With the start of fall camp just days away, Cardinal Sports Report will examine five of the pressing questions facing the 2012 Stanford football team. First up in our series is a look at the question marks surrounding Stanford's depth at wide receiver.
No. 5: Receiving corps depth
Last season, even with Griff Whalen and Chris Owusu on the roster, Stanford's wide receiving corps was a major concern. With Owusu often injured and Ty Montgomery getting used to the rigors of college football, the Cardinal was often forced to rely on only a handful of wideouts for most of the year.
It's uncertain whether the receiver situation will be much better in 2012.
Now a sophomore, Montgomery is expected to emerge as one of the conference's top receivers, but beyond him, the outlook is murky.
Perhaps the best bet to emerge as a strong No. 2 is punt returner extraordinaire Drew Terrell . Terrell is a shifty, sure-handed pass-catcher who garnered high praise from Cardinal coach David Shaw at Monday's Bay Area college football media day. Shaw said that Terrell was the best blocking wide receiver on the squad, and that the Arizona native is approaching his senior season with plenty of positive momentum.
"Drew Terrell had a great spring and by all accounts is taking this seriously," Shaw said. "He wants to start. He wants to play a lot. He was our best blocker a year ago, which with the way we run the ball is vital. Maybe he didn't catch a whole lot of passes but he still played a lot last year in some critical situations. I love where he is right now leadership wise. He knows everything, he knows all of the positions. We're going to lean on him a lot."
Jamal-Rashad Patterson's struggles have been well-documented, but Shaw also offered encouraged remarks about the Georgia native.
"Jamal-Rashad Patterson has come back in the best shape of his life," Shaw said. "Running track last year I think helped a lot. He's dropped a lot of weight. He's cut his body fat. He's finished spring one of our most explosive guys after he came back from track, which is really exciting."
In addition to Montgomery, Terrell and Patterson, we've heard positive feedback about professional baseball player turned walk-on Jordan Pratt's performance on the scout team last fall, but he didn't have the breakout spring that some anticipated.
2012 wide receiver recruits Dontonio Jordan, Michael Rector, Conner Crane and Kodi Whitfield are talent but unproven, and a number of other wideouts have shown flashes, but not the consistency required to fill a major role in Stanford's offense.
"We have a bunch of guys who are here who we believe have talent," Shaw said. "They've got to show it to us with some consistency."