As you may or may not have heard, Andrew Luck, our hero and savior of the Stanford football program, is off to the NFL. While he could have stayed one more year, he’s done with his degree and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.
Besides, I don’t exactly envy the guy. Though he’s going to get drafted first overall and make gigantic piles of money, he’s headed to the Indianapolis Colts. The team recently went 2-14, fired its head coach and general manager, and has a huge dilemma at a key position (I won’t tell you who’s in the middle of it, but I’ll give you a hint: it starts with a “P” and ends in “eyton Manning”).
Luck isn’t the only important name headed to the pros. Offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro, two major cogs in the Cardinal’s success on offense, are both likely to be drafted in the first round. A bunch of other important contributors are gone too, like safety Delano Howell, tight end Coby Fleener and wide receiver Griff Whalen.
But never fear, dear readers! The Cardinal has a bunch of young playmakers eager to step into starting roles for next year’s (shamefully poorly scheduled) season. We caught flashes of these underclass dynamos last season, but an extended introduction will have to wait until spring practice. Head coach David Shaw and his staff is also hard at work assembling a top-25 recruiting class, quite a feat for a school with Stanford’s academic standards.
Will Stanford go 11-1 and make another BCS bowl? Probably not. Can we score a solid record, a trip to a decent non-BCS bowl, and an upset or two over some Pac-12 heavyweights? Sure, I definitely think so. The program isn’t quite at the point where it can just reload after players like Andrew Luck leave (and it probably never will be), but there’s no reason Stanford can’t return to the elite after a rebuilding year or two.
So who, you ask, are these mystery youngsters that form the next generation of Stanford football? To the breakdown! (more…)