Stanford Football Gearing Up for the 2008 NFL Season

Aug. 5, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. - With this past Sunday night's annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, marking the official start of the 2008 NFL preseason, 24 former Stanford football players are on active NFL rosters. That list includes seven that sit atop their teams' most recent depth charts, and five more that are currently listed as the first backup.

Highlighting the list of former Cardinal players slated to start for NFL teams in 2008 is Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards. The seventh-leading passer in Stanford history, he was chosen in the third round of the 2007 draft and made an immediate impact in Buffalo. His nine starts last year paced all NFL rookie quarterbacks, while his five wins were the most by a Bills rookie signal-caller since 1973. He completed 151-of-269 passes with seven touchdowns, while his 1,630 passing yards were the most by a rookie quarterback selected in the third round since the modern draft began in 2007. Edwards also tossed three first-half touchdown passes on Dec. 9 vs. Miami, becoming the first rookie quarterback with a trio of first-half TD strikes since Stanford legend Jim Plunkett did so for New England in 1971. All told, his prolific 2007 campaign garnered Edwards an All-Rookie Team Selection by both Pro Football Weekly/Professional Football Writers of America and NFL.com's Gil Brandt.

A favorite target of Edwards during the quarterback's first two years on The Farm - All-Pac-10 tight end Alex Smith - is also on the cusp of NFL stardom. Smith started 14 regular-season games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2007, and was in the lineup for their NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants. Adept at both pass-catching and blocking, the fourth-year player hauled in 32 receptions for 385 yards and three touchdowns last year. He also caught three passes for 26 yards and a score against the eventual Super Bowl champions in the Bucs' lone playoff contest.

While the 2008 Cardinal boasts an Outland Trophy and Rimington Award Candidate in center Alex Fletcher, a pair of former Stanford offensive lineman will be in the Bay Area trenches this fall - center Eric Heitmann of the San Francisco 49ers and tackle Kwame Harris of the Oakland Raiders. A first-team All-American as a senior, he is a veteran of 82 NFL starts over his six professional seasons. In fact, he was one of only 35 NFL players to line up for every snap of the 2007 season. Harris, who was chosen in the first round of the 2003 draft by the 49ers, has made 44 NFL starts since. He will be entering his first year in Oakland after signing with the Raiders in March.

Stanford's defensive NFL presence is led by a pair of starters for the St. Louis Rams - free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe and linebacker Chris Draft. Atogwe was a menace for opposing quarterbacks in 2007, as his career-high seven interceptions led the NFC and were the second-most in the NFL. He started all 16 games last year, while he became the first Ram since the 1991-92 season to pick off a pass in four straight contests. A physical fourth-year player, Atogwe also finished third on the team with 94 tackles (69 solo) and tied for second by forcing a pair of fumbles. Draft also played in all 16 games for St. Louis, including seven starts, during his ninth NFL season.

After earning 2004 first team All-Pac-10 honors as a kick-off returner, T.J. Rushing has made his mark in special teams for the Indianapolis Colts - including earning a Super Bowl ring following the 2006-07 season. Also a reserve defensive back for Indy, he was the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week following his 90-yard punt return for a touchdown Dec. 16, 2007 at Oakland. The third-year player is slated to return both kickoffs and punts for the Colts in 2008.

It is quite possible that those seven starters will be joined by others when the NFL regular season kicks off in September. Six-year NFL veteran Tank Williams - who has made 59 starts - is listed second on the depth chart at strong safety for the defending AFC champion New England Patriots. Defensive back Leigh Torrence played in all 16 games last year with the Washington Redskins, while fellow DB Stanley Wilson counted five starts among his 10 contests with the Detroit Lions. Kirk Chambers could be blocking for Edwards in Buffalo, as he is listed second the Bills' depth chart at both offensive tackle positions. Also in the AFC East, Greg Camarillo returns to Miami after playing in 15 games last year - including racing 64 yards for a touchdown reception in overtime to give the Dolphins their lone win of the 2007 campaign. Seven-year NFL veteran linebacker Donnie Spragan, who has played in all 16 games each of the last six years (including the last three in Miami), signed with Buffalo on August 2 and is in the mix among their linebacker corps. Coy Wire, who was voted special teams captain for the 2007 Buffalo Bills, recently signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons and is competing for a starting outside linebacker spot.

