The Stanford Cardinal have spent the past four seasons as one of the premier college football programs in the nation. The team has been able to do this because of excellent talent both on the sideline and on the field, especially on defense.
However, one thing the Cardinal have lacked during their meteoric rise to the top of the national standings is a go-to playmaker on the outside. Sure, Chris Owusu had electrifying speed, but he was plagued with injuries throughout the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Last year, it was supposed to be the impressive sophomore Ty Montgomery stepping into the spotlight. But he too ended up struggling with injuries and inconsistency.
Stanford has not had a wide receiver eclipse 750 yards since 2010, and last year in 2012, the team’s leading wideout was Drew Terrell, who only hauled in only 33 balls. Terrell is now gone, as is the Cardinal’s outstanding duo of tight ends in Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo. Therefore, quarterback Kevin Hogan needs a playmaker to step up on the outside.
The post-spring depth chart has Montgomery listed as one of the starters, which is no surprise considering the junior is the most experienced wideout returning. The other side, however, was less obvious. Devon Cajuste, a very intriguing player with great size and a lot of potential, is listed as the starter.
At 6’4”, 232 pounds, Cajuste is almost as big as a tight end, exactly the type of target that Hogan was comfortable throwing to in 2012. Though he only had one reception last year, the New York native had offers from many major programs and has the upside to become a real outside threat for the Cardinal in 2013.
Another player that Cardinal fans should watch for is incoming freshman Francis Owusu, the younger brother of the aforementioned former Stanford wide out Chris Owusu. The 4-star prospect has a lot of great physical tools, including 6’4” height and speed in the 4.4-range.
I would not be surprised if Owusu came in and pushed for playing time right away. He has the potential and the skills to become a true deep threat for the Cardinal, something the team has lacked for quite some time.
The rest of the Stanford receiving corps is made up of primarily untested talent. Kodi Whitfield, Kelsey Young, and Jordan Pratt combined to make only 11 grabs last year.
Looking at the roster, heading into his junior season, it is imperative that Ty Montgomery live up to his reputation and become a true No. 1, reliable target for Kevin Hogan. However, I would not be surprised if it was Cajuste or Owusu that put up the best numbers, as both could emerge as significant playmakers on the outside.