If Stanford is to live up to the enormous expectations surrounding the program in David Shaw's first year at the helm, it will take more than strong individual performances by the Cardinal's established stars. We know what to expect from the likes of Andrew Luck, Jonathan Martin, David DeCastro, Stepfan Taylor, a healthy Chris Owusu, Shayne Skov, and Delano Howell. (Namely, greatness.)
Over the next 11 days, I'll profile 11 less heralded players whose ability to adjust to larger roles will help make or break the Cardinal's season.
Today: Ty Montgomery
Montgomery, a four-star recruit, was rated the 27th- and 30th-best wide receiver prospect in the Class of 2011 by Scout and Rivals, respectively, but those numbers are meaningless now. (In fact, they never meant that much; the Cardinal offered him a scholarship after he attended a Stanford camp as a freshman at St. Mark's School in Dallas.)
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Montgomery is a "complete receiver" according to Stanford head coach David Shaw, and with Ryan Whalen and Doug Baldwin graduated, he could see a lot of action alongside Chris Owusu and Griff Whalen. Montgomery says he isn't concerned about playing time in his first year on the Farm, but you can bet he has no intentions of watching from the sidelines.
"I can not think about expectations. I don’t want to put any extra pressure on myself then there might be. I just try to come out here and play. If I get to play from day one then that is great with me."
That's great with us, too. Montgomery runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and is a prime candidate to carry the ball on an end-around, as he did for 15 yards in last Sunday's scrimmage. Montgomery has also been getting reps at punt returner with fellow receiver Drew Terrell. You can see his dual-threat ability in the video below.
The last Stanford receiver to make a significant contribution as a true freshman was Richard Sherman in 2006. Before him, Mark Bradford caught a Stanford freshman record 37 passes for 587 yards and three touchdowns in 2003. There's a chance that Montgomery could surpass all of those numbers. He's a special talent in his own right and the guy throwing him the ball has a way of making his receivers look even better. Luck is the best quarterback Montgomery has ever had, and perhaps the best quarterback he ever will have. He'd like to take advantage of that opportunity, and if he's able, Stanford fans will forget they were ever worried about this year's receiving corps.