By Joseph Beyda
Anthony Wilkerson, Running Back
Alter ego: “A-Wilk.” Wilkerson’s nickname took hold after he contributed to one of Stepfan Taylor/Kulabafi’s rap videos.
CBSSports.com projection: Undrafted
Cardinal career: Thrust into the Cardinal’s five-man running back committee as a freshman, Wilkerson excelled, piling up 408 rushing yards and earning the team’s most outstanding freshman award. Though that’s the most productive season Wilkerson would put together — he spent his career stuck behind Stepfan Taylor ’13 and, later, Tyler Gaffney — he added valued depth to the Cardinal backfield in all four of its BCS runs.
Late in his career, Wilkerson was used as a read-option and Wildcat specialist as he extended his career rushing total past 1,000 yards. The high moments of his career include a 57-yard performance in last year’s Pac-12 Championship Game and a 93-yard, two-touchdown game against Washington in 2011, in which one of Wilkerson’s late rushes broke the Cardinal’s single-game team rushing record (446 yards).
Pro stock: Even though Gaffney is getting the top billing as the draft approaches, don’t count Wilkerson out for a shot at a pro camp. Former teammate Jeremy Stewart ’11, another depth back for the Cardinal who graduated after the 2011 season, bounced between three NFL teams before making his pro debut with the Oakland Raiders, for whom he played in 13 games last season. Wilkerson shares Stewart’s familiarity with Stanford’s pro-style, power-run offense and actually out-produced him on the Farm, but he doesn’t have as much special teams experience as his predecessor and clocked a 4.65 40 (relatively slow for a running back) at the Cardinal’s pro day. Still, he hits holes fast and has put enough on film to earn a good look from NFL scouts.
Highlight: Wilkerson sped through a hole for a key touchdown in Stanford’s 27-20 win against Notre Dame last season.
Contact Joseph Beyda at jbeyda ‘at’ stanford.edu.