Stanford Football: Robert Griffin III

The QBs that got away

December, 30, 2013
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There’s no more important position in football than quarterback, and in many cases, fans look at quarterbacks that got away and wonder what might have been had they come to their favorite school. Some schools passed on a quarterback because he evaluated poorly or another QB appeared more attractive. Others simply didn't have enough recruiting ammunition to land the recruit in the first place. Here’s a look at six quarterbacks that got away.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
Thomas Campbell/USA TODAY SportsWhat might the offense at Oregon or Texas looked like with Johnny Manziel at the controls?
Teddy Bridgewater
Bridgewater had offers from Florida, LSU, Miami, Rutgers, USF and Tennessee when he was a senior coming out of Miami Northwestern. While there were notable programs after Bridgewater, it was hardly the amount of attention you would expect from the player who sits atop many NFL draft boards after a stellar career at Louisville. Some coaches will tell you Bridgewater’s stock was lower coming out of high school because many expected him to land at Miami. He did commit to the Canes at one point, but eventually backed off that pledge and announced he was going to Louisville because of the opportunity for early playing time. “The toughest part of it was that I had to say that I wasn't going to the University of Miami,” he said after selecting the Cards in 2011. “I told the coaches that I had to do what was best for me, and they understood that.” It was a wise decision by Bridgewater and a miss that still haunts the Canes.

Robert Griffin III
Before he was RG III, he was a Houston commitment. Coming out of Copperas Cove, Texas, Griffin originally pledged to Art Briles when he was the coach at Houston. When Briles departed for Baylor, other schools like Kansas, Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State were in hot pursuit, but that was about it. He eventually followed Briles to Waco, and the rest is history. It’s been pointed out a number of times that Texas passed on Griffin because it thought he was a defensive back, and A&M signed Tommy Dorman in that same 2008 class. Dorman played sparingly as a fullback and a tight end.

Kevin Hogan
What would Rutgers, Vanderbilt or Virginia been like had they been able to land Hogan? Hogan was a heavily recruited quarterback coming out of Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga in the 2011 class and his final five consisted of Rutgers, Vandy, UVa and the Cardinal. He decided to leave the East Coast and has settled in nicely on The Farm. Rutgers, Vandy and Virginia surely could have used Hogan this season, as they threw a combined 38 interceptions, while Hogan led the Cardinal to their second straight Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl appearance.

[+] EnlargeGeno Smith
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesThe fortunes of two SEC teams might have changed drastically had Geno Smith not gone to West Virginia.
Collin Klein
Coming out of Loveland, Colo., Klein accepted the only scholarship offer he received. And despite a stellar high school career in football and basketball and a solid showing at the Nike Training Camp, the Wildcats were the only team to believe in him enough to offer. Klein went on to lead K-State to the Big 12 championship in 2012, finish second in the Heisman Trophy voting and win more than 20 games as a starter. At the same time, Colorado struggled at the quarterback spot, won only eight games in a three-year span and would have given anything to have an in-state star like Klein as its leader.

Johnny Manziel
You have to give credit to Oregon and Texas A&M, because they identified early on that Manziel had the goods to be a special quarterback. But they were about the only ones that did. Virtually every recruiting service had him as a three-star prospect and his offer sheet read more like a regionally recruited prospect, not a Heisman Trophy winner. Texas also had a chance to recruit Manziel, but the Horns saw him more as a defensive back prospect than a quarterback. Oregon had faith early in him, and it paid off with a commitment the summer after his junior season. He later flipped to the Aggies in September of his senior season.

Bryce Petty
Coming out of Midlothian, Texas, in the Class of 2009, Petty pledged to then-Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer as a junior. When Fulmer was let go, Lane Kiffin thought Petty didn’t fit what he wanted at quarterback, and Petty was left looking for a home two months before national signing day. Several teams showed interest in the talented young quarterback, including South Carolina, Nebraska and Oklahoma, but few had room. Virginia Tech and Baylor eventually offered Petty a grayshirt opportunity, and he took the Bears’ offer. Surely a number of teams around the Big 12, or even the Hokies or Cornhuskers, would have loved to have Petty as their quarterback.

Geno Smith
Imagine Smith wearing an LSU or an Alabama uniform. It certainly was a possibility at one point in the recruiting process, as the Tigers and Tide were two of Smith’s top teams coming out of Miramar (Fla.) High School. But after an official visit to West Virginia in November of his senior season, he was sold that West Virginia was the place for him. The Tide got their QB of the future in AJ McCarron in that same class and the Tigers hinged their hopes on highly recruited Russell Shepard. McCarron was the right choice for the Tide, but Shepard never developed as a quarterback and LSU had up-and-down play at the position for a number of years. Smith rewrote WVU’s record books and is now an NFL starter.

More pressure: Luck or Griffin?

June, 18, 2012
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Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com presented an interesting opinion last week regarding ex-Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

Jeremiah's take was that former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, who bested Luck in the Heisman vote but was No. 2 in the draft to Luck's No. 1, has more pressure on him than Luck does in 2012.

