Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

Stanford Breakdown

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Stanford looks poised for an elite season in 2018. David Shaw’s team went 9-5 straight up and 7-7 against the spread last year, but it lost four of its five games by 11 combined points. Furthermore, first-team All-American running back Bryce Love was injured and missed key portions of three-point losses at Washington State and vs. USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Stanford returns nine starters on offense and six on defense. The offense averaged 32.4 points per game in 2017, and this unit is absolutely stacked with talent and will be one of the nation’s best this year.

For starters, Love is the country’s premier RB. Despite missing a comeback win at Oregon St. and playing on a sprained ankle in his team’s last six games, he still rushed for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging an eye-popping 8.1 yards per carry. Junior Cameron Scarlett is a solid back-up who ran for 389 yards and eight TDs with a 4.3 YPC average in 2017.

Phil Steele’s preseason magazine ranks Stanford’s offensive line No. 1 in the Pac-12 and the fourth-best in the nation. The Cardinal has five offensive players who are All-Americans in Steele’s mag. Love and junior offensive guard Nate Herbig are first-teamers, while redshirt sophomore tight end Kaden Smith is a second-team selection. Also, OT Walker Little is a third-team AA and WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside is a fourth-teamer.

Smith tore his ACL late in his senior year of high school and had to redshirt as a true freshman. The Marcus High School (Flower Mound, TX., in the Dallas area) product was a four-star signee who chose Stanford over Alabama. For whatever reasons, certainly ones that appeared moronic once the calendar got deep into November, Smith wasn’t getting many snaps for most of September and October.

Nevertheless, after making 10 receptions for 188 yards and four TDs in the last two regular-season contests and the Pac-12 Championship Game, Smith garnered first-team All-Pac-12 honors. He single-handedly kept the Cardinal in the game against USC in Santa Cruz, making a pair of spectacular TD grabs on third-and-long plays in the second half. (see highlights below in embedded tweets)

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