Top 5 position battles to watch: RB

The countdown of Stanford's top 5 position battles concludes.

No. 1: Running back

Who to watch: Remound Wright, Barry Sanders, Ricky Seale

Outlook: The last time Stanford didn't have a 1,000-yard rusher was 2007. Richard Sherman led the team in receiving yards, current quarterbacks coach Tavita Pritchard led the Cardinal to a memorable 24-23 win at USC, and Jim Harbaugh was in his first year as head coach. Since then, Toby Gerhart, Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney have combined to average 1,452.2 yards rushing a year.

Only Gerhart's 2008 season -- when he ran for 1,136 yards -- came out of relative obscurity. He ran for just 140 yards on 12 carries the year before.

If another Stanford running back is to keep the streak of 1,000-yard rushers alive, he'll have to follow a similar path. Wright, Sanders and Seale are all vying for the starting job, but it's likely, due to their varying skill sets, that 2014 will be more of a running-back-by-comittee scenario.

Among the three, Wright got the most work last season, but his 20 carries for 102 yards in mostly mop-up duty weren't enough to lend much insight into how he'd be as a feature back. Sanders was the most sought-after recruit and arrived with a lot of expectations because of his famous father, but he had just five carries for 42 yards. It was clear the coaching staff was impressed with his playmaking ability because he was used to return punts, but he didn't get many opportunities to makes plays in that capacity. Seale, who will be a senior, is probably a step below the other two based on how he has been used during his career, but a strong spring could change that.

The countdown

No. 2: Backup quarterback

No. 3: Center

No. 4: Safety

No. 5: Fullback