The All-Decade Team is going big to get its best 11 athletes on the field. Chambers, Fletcher, Heitmann, Harris, Smith, Bradford and Gerhart were unanimous or virtually unanimous picks, so let's scrutinize the other, contentious selections. First, on offensive line, we shift Chris Marinelli over to offensive guard (where he did briefly start earlier in his career) in order to get him onto the team. Marinelli takes the spot of David DeCastro, who might be on the next All-Decade Team, but hasn't yet played enough to merit inclusion on this past decade's squad. At fullback, opinion was pretty evenly split between Casey Moore and Owen Marecic – so why not put them both on the team? Every squad needs a goal-line package, and with this offensive line and Toby Gerhart at tailback, why not just use the fullbacks and run power every other play? Alas, the two-fullback formation necessitates leaving receiver DeRonnie Pitts on the bench, which is a shame, but would he start ahead of Moore, Marecic or Bradford? I didn't think so either.
Finally, there's the quarterback position, where Edwards, Randy Fasani and Andrew Luck all had strong cases. Luck has been the starting quarterback for just one year this decade, however, which in our opinion, is not enough to overcome the three solid years Edwards started or the two Fasani started, despite Luck's '09 season undoubtedly being the best of the decade. Given the aforementioned criteria of "the sum of a player's contributions to Stanford football," we have to think Trent Edwards meant more in three years under center than did Luck, who wasn't even the team's offensive MVP, in one season.
That leaves Fasani and Edwards. Fasani's stats are prettier in a lot of categories: he finished his Stanford career with 24 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, 51.6 percent accuracy and 8.3 yards per pass for a career rating of 138. Edwards, meanwhile, completed 56.2 percent of his passes with 36 touchdowns and 33 interceptions and just 6.3 yards per pass, a career rating of 115. However, two caveats give Edwards the award. First, Edwards started 35 games to the oft-injured Fasani's 16, allowing him to throw for 5,443 yards to Fasani's 2,879, and complete 488 passes to Fasani's 179. Second, Edwards survived the Dark Era of Stanford football. His stats would have been immeasurably better had he been surrounded with the offensive talent and blocking Fasani enjoyed, or a defense which gave him the ball more frequently, closer to the end zone and in less desperate comeback situations. We think Edwards, in Fasani's shoes, would have put up better numbers than Fasani himself, and thus he's our quarterback of the decade.
Here too we went big, employing a 4-4 in recognition of where Stanford's talent was (or, just as aptly, was not) over the 2000's. Taking a second cornerback off the field snubs Ruben Carter of a spot, but again, it's hard to justify including him over Clinton Snyder or Thomas Keiser.
For whatever reason, there was less controversy on this side of the ball: these 11 players really stand head-and-shoulders above the rest. Interestingly, Stanford has had some killer safeties through the years in Williams and Atogwe (and we could probably slide Wire there if we had to), but only Leigh Torrence truly stands out as a lockdown corner. (Honorable Mention: Carter and Nick Sanchez.) Indeed, that trend may continue into the next decade, as the Cardinal are enjoying more success recruiting safeties than they are true corners thus far this recruiting class.
K Nate Whitaker
P Jay Ottovegio
KR TJ Rushing
PR Luke Powell
MVP: Toby Gerhart
Coach: Jim Harbaugh
All of these selections were unanimous or near-unanimous save for the selection of Rushing, who was pushed hard by Chris Owusu. Rushing was back there bringing back kicks a lot longer than Owusu has been (and also, given the defense of the days of yore, brought back a lot more kicks than Owusu). Plus, Rushing's career contributions at cornerback are greater than Owusu's at wide receiver, and Rushing's stats are more impressive given that Owusu's returns are probably sprung by better blockers. Given that both players have three career kickoff return touchdowns at Stanford, those tiebreakers tip the scales in Rushing's favor, but we're sure Chris Owusu will have the last word these next few falls.
Congratulations to all 27 honorees (26 players plus Coach Harbaugh), and thank you to all the Booties who contributed valuable input!
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