Stanford Football: Paulson Adebo returning is a rare win for the Cardinal

Stanford Football (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Stanford Football (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

The Stanford football program has had a rough few weeks, but they were handed a rare stroke of fortune with Paulson Adebo’s decision to return to school.

The Stanford football program didn’t exactly have a banner year in 2019 and following the conclusion of the season, the hits to the school kept coming. Fortunately, the recent news about star cornerback Paulson Adebo is a breath of fresh air for the struggling program.

The two-time first-team All-Pac 12 selection has announced that he will return to Stanford in 2020 despite overwhelming rumors that he would opt to turn pro.

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Adebo was nearly unanimously projected as a first-round pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft despite a disappointing 2019 season that saw him run into injury troubles and a slow start.

Nonetheless, he was expected to be one of the first cornerbacks to hear his name called in late April. But instead, he decided to return to school for his senior season.

This news comes at an amazing time for a Stanford football program that had seen seemingly half the roster enter the transfer portal in the past few weeks. On Friday, running back Trevor Speights became the 15th Stanford player to enter the transfer portal in the offseason.

He joins a list headlined by the likes of quarterback K.J. Costello and defensive linemen Michael Williams and Jovan Swann. Couple that with the loss of tight end Colby Parkinson who opted to turn pro early and you have a rough few weeks for the program.

That said, Stanford was given a bit of a boost when stud left tackle Walker Little announced his intentions to return to school after missing essentially all of 2019 with a knee injury.

But while Little’s return and Parkinson’s departure were expected, Adebo’s decision comes as a huge shock to many.

Back in September, head coach David Shaw told ESPN’s Todd McShay that there was “no chance” that Adebo would be back with the Cardinal next season. Shaw and many others were convinced that the talented cornerback would declare for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Perhaps his injury troubles and early-season struggles swayed his opinion. Perhaps it was something else. Either way, Adebo will be back with Stanford next season and that’s precisely the good news the Cardinal faithful needed to hear.

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Expect Adebo to be an early preseason favorite for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation’s best defensive back and he’ll almost assuredly be a preseason All-Conference selection as well.

With an improved 2020 campaign, Adebo could very well rise up the draft rankings from a likely first-round pick to a sure-fire top-10 selection. This year he was expected to be taken behind Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah.

But next year, he could solidify himself as the No. 1 cornerback prospect in his class.

Regardless, one thing’s certain and that’s that this is a major win for a program that was desperately in need of any positive news.

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And Paulson Adebo returning is just the positive news that Stanford was in search of.