Aug. 5, 2010
STANFORD, Calif.--No doubt one of Stanford’s primary defensive priorities this season will be to improve its pass defense, which ranked 110th nationally last season, yielding an average of 264.7 yards per game. The Cardinal will also need to replace the services of two-year captain Bo McNally, who led the team in tackles each of the last three seasons.
Stanford projects seniors Richard Sherman and Corey Gatewood as the starters at left and right cornerback, respectively, with juniors Delano Howell and Michael Thomas getting the nod at strong and free safety. Sherman, Gatewood and Howell all have starting experience, while Thomas has played in all 25 games since arriving at Stanford two years ago.
Sherman made the transition from wide receiver to cornerback in spring drills prior to last season and wasted little time in making an impact at his new position. He made 12 starts at left cornerback and finished fourth on the team in tackles with 62 and tied for the team lead in interceptions with two.
Gatewood make six starts last season and finished with 28 tackles and had one interception return for a touchdown against San Jose State.
Howell, Stanford’s top returning tackler from a year ago, earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 marks after totaling 78 stops, including 52 solo efforts, in his first season at strong safety. He also had two interceptions, tying McNally and Sherman for the team lead.
Depth is not an issue with this unit, which is as competitive as any on the squad.
Sophomore Quinn Evans, who appeared in eight games and made one start last season, will be a factor at left corner, while junior Johnson Bademosi, who worked his way into six starts last year, gives the Cardinal a solid option on the right side.
With 25 career games in the secondary, fifth-year senior Austin Yancy ranks as Stanford’s most experienced player among the defensive backs. He started 12 games at strong safety as a sophomore on 2007 and after sitting out all of 2008 with an injury, made 23 stops in 12 games as a reserve last season.