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April 29, 2013

Nunes and Meinken conclude careers

On the same day Stanford released its post-spring ball depth chart, the school announced the departure of two players who figured to play a key role in the team's 2013 season: backup quarterback Josh Nunes and fullback Geoff Meinken.

"We regret to report today that senior QB Josh Nunes is medically retiring and has finished his Cardinal football career," Stanford football said in a statement on its Facebook page. "Josh started nine games under center in 2012 and led us to thrilling wins over #2 USC and Arizona. We offer our deep gratitude to Josh for his leadership and contributions in our historic championship season."

While Nunes wouldn't have been Stanford's starter in 2013, he would likely have been the primary backup to Kevin Hogan. (Though Evan Crower had a strong spring and may have pushed Nunes for the job.)

In addition to providing leadership, Nunes, who would have played his fifth season in a Cardinal uniform, would have been the only quarterback outside of Hogan on Stanford's roster with game experience.

If healthy, fullback Geoff Meinken was expected to be used situationally alongside Ryan Hewitt, Patrick Skov and Lee Ward. Meinken's presence may have allowed the Stanford coaches to emphasize Hewitt more as a tight end in the passing game. (Though, as it stands, Skov and Ward would be a very capable fullback duo, should Hewitt transition to tight end.)

"Senior FB Geoff Meinken has decided to graduate this spring and will not return for his fifth year," Stanford football said in a statement on its Facebook page. "Geoff fought like a warrior to come back from his spring 2012 knee injury, and we wish him all the best."

If he was able to make a full recovery, Meinken would have had grounds to petition to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility in 2014.

Spring depth chart released: Stanford released its spring depth chart on Monday.

There weren't any real eye-openers on the depth chart, but a few mild surprises and items of note.

  • Defensive back Devon Carrington, who received significant playing time as a backup safety last season, is listed not only as the backup to Ed Reynolds, but also as the co-backup at right cornerback behind Wayne Lyons. It marked Carrington's first appearance on Stanford's depth chart at cornerback.

    Barry Browning, who has held out of much of spring ball due to injury, was listed as the backup to Alex Carter at left cornerback.

  • As expected, Blake Lueders and James Vaughters were listed as co-starters at outside linebacker.

  • Ty Montgomery is listed as the first-team kick returner. Kelsey Young is the backup.

  • Anthony Wilkerson and Tyler Gaffney are listed as co-starters at running back. They are the only two running backs listed on the depth chart.

  • As expected with Nunes' departure from the team, Crower is listed as the backup to Kevin Hogan. Crower and Hogan are the only two quarterbacks on the depth chart.

  • Conor McFadden, Kevin Danser and Khalil Wilkes are listed as co-starters at center.

  • Four players are considered even in the punt return competition: Montgomery, Kodi Whitfield, Barry Sanders and Keanu Nelson

  • Ikenna Nwafor is listed as backup to David Parry at nose tackle. Aziz Shittu is the backup to Ben Gardner at defensive end. Josh Mauro and Henry Anderson are co-starters at the other end spot.

  • Conrad Ukropina and Ben Rhyne are still designated as co-starters at punter.

  • While Luke Kaumatule was thought to have an edge on Davis Dudchock at tight end, the players are listed as co-starters on the depth chart.

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