Three players from the 2007 Stanford team that both staged the biggest upset in college football history by defeating top-ranked USC in Los Angeles and brought the Axe back to The Farm with a Big Game victory over Cal signed free-agent contracts and are in NFL camps. Mark Bradford, who hauled in the winning touchdown pass with 49 seconds remaining to beat USC, is with the Dallas Cowboys. He left The Farm ranked fifth in Stanford history with 169 receptions and fourth with 2,431 receiving yards. Bradford is joined in Cowboys camp by Jay Ottovegio, who is Stanford's all-time leader in both punts (272) and punting yards (11,083). Tim Mattran, a free agent signee of the Vikings, is in Minnesota's camp competing for time on the offensive line.

Below is the full list of the 24 former Stanford football players currently on NFL rosters (as of Aug. 5, 2008):

Jon Alston (LB)
2008 Team: Oakland Raiders
Seasons At Stanford: 2002-05
Seasons In NFL 2006-07

Oshiomogho Atogwe (S)
2008 Team: St. Louis Rams
Seasons At Stanford: 2001-04
Seasons In NFL 2005-07

Mark Bradford (WR)
2008 Team: Dallas Cowboys
Seasons At Stanford: 2003-07

Greg Camarillo (WR)
2008 Team: Miami Dolphins
Seasons At Stanford: 2002-04
Seasons In NFL 2006-07

Kirk Chambers (OT)
2008 Team: Buffalo Bills
Seasons At Stanford: 2000-03
Seasons In NFL 2004-07

Chris Draft (LB)
2008 Team: St. Louis Rams
Seasons At Stanford: 1994-97
Seasons In NFL 1998-2007

Trent Edwards (QB)
2008 Team: Buffalo Bills
Seasons At Stanford: 2003-06
Seasons In NFL 2007

Amon Gordon (DT)
2008 Team: Baltimore Ravens
Seasons At Stanford: 2001-03
Seasons In NFL 2004-07

Kwame Harris (OT)
2008 Team: Oakland Raiders
Seasons At Stanford: 2000-02
Seasons In NFL 2003-07

Brandon Harrison (DB)
2008 Team: Houston Texans
Seasons At Stanford: 2003-06
Seasons In NFL 2007

Eric Heitmann (C)
2008 Team: San Francisco 49ers
Seasons At Stanford: 1998-2001
Seasons In NFL 2002-07

Tim Mattran (C)
2008 Team: Minnesota Vikings
Seasons At Stanford: 2004-07

Michael Okwo (LB)
2008 Team: Chicago Bears
Seasons At Stanford: 2003-06
Seasons In NFL 2007

Babatunde Oshinowo (DL)
2008 Team: Washington Redskins
Seasons At Stanford: 2002-05
Seasons In NFL 2006-7

Jay Ottoveggio (P)
2008 Team: Dallas Cowboys
Seasons At Stanford: 2004-07

Brett Pierce (TE)
2008 Team: Denver Broncos
Seasons At Stanford: 2000-03
Seasons In NFL 2004-06

T.J. Rushing (CB)
2008 Team: Indianapolis Colts
Seasons At Stanford: 2002-05
Seasons In NFL 2006-07

Alex Smith (TE)
2008 Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seasons At Stanford: 2001-04
Seasons In NFL 2005-07

Donnie Spragan (LB)
2008 Team: Buffalo Bills
Seasons At Stanford: 1996-98
Seasons In NFL 1999-2007

Will Svitek (OT)
2008 Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Seasons At Stanford: 2002-04
Seasons In NFL 2005-07

Leigh Torrence (CB)
2008 Team: Washington Redskins
Seasons At Stanford: 2001-04
Seasons In NFL 2005-07

Tank Williams (CB)
2008 Team: New England Patriots
Seasons At Stanford: 1998-2001
Seasons In NFL 2002-07

Stanley Wilson (CB)
2008 Team: Detroit Lions
Seasons At Stanford: 2002-04
Seasons In NFL 2005-07

Coy Wire (LB)
2008 Team: Atlanta Falcons
Seasons At Stanford: 1998-2001
Seasons In NFL 2002-07

Categories:
Now on Pac-12 Network
10:30 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder
Close