After a very strong finish to a successful 2012 season, the Stanford Cardinal will be receiving plenty of offseason attention this summer. College football’s preseason awards “watch lists” are no exception to this trend.
The Cardinal have no shortage of talent on an individual level, a fact reflected on these lists. Numerous Stanford players are up for some of the most prestigious awards that college football has to offer.
Boasting one of the top offensive lines in the country, Stanford has put three players onto the Outland Trophy Watch List, the award given to the nation’s best interior lineman. This group of three players, Kevin Danser, Cameron Fleming, and David Yankey, marks the highest total on the list from any one school.
Perhaps even more impressive, four Stanford players have been named to the Bronko Nagurski Award Watch List: defensive end Ben Gardner, outside linebacker Trent Murphy, inside linebacker Shayne Skov, safety and Ed Reynolds. Gardner, Murphy, and Skov have also been honored by making the Bednarik Award Watch List, the trophy given to college football’s top defensive player.
As for the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, given to the nation’s best defensive back, Cardinal safeties Reynolds and Jordan Richards have made the cut.
These players all have a shot at taking home these prestigious awards. However, some are in a better position to do it than others.
For example, Shayne Skov has made the honorable decision to return for his fifth year, despite the fact that he likely
would have been a high draft pick this past spring. The senior has tallied 26 tackles for loss throughout his career at Stanford, and will no doubt enter the season as one of the premier inside linebackers in college football.
David Yankey is another player that stands out. This marks Yankey’s second appearance on the Outland Trophy Watch List, and he has established himself as a standout on Stanford’s already elite front wall. Look for him to make some noise in 2013.
Lastly, Ed Reynolds stands out as a player who could end the season with plenty of accolades. A ball-hawking safety with the uncanny ability to beat receivers to the ball in the air, Reynolds posted six interceptions with three touchdown returns, not to mention another return that he took about 70 yards and was tackled at the 1-yard line during the Pac-12 Championship Game.
An exciting player, Reynolds also dropped a handful of interceptions last year. This is not to criticize him, but just to point out the fact that his total of six interceptions could have been much higher due to his outstanding instincts at the safety position.
The 2013 Cardinal squad has some of the most talent of any team in the country. With the addition of these eight players to major award watch lists, look for Stanford to end the season as one of the NCAA’s most decorated teams.