By Joseph Beyda
Ryan Hewitt, Fullback
Alter ego: “Gruden’s favorite.” Not many people have gotten mad Andrew Luck’s performance on the football field, but Jon Gruden took offense to Luck ignoring Hewitt on the now-infamous Spider 3 Y Banana play.
CBSSports.com projection: 7th round/undrafted
Cardinal career: Hewitt came to the Farm as a tight end, but was converted to fullback during the last year of predecessor Owen Marecic’s career because he was the shortest member of his stacked position group — at 6-foot-4. After backing up Marecic in all 13 games in 2010, Hewitt would start for three straight years and bring a new flavor to the Cardinal’s already distinctive offense, adding his pass-catching abilities to the smashmouth identity of the fullback position.
Unfortunately, Hewitt has been on the field for some of the more forgettable plays in recent Stanford football memory: Luck’s pix-six on Spider 2 Y Banana in 2011, an errant throw by Kevin Hogan on a fourth-down pass to Hewitt at Oregon in 2012 and Michigan State’s fourth-and-1 stop of Hewitt late in the Rose Bowl to end his college career. But his blocking abilities have paved the way for a pair of 1,500-yard rushers in Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney, and his playmaking has been an added dimension in the years since Marecic, the quintessential Cardinal fullback.
Pro stock: Hewitt’s integral role in Stanford’s pro-style offense — and his well-established versatility — are major pluses for NFL scouts. He earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, where he worked out as a running back and not as a tight end. Hewitt’s speed (a 4.87 40-yard dash at the Combine) may be seen as a weakness, but he’s still expected to be a late-round draft pick and to have his shot at the next level.
Highlights: Hewitt converted a critical fourth-and-1 against Oregon in 2012 as Stanford came back to force overtime.
And early in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Hewitt accidentally went in motion but turned the mistake — which would have cost the Cardinal five yards — into six points, setting a crucial block on Tyler Gaffney’s game-opening touchdown.
Contact Joseph Beyda at jbeyda ‘at’ stanford.edu.