WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Eighteen Stanford players, covering 19 positions, have been named to the All-Pac-12 Conference football team in an announcement made by the league office Monday.
Six players earned first-team honors, another six claimed second-team honors and seven more earned honorable mention status in voting conducted by the league’s head coaches.
Six Cardinal earned honors on offense with left guard David Yankey earning the second-straight first team honor of his career.
On defense, four Cardinal earned honors with Ben Gardner earning first team honors despite being sidelined since late October. Gardner was joined by a pair of linebackers in Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov while junior safety Ed Reynolds also earned first-team honors. Murphy and Reynolds have been two-time first-team selections.
Montgomery claimed first-team honors at return specialist with the junior ranking second nationally in kickoff returns with 31.3 yards per return and two touchdowns.
Also earning special teams honors for non-kickers or returners was Joe Hemschoot, who earned second team honors for his hard-hitting on kick coverage units.
Seven Stanford players earned honorable mention status including Henry Anderson (DL), sophomore Alex Carter (CB), Kevin Danser (RG), Josh Mauro (DL), Ben Rhyne (P), Jordan Richards (S) and A.J. Tarpley (ILB).
Yankey has paved the way for a Stanford offensive line that has committed just two holding penalties this season, with just one of them coming from the line of scrimmage. Stanford has converted better than 52 percent of its third down opportunities, good enough for eighth-best nationally and first among Pac-12 schools. The Cardinal has allowed a national-low 3.3 tackles for loss/game.
Playing in just eight games, Gardner consistently got into the backfield, compiling 7.5 tackles for loss from his defensive end position while collecting 4.5 sacks and nine quarterback hurries. He totaled 19 tackles, one forced fumble and one blocked punt.
Murphy leads the Pac-12 and ranks second nationally in sacks with 13.0 this season. He ranks second in the conference and sixth nationally with 19.5 tackles for loss. Aside from getting into the backfield, Murphy has troubled opposing teams with seven passes defended, seven quarterback hurries, one interception, one forced fumble and one blocked kick. Murphy currently stands in sixth place on Stanford’s career tackle for loss list (48.5).
Skov has led Stanford’s defense in tackles with 91 so far including a team-best 48 solo efforts. He has 10.0 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and two recoveries to go with four pass breakups. Skov enters play Saturday eighth in Stanford history with 335 career tackles.
Opposing teams have showed respect for Reynolds’ capability by staying away from the safety play-maker. Reynolds has just one interception (in the season opener) and three pass breakups but has seen little action to his side of the field. He has been a force in the run game however, ranking third on the team with 73 tackles, including 47 solo efforts.
Among the second-teamers, Gaffney (2,276) is the third Stanford player since 2009 to record at least 2,000 career rushing yards, joining Toby Gerhart (3,522) and Stepfan Taylor (4,300). Now seventh on Stanford’s all-time rushing list, Gaffney has 17 rushing touchdowns and only 21 yards lost this season. He has lost yardage on just 11 carries. Gaffney’s 29 career rushing touchdowns place him in third place on Stanford’s all-time list.
Aside from his kick return notables, Montgomery ranks eighth nationally in all-purpose yards with nearly 162 yards per game. Montgomery has 1,943 all-purpose yards on the season. The program’s all-time mark of 2,234 was set by Glyn Milburn in 1992. He has led the team in receptions in 11 of its 12 games with 53 receptions for 868 yards and nine touchdowns.
Among the honorable mention picks, Mauro has 10.5 tackles for a loss, 4.0 sacks and six quarterback hurries; Anderson, despite battling injuries, has compiled 15 tackles in six games; Carter has 53 tackles and seven passes defended in 11 games; Richards has 61 tackles and three interceptions and Tarpley checks in with 80 tackles (44 solo) and 5.0 tackles for a loss.
Rhyne’s career average of 42.0 yards/punt is good for third all-time in program history and his 42.2 average this season would be good for eighth-best in a single season.