Emergence and Re-Emergence
"I love press coverage because I get to bull-rush cornerbacks," Devon Cajuste said this week.
Stanford, long established as a physical team in the trenches, is spreading its bruising size to the perimeter. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Cajuste brings a tight end's stature to the position opposite Ty Montgomery, an asset undersized Army and Pac-12 cornerbacks will have to deal with this season.
And he's only adding more muscle with age.
"Devon will play receiver at 240 pounds in two years," Coach David Shaw predicted.
Since press coverage against him from a 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback isn't the best idea now, it'll be a terrible one in the future. A player with Cajuste's frame typically lines up at tight end, where he engages in physical war with linebackers his own size. No. 89's heart, though, is at receiver, so his muscle is being utilized on unusual parts of the field. Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz also split out wide during his Stanford career, but he was a visitor on the perimeter.
For Cajuste, the outside is home. Of the nine colleges that recruited him, only Stanford wanted Cajuste as a receiver. Harvard, the runner-up in his recruitment, offered him at tight end. The opportunity to play receiver for Stanford sealed Cajuste's recruitment in early 2011, immediately after Shaw took over for Jim Harbaugh.
"The glory of the big catch: That's what comes with being a receiver," he said.
Meanwhile, Stanford hopes the big runs continue to come from Tyler Gaffney, who racked up 104 yards on 20 carries in his return from a year-long stint in minor league baseball.
"It had been a while since I really hit anybody," he said. "The first thing I thought when I went out there and got in my stance was that I realized the last time I hit somebody was a catcher."
Marecic's Top Two
Stanford plays Army for the first time since 1979 on Saturday, but the two programs most recently crossed paths on the recruiting trail in 2007. That's when fullback Owen Marecic chose to come to The Farm instead of West Point.
"You're talking about a systematic human being," Shaw said. "You can easily see him in military service. You can easily see him operating on the President of the United States one day."
Shaw said that true freshman wide receiver Francis Owusu, younger brother of former Cardinal speedster Chris Owusu, will probably play Saturday. The coach's eyes glowed when he discussed Owusu in response to The Bootleg's question about the practice performance of Stanford's newbies.
Shaw has recently also praised tight end Austin Hooper for his early physical readiness. Owusu, though, earned sole mention this week. Keep in mind that a true freshman in Stanford's system will almost certainly redshirt if he doesn't play within the season's first four games, so the second half of this contest in Army may go a long way in answering this year's Cardinal redshirt plans.
Muggy conditions overtook the East Coast for much of this week before thunderstorms hit Thursday. Perfect conditions are forecast for Saturday's game, though. It's expected to be 70 degrees and sunny at West Point's Michie Stadium.
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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