By Joseph Beyda
The No. 21 Stanford football team released its depth chart to open the season on Saturday night with few surprises, other than the confirmation that several freshmen will see playing time on the offensive line.
Junior David Yankey, who started every game last year, is listed as the top option at left guard but is also in a three-way tie for the number-one spot at left tackle, with freshmen Andrus Peat and Kyle Murphy. Murphy and redshirt freshman Brendon Austin are listed as backups to redshirt junior Cameron Fleming at right tackle, while true freshman Joshua Garnett is listed as the number two at right guard behind redshirt junior Kevin Danser. Fifth-year senior Sam Schwartzstein, another 13-game starter in 2011, will again be the Cardinal’s top center.
As expected, redshirt junior Josh Nunes will start at quarterback, with redshirt sophomore Brett Nottingham backing him up. Redshirt juniors Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz are listed at tight end.
In the short-term absence of redshirt junior fullback Ryan Hewitt, who sprained his ankle in last Sunday’s open scrimmage, redshirt sophomore Lee Ward will take over the blocking for senior Stepfan Taylor and junior Anthony Wilkerson, the top two running backs.
Rounding out the offense at receiver are senior Drew Terrell and sophomore Ty Montgomery. They will be backed up by redshirt freshman Kelsey Young and senior Jamal-Rashad Patterson, though upstart freshman Kodi Whitfield is not listed despite his impressive camp performance.
On defense, Stanford will be without senior linebacker Shayne Skov, who was suspended one game for his January DUI; redshirt sophomore A.J. Tarpley, who stepped up when Skov’s 2011 ended in an ACL injury, has retained the starting spot for now. He will be playing alongside sophomore James Vaughters, who won the other inside linebacker starting job over redshirt junior Jarek Lancaster. Fifth-year senior Chase Thomas and redshirt junior Trent Murphy will continue their impressive body of work from last year as the starting outside linebackers yet again.
Seniors Terrence Stephens and Ben Gardner retain their spots on the defensive line from last season, while redshirt sophomore Henry Anderson steps into the void left by Matt Masifilo as one of the defensive ends.
Juniors Terrence Brown and Barry Browning will form a similarly named duo at cornerback, with a pair of impressive youngsters, true freshman Alex Carter and sophomore Wayne Lyons, backing them up. Redshirt sophomore Ed Reynolds won the free safety spot over junior Devon Carrington with an impressive camp, while sophomore Jordan Richards beat out fifth-year senior Harold Bernard at strong safety.
The 12th defender listed is redshirt junior Usua Amanam at nickelback. Amanam was a running back when he arrived at Stanford but transitioned to the secondary due to the Cardinal’s depth in the offensive backfield.
Stanford’s specialists remain largely unchanged from last season, with redshirt junior Jordan Williamson continuing his place-kicking duties and fifth-year senior Daniel Zychlinski remaining the punter. Montgomery and Terrell are respectively listed as the squad’s only kickoff and punt returners.