He bases his opinion on the following reasons:

  1. Griffin will be expected to lead his team to more victories.
  2. The NFC East is far tougher than the AFC South.
  3. RG3 is in a bigger media market.
[+] EnlargeAndrew Luck, Robert Griffin
AP Photo/Richard DrewBoth top draft pick Andrew Luck, left, and No. 2 pick Robert Griffin III are under tremendous pressure.
Jeremiah adds a few final thoughts to his argument -- including the fact that RG3's presence actually takes the pressure off of Luck.
In my opinion, Robert Griffin III is the best thing that ever happened to Andrew Luck. Just nine months ago, it was widely thought that Luck would enter the NFL with more hype than any player in the last decade. Now, it's likely that he won't even receive the same attention in his rookie season as another quarterback in his own draft class. Sharing the spotlight with another player will help ease the pressure on Luck and allow him to focus on simply improving day by day.

To each his own, but the expectations for Luck are so ridiculously astronomical (not unlike last season) that it's going to be almost impossible for him to live up to them -- at least in the immediate future.

No one has labeled Griffin "the best quarterback to enter the draft since Peyton Manning" or "the best prospect since John Elway." Griffin is drawing comparisons to Michael Vick, Luck to Elway. All due respect to Vick -- but he doesn't belong in the same breath as Elway.

Luck has been handling the pressure for the past two years -- from Heisman expectations to his decision to return for another season. And maybe it's the aw-shucks way Luck handles the media that you never realize exactly how much pressure is truly on him.

And the fact that he has to follow Manning -- who will go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game -- adds an entirely different element of pressure that Griffin won't have to experience. Heavy lies the head of he who replaces Rex Grossman. Puh-lease.

Sometimes, guys are able to overcome that. See: Young, Steve. Others, not so much. See: Griese, Brian.

Jeremiah's points are all well-taken, specifically the NFC East being a tougher conference. No disputes there. But while Griffin might be expected to lead his team to more victories in 2012, Luck is expected to lead his team to more Super Bowl victories over the span of his career. And that pressure starts in Year 1.

Since 1993, four quarterbacks have been taken with the No. 2 overall pick: Griffin, Donovan McNabb (1999), Ryan Leaf (1998) and Rick Mirer (1993). In that same span, 13 quarterbacks have gone No. 1 overall. By default, being the No. 1 pick carries more pressure and loftier assumptions.

Both will face a heavy dose of scrutiny, and their careers will forever be linked because they were Nos. 1 and 2 in the draft. But Luck's top-pick status, the guy he's following in Indianapolis and the weighty expectations for a Hall of Fame career place a heavier burden on Luck's shoulders in 2012 and beyond.

Video: Andrew Luck, RG3 in 5 years

April, 23, 2012
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Bill Polian discusses what people will be saying about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in five years.
A superb workout for Andrew Luck at Stanford’s pro day this afternoon won’t change much.

Neither will falling flat on his face.

And falling flat on your face while throwing against no rush and no coverage is pretty difficult for a polished college quarterback.

Luck goes into the day as the presumed No. 1 pick by the Indianapolis Colts, and -- anticlimactic though it may be -- he’ll go out of the day the same.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Luck
AP Photo/Cal Sport MediaUnless something unforseen happens, Andrew Luck's standing with the Colts will not be affected much by his pro day.
You can watch the workout on ESPN3 at 2 p.m. ET today.

“I would think it’s a mere formality,” one scout told me. “I didn’t write him up or study him, but just from crossover tape, you say, 'Oh my God.' He can do a lot of things. He can move. He can throw. He’s smart. He’s in a pro-style offense, so there won’t be a big learning curve …”

“He would have to have a catastrophic workout for him not to be the guy, in my opinion," said a second scout. “The one thing he has to do at his workout in the Colts' eyes is to come out healthy. That is it. He is easy to scout. He is ready to play now and will play at a high level in a short time.”

And from former scout Russ Lande of the Sporting News and GM Jr.: “I think more than anything, since they are going to both [Robert Griffin III’s] and Luck's pro days, they want to be sure about Luck's arm strength as that is a concern amongst some. Other than that, from what I have been told they have already decided on Luck and would only change their mind if something completely unforeseen were to happen.”

The Colts watched Griffin's pro day at Baylor on Wednesday. RG3 threw 51 passes over 30 minutes with music he chose playing in the background.

Such is the low-key nature of the event for a top quarterback with a strong résumé on film.

RG3 still holds out slight hope that he can overtake Luck and be taken first by the Colts.

But the Baylor quarterback doesn’t believe he put any pressure on Luck with his good performance.

"Nah, no pressure,” RG3 said. “... He'll go out and dazzle you guys like we hope we did.”

What is the Luck camp hoping to show?

"Essentially, a wide-ranging skill set, consistency and explosiveness," said George Whitfield, the quarterback guru who's been working with Luck.

The first scout I spoke with said he figures the Colts will arrive early and/or stay late to chat with Luck and perhaps take him out to dinner. Informal interview time might allow them to pick up and flesh out a subject or two they’ve previously discussed. A coach or executive who didn’t get close to Luck at the combine could have that chance now.

The second scout said he thought the get-together would offer a chance for Luck to reaffirm to the Colts that he wants to play for the franchise, and that he and his family will not do what Eli Manning did in 2004. Manning forced the Chargers to deal him after they took him No. 1 because he didn’t think San Diego would offer a good chance to win. He’s now won two Super Bowls quarterbacking the New York Giants.

But there have been no indications that Luck would pull such a power play, that he doesn’t want to follow in Peyton Manning’s footsteps in Indianapolis or that he is wary of the Colts’ ability to rebuild in a speedy fashion.

Rare is the top quarterback’s pro day that doesn’t draw raves. I