October 18, 2012

Freshmen Review: Defense

Cardinal Sports Report sat down with defensive coordinator Derek Mason this week to review the development of the defensive players from Stanford's highly-regarded recruiting class. Several true freshmen have earned playing time, and the amount they play figures to trend upwards the rest of the season.

Here is a breakdown of each player, with a general comment from Mason. We had to speed up the interview a little bit, which accounts for some of his answers being more expansive than others.

Alex Carter
Position: CB
Rivals rating: 4-star
National ranking: 57
Comment: Carter has made the biggest impact among the highly-ranked freshman class. He's rotating in a corner with Terrence Brown, Barry Browning and Wayne Lyons and has 15 tackles and a forced fumble.

Mason's take: "Alex has been doing extremely well. Playing hard. The game is starting to slow down for him. Tremendous skill set. Just like for most freshmen, the game moves extremely fast and once you start to get more playing time, you become more familiar with the system. He has a high ceiling in terms of what he can do, we just have to make sure we put him in manageable situations where he can have success."

Noor Davis
Position: OLB
Rivals rating: 4-star
National ranking: 77
Comment: Davis has yet to play, so it would be a major surprise if he steps on the field this year. Stanford's depth at linebacker allows for the team to be patient with his development. It is interesting to note, however, that Mason didn't rule but playing him all together.

Mason's take: "I don't know that he's redshirting, but as of right now, he hasn't touched the field. With that being the case, he's still in the developmental stage in terms of … he's finally got himself in good shape, football shape. Guys come in here and expect to set the world on fire, but for him it just took a little longer. He got injured in camp, that was a set back. He had a couple issues in terms of learning the system right away and so, for him, he had to takes some steps back. Once he started to move forward, he really started to move. Now it's a matter of, did he run out of time? But, developmentally, he's fine. Skill set is exactly what it should be, what we recruited him for. He fits this system and he's going to be a great player."

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