Pac-12: Pannel Egboh

Stanford spring football wrap-up

May, 8, 2009

Posted by's Ted Miller

Stanford Cardinal
2008 overall record: 5-7

2008 conference record: 4-5

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense: 8, kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

RB Toby Gerhart, OT Chris Marinelli, FB-LB Owen Marecic, DE Tom Keiser, FS Bo McNally, NT Ekom Udofia

Key losses

C Alex Fletcher, OT Ben Muth, DE Pannel Egboh, LB Pat Maynor, CB Wopamo Osaisai

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Toby Gerhert* (1,136)
Passing: Tavita Pritchard* (1,633)
Receiving: Ryan Whalen* (508)
Tackles: Bo McNally* (76)
Sacks: Tom Keiser* (6)
Interceptions: Bo McNally (4)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule

Sep. 5 at Washington State
Sep. 12 at Wake Forest
Sep. 19 San Jose State
Sep. 26 Washington
Oct. 3 UCLA
Oct. 10 at Oregon State
Oct. 17 at Arizona
Oct. 24 Arizona State
Nov. 7 Oregon
Nov. 14 at USC
Nov. 21 California
Nov. 28 Notre Dame

1. Luck of the Cardinal: While coach Jim Harbaugh wouldn't say after spring practices ended that Andrew Luck will be Stanford's starting quarterback at Washington State on Sept. 5, all signs point to the talented redshirt freshman besting 19-game starter Tavita Pritchard in their competition. Luck was brilliant in the spring game and barring any dramatic fall-off -- or injury -- he'll be the guy running the Cardinal offense.

2. Two-way can work: Players like Owen Marecic (fullback and middle linebacker), Michael Thomas (cornerback and receiver), Richard Sherman (cornerback and receiver) and Alex Debniak (linebacker and running back) -- among others, potentially -- likely will see playing time on both sides of the ball. That's one way to address depth issues and to get the best athletes on the field as much as possible.

3. Howell shores up secondary: Sophomore Delano Howell was switched from running back to strong safety to give the secondary some much-needed athleticism, and the move was widely viewed as a success as Howell proved himself a physical player as well as a guy who can move. He almost immediately ascended to the first-team defense.

Fall questions

1. Can they run? Last year, Stanford became one of the Pac-10's most physical running teams with a tough-guy offensive line and 237-pound running back Tony Gerhart. But Gerhart might sign a pro baseball contract and two key starters are gone from that line. The depth behind Gerhart is questionable, and the line took a hit when talented but star-crossed offensive tackle Allen Smith re-injured the knee that kept him out in 2008.

2. Can they run II? For Stanford to push into the top half of the conference, it's got to get faster across the board, but particularly in the secondary and at receiver. The need for speed inspired some of the spring position changes, and the touted incoming freshmen should inject some speed. But will it be enough...

3. ...To end the eight-year itch? Stanford hasn't been to a bowl game since 2001, when Tyrone Willingham was the coach many moons ago. But with 17 starters back from a team that finished 5-7 and lost three games by a touchdown or less, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Of course, such a breakthrough might renew talk about Harbaugh becoming a hot head-coaching candidate.

A couple more free-agent signings

April, 28, 2009

Posted by's Ted Miller

Some more free-agent signings:

QB Nate Longshore, invited to Miami Dolphins minicamp
LS Nick Sunberg, Carolina Panthers

DE Pannel Egboh, San Francisco 49ers
CB Wopamo Osaisai, San Diego Chargers
C Alex Fletcher, New Orleans Saints
RB Anthony Kimble, Miami Dolphins
OL Ben Muth, San Diego Chargers

Harbaugh may have Stanford on the move

August, 12, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

STANFORD, Calif. -- Jim Harbaugh's first season at Stanford started with a controversy. He told in March of 2007 that Pete Carroll wasn't long for USC.

"He's only got one more year, though," Harbaugh told Dennis Dodd. "He'll be there one more year. That's what I've heard. I heard it inside the staff."

A minor storm followed.

