2001 Stanford Football Honors Candidates

One of the core features of Cardinalmania Rising™, version 2.001, for Stanford football is the bevy of exciting returning talents. On both sides of the ball, in just about every position group, Stanford football has legit players ready to star in the Pac-10 this fall. Here is a look at who are the leading candidates to make impacts and rise to elite status in the conference.

Players to Watch

(Note: class reflects eligibility and not academic progress, with players who have used a redshirt indicated by "R")

PK Mike Biselli 5'10" 195# Senior (R)

Biselli burst onto the scene with his first team all-conference sophomore season in 1999, hitting every FG within 40 yards and 14 of 17 overall, including a 52-yarder.  Those numbers slipped in 2000 as Mike had to punt as well, but he should return to form in 2001 with Eric Johnson stepping up to the punting duties. Yet another instance where the punting performance can materially impact many other pieces of this team.

QB Randy Fasani 6'4" 235# Senior (R)

Few question his athletic abilities and potential, but his experience and health have thus far been his shortcomings.  Fasani was the clear starter last season, but injuries kept him out for all or part of five games.  Still he put up 1400 yards and 11 TDs passing, including several memorable long range bombs on the run.  His scrambles produce yards on the ground as well, totaling better than 5.0 yards in gains per carry. Arguably the biggest pure threat of any quarterback in the West.

OT Kwame Harris 6'7" 320# Sophomore

The most heralded offensive lineman to come to the Farm since Bob Whitfield, Kwame was the only true freshman to letter in 2000.  His long but quick body has shown enough ability and potential that starting offensive line has been reworked around him at RT. "Special K" excels in pass blocking with great technique and motion, but has a clear need to improve pass blocking. The move to the right side of the line plus improvement I saw in spring ball have me realistically optimistic that he can be an honors candidate this year. Kwame plus Heitmann sure makes for a solid right side to protect Randy.

OG Eric Heitmann 6'4" 295# Senior

The starting right guard at the Farm for every game of the last two seasons, Eric is the most seasoned and rounded talent on an offensive line returning all five starters from 2000.  Heitmann has been all-conference the last two years and is an all-American candidate in this his senior season. He sat almost all contact this spring to be very careful to let his shoulder heal after off-season surgery, but there is no concern about his health this summer or fall.

DT Matt Leonard 6'4" 290# Junior (R)

Leonard has yet to live up to his billing coming to Stanford, but this junior season looks to be his coming out party.  Leonard came on strong at the end of 2000 to start five games at nose tackle, registering 6 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.  More impressive though, was his incredible off-season work.  Leonard trimmed down into remarkable shape and was an incredible terror throughout spring practices. With the level of improvement I saw from Matt and Trey Freeman this spring, I no longer have concerns about replacing Willie's physical presence in the interior.

FB Casey Moore 6'2" 240# Junior (R)

This do-it-all fullback combines a thick body with surprising speed and soft hands, a package unmatched in the Pac-10.  He has averaged 5.7 yards per carry and 11.8 yards per reception in his first two years at Stanford, scoring 11 TDs in the air and on the ground.  His famous highlight reel 94-yd TD run in 1999 demonstrated his big play potential and speed, as he not only outran the Cal defensive backs... he pulled away from them.

WR/PR Luke Powell 5'8" 165# Sophomore (R)

Powell somewhat quietly put up some very gaudy numbers in his redshirt freshman season last year, totalling 502 yards receiving at an incredible 28 yards per reception.  His explosive speed and elusive moves after the catch have yielded big plays already, including 4 catches better than 60 yards and 6 over 30 yards.  He got a few cracks at punt return duties his freshman year as well, and recorded a 51-yard TD return there.  Luke is in many ways looking an awful lot like Troy Walters on the field. Much more than stature, Luke has an exceptionally high receiver IQ to use his body and timing to beat defenders in the air. The only thing that held Luke back in special teams return duties last year was injury. He is clearly the present and future of a reborn Stanford return threat.

FS Tank Williams 6'3" 215# Senior

It's been some time since Stanford has turned heads in the defensive backfield, but Tank Williams should do that this year.  He is a sculpted hard-hitting machine recently timed by NFL scouts at 4.43 seconds in the 40.  Started all 11 games last year at free safety, earning 2nd team all-conference honors with 3 INTs and 3 tackles for loss.  In his last game (Big Game), Tank recorded a career high 11 tackles.  Watch out.

ILB Coy Wire 6'1" 215# Senior (R)

Coy was moved to ILB only last fall, but quickly demonstrated a world of talent.  He finished in the top ten in the conference in total tackles (88), tackles for loss (14) and sacks (8), still learning the position as the season progressed.  Coy flies around the field and hits like a bullet train.  He is also a fiery emotional player that leads the defense and draws very favorable comparisons with the likes of Dat Nguyen and Adam Archuleta.

Newcomers to Watch

ILB Amon Gordon 6'4" 280# Freshman (R)

Amon has a freakish frame, speed and hard hitting knack.  Injury forced him to take a medical redshirt last year, and he again was sidelined this past spring.  But the moments he has shown on the practice field verify every bit of his hype out of high school, and may have him unseat some veteran linebackers to play and possibly start alongside Coy Wire. With Anthony Gabriel moved to OLB in an effort to replace Riall, the opportunity is clearly there.

WR Teyo Johnson 6'7" 256# Freshman (R)

Teyo is well known around the conference for his remarkable play as a true freshman forward on the top-rated Stanford basketball team, and his amazing athletic displays underscore his potential on the gridiron. Size, speed and quick-stop lateral quickness.  Teyo came to Stanford to play quarterback, but two veterans in Randy Fasani and Chris Lewis ahead of him at that position led to his switch to receiver in the final week of spring football.  All he did was shock the Farm with his athletic displays, capped off by two leaping touchdowns in the Spring Game, including a Hail Mary grab at the final gun. I fully believe that if Diedrick can find ways to get the ball into Teyo's hands, defenders will have a nightmarish time catching and stopping him in the open field. Another reason to expect a big impact from Teyo is that he is moving into a position of great need at receiver, where he should have ample opportunity to excel.

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