Here's is Stanford's first 2013 season depth chart, and our thoughts follow. By the way, it's fun to compare this chart to The Bootleg's initial projections, which came out in February.
Young Lineman on the Rise
Cracking the depth chart can be a reward for young players fighting tooth and nail to ascend in the hierarchy of Stanford's competitive system. On the offensive line, though Johnny Caspers and Brendon Austin aren't yet top dogs, they've both established themselves. Caspers, who has gained 30 pounds in about a year, is listed as Kevin Danser's backup at right guard, while the 6-foot-6, 304-pound junior Austin has positioned himself behind Cam Fleming at right tackle. Sophomore Kyle Murphy will certainly play in Stanford's Hulk packages, and the depth chart is a strong indication that Caspers and Austin will participate as well.
The staff's glowing appraisals of Caspers' development suggest that he's more than ready to step in at right guard if Danser goes down. That move would allow Stanford to keep Khalil Wilkes at center. Meanwhile, it appears that the talented bulldozer Garnett is being bred as the heir apparent to Yankey at left guard. How about Stanford's second team offensive line, by the way? Murphy, Garnett, Conor McFadden, Caspers, and Austin could hold their own with the Pac-12's first teams.
At his listed weight of 242 pounds, redshirt junior Davis Dudchock appears to be stuck in no-man's land. He's at least 20 pounds lighter than Stanford's two top listed blocking tight ends: Luke Kaumatule and Charlie Hopkins check in at 267 and 262 pounds, respectively. As Stanford's coaches want beer truck-blocking from the position, Dudchock's primary battle for playing time has shifted to the "big slot" receiver spot instead.
The fight there isn't much easier. Devon Cajuste, who is checking in at 230 pounds, is one of the fastest-rising commodities on the Stanford depth chart. Dudchock has shown soft hands throughout this offseason, but given the talent on both sides of him, it's going to be a fight for extensive playing time.
The depth chart is often dubbed the "two-deep," but Stanford's chart includes six wide receivers, indicative of about how many bodies the Cardinal expect to contribute at the position. In reality, junior Kelsey Young operates in a world of his own as the Cardinal's hybrid threat, but he's listed with the other receivers here. Jordan Pratt and Kodi Whitfield crack the document, while Jeff Trojan is the next man in line waiting to print his name on the list, based on playing time during spring practice and fall camp.
Stanford is not yet set at punt returner. Ty Montgomery, Kodi Whitfield, Keanu Nelson, and Barry Sanders are listed in a four-way tie as of now. Special teams coach Pete Alamar hinted that all of those players will get a shot at the position, but added that Kodi Whitfield is the most comfortable at the spot in last week's interview with The Bootleg Radio.
Meanwhile, Kyle Olugbode, a senior from Bellarmine Prep (San Jose), cracked the two-deep at strong safety behind Jordan Richards. Zach Hoffpauir, perhaps the previous favorite to be in that second-string slot, is listed third. Both players impressed during the only open practice of fall camp.
There are few
surprises elsewhere, with Stanford a team chock-full of veterans. There will be few underclassmen playing on defense, though sophomore nose tackle Ikenna Nwafor has
positioned himself behind David Parry on the two-deep and will factor into that mix.
David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
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