#13 Stanford Football 2017 Preview


Stanford Cardinal


Overall Rank: #13

#3 Pac-12

For Stanford last year was supposed to be a down year. And it was by their standards. That still resulted in a ten win season. Coach David Shaw lost two superstars to the NFL in running back Christian McCaffrey and defensive end Solomon Thomas, but there are eight starters returning on both offense and defense.
2016 Record: 10-3, 6-3
2016 Bowl: Sun Bowl vs. North Carolina (W 25-23)
Coach: David Shaw (64-17 at Stanford, 64-17 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Bloomgren
Defensive Coordinator: Lance Anderson
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Bryce Love, RB, 783 yards
Passing: Ryan Burns, QB, 1,151 yards
Receiving: Trenton Irwin, WR, 442 yards
Tackles: Justin Reed, S, 57
Sacks: Harrison Phillips, DT, 6.5
Interceptions: Joey Alferi, LB, 2; Quenton Meeks, CB, 2
Other Key Returnees: QB Keller Chryst, WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside, TE Dalton Schultz, LB Peter Kalambayi, CB Alameen Murphy, CB Alijah Holder, P Jake Bailey
Key Losses: RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Michael Rector, DE Solomon Thomas, S Dallas Lloyd
Quarterback Keller Chryst was injured during the Sun Bowl victory over North Carolina. He started the last six games of the 2016 season and threw for 905 yards with ten touchdowns and just two interceptions. He returned from the injury in time for training camp and should be ready to go for game one. However, Ryan Burns is also back after throwing for 1,151 yards in 2016 and he should is a capable player if Chryst is not ready to go or suffers a setback. Trenton Irwin and JJ Arcega-Whiteside will provide reliable targets for whoever is throwing the ball. But, of course, the bigger question is who can replace the 1,603 yards and 13 touchdowns that McCaffrey rushed for last season? Bryce Love should do nicely. He was a superb change of pace back last season and rushed for 783 yards on 111 carries. He may not be able to handle the workload that McCaffrey did, but he is a dynamic playmaker.
The line will struggle to replace Thomas, who led the team with 62 tackles, including 8.0 sacks and 15.0 tackles-for-loss. Tackle Harrison Phillips is a great piece to rebuild around though. Dylan Jackson and Eric Cotton will benefit from Phillips garnering much of the attention in the trenches. The linebackers are in good shape with plenty of experienced upperclassmen on the roster. Joey Alfieri is a great athlete who can do it all. He could spend some time at the inside linebacker position this year after tallying 5.0 sacks and 10.5 tackles-for-loss in 2016. The secondary boasts just as much experience and talent. Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder are two of the best cornerbacks in the Pac-12 and strong safety Justin Reed also returns to a starting spot after tallying 57 tackles last season.
The Bottom Line:
In order to win the Pac-12 North, Stanford will have to get past Washington. Last year the Cardinal lost 44-6 to the Huskies. This time around Stanford gets that game at home and it comes much later in the year. There is a tough early road game again though when Stanford heads to USC on September 9th. Two weeks later they host UCLA in what should be another very tough game. But assuming Chryst is healthy, this is a team that is ready for those big games early in the 2017 campaign. And by the time Washington comes to Palo Alto on November 10th, Stanford could be playing for more than just the Pac-12 North title.
Projected Bowl: Alamo Bowl
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 208.9 (35th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 158.2 (115, 12)
Total Offense: 367.1 (103, 11)
Scoring Offense: 26.3 (83, 9)
Rushing Defense: 144.5 (38, 5)
Pass Defense: 223.6 (61, 5)
Total Defense: 368.1 (38, 4)
Scoring Defense: 20.4 (18, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.15 (49, 6)
Sacks: 2.85 (22, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 2.62 (100, 11)
Madness 2017 Recruit Rankings:
#6 Foster Sarell
#13 Walker Little
#18 Davis Mills
#42 Colby Parkinson
#97 Saiid Adebo
#177 Dalyn Wade-Perry
#193 Osiris St. Brown
#197 Sione Lund
#201 Connor Wedington
#210 Ryan Johnson