Then Harbaugh proclaimed USC "the best team in the history of college football."

A minor storm followed.

Then, when football instead of words took centerstage, Harbaugh and his 41-point underdogs beat USC and Carroll, 24-23.

Major storm.

Harbaugh clearly is tired of talking about his Carroll comments.

"I'm not a controversial guy. Check my track record," he said. "Look at it as a rational human being, what controversial stuff? Define that. I don't see the controversy in that stuff."

That hullabaloo is about over, though. What might last is Harbaugh, who added a Big Game victory over California to a Cardinal season that greatly exceeded horribly low expectations.

With 16 starters back this fall, Stanford might sneak up on some people this fall. Toss in a fast start to recruiting, and the Cardinal might be ready to move out the nether regions of the Pac-10 it has occupied since Tyrone Willingham left in 2001.

Harbaugh much prefers talking about the recruiting effort -- "We're recruiting against national powers" -- and why he thinks hot shot high school players are giving Stanford a look.

"The word is spreading," he said. "They feel like the football program here is a powder keg ready to go off."

Another storm coming?

As for his present roster:

  • Asked to name players who have stepped up thus far during preseason camp, he ticked off a list of offensive linemen: tackle Ben Muth, guard Andrew Phillips and tackle Chris Marinelli.
  • On defense, he called Pannel Egboh and Erik Lorig "two of the top defensive ends in the conference," and then celebrated the depth inside with Brian Bulcke, Ekom Udofia and Sione Fua.
  • Noted that LB Chike Amajoyi, 205 pounds last year, is now 238. "He hasn't lost a step," he added.
  • There are still position battles at one cornerback opposite Wopamo Osaisai and free safety next to Bo McNally 
  • As noted earlier, he said that Tavita Pritchard continues to lead the quarterback competition, though he wouldn't commit to him as the starter on Aug. 28 vs. Oregon State.

Ranking the Pac-10 defensive ends

July, 23, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

 Icon SMI
 Oregon's Nick Reed is the best defensive end in the Pac-10.

There's a lot more depth in the Pac-10 at defensive end than at tackle, which makes sense in a pass-centric conference.

Six of the top 10 sackmen are back and a couple of these guys are legitimate All-American candidates. In fact, you could argue each of the top-five has the potential for national honors.

The depth here means some good players got left out. Don't be surprised if California's Rulon Davis ends up with All-Conference honors. But he's got to stay healthy to prove he's the player reports from spring practice suggest he is. And Oregon junior Will Tukuafu is no slouch opposite Nick Reed.

Some might protest ranking unproven USC sophomore Everson Griffen so highly. Get back to us in December.

  1. Nick Reed, Sr., Oregon: Not the most physically talented guy but please, how do you argue with 12 sacks and 22.5 tackles for a loss? You don't.
  2. Dexter Davis, Jr., Arizona State: Numbers should be elite if he improves on 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles recorded as a sophomore.
  3. Victor Butler, Sr., Oregon State: Had to be the nation's best backup DE last year -- see 10.5 sacks.
  4. Everson Griffen, So., USC: He's a dynamic talent who looked unblockable at times late last season and this spring.
  5. Pannel Egboh, Sr., Stanford: Just ask the scouts -- he's projected as a first-day NFL draft pick. Recorded 13.5 tackles for a loss in 2007.
  6. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Jr., Washington: A high-motor guy, he had 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss in 2007.
  7. Andy Mattingly, Jr., Washington State: He only moved to DE from LB in the spring, but his 8 sacks and four forced fumbles land him on the list.
  8. Luis Vasquez, Jr., Arizona State: Forms a strong duo with Davis. Recorded 43 tackles and 11.5 tackles for a loss last year.
  9. Slade Norris, Sr., Oregon State: An undersized pass-rush specialists who had nine sacks as a back-up in 2007.
  10. Kyle Moore, Sr., USC: His numbers in 2007 didn't blow anyone away but starting at DE for the Trojans counts for something -- like on NFL draft boards.