as a true freshman.
Sgroi (5-11, 200, Plymouth, MI), a fifth-year senior, has been the team's starting place-kicker for the past three seasons. He has made 32-of-52 field goal attempts and 66-of-69 PATs in his career. A year ago, he has his best season as he converted on 16-of-24 field goals and 22-of-23 PATs for a team-leading 70 points. He is sixth on Stanford's career field goals list and is nearing the top-10 in both scoring and PATs. Derek Belch (6-0, 185, San Diego, CA) is a talented second-year player who will battle Sgroi for the starting role in 2005.
Ottovegio (6-0, 190, Coral Springs, FL) became the first freshman in school history to average over 40 yards per punt last year when he finished the season averaging 41.3 yards per punt. He had a season best of 59 yards while landing 20 punts inside the 20-yard line. He was named Second-Team Freshman All-American.Newhouse (6-4, 225, Los Angeles, CA) is the team's snapper on both punts and field goals. He enjoyed an outstanding season a year ago after not playing as a true freshman in 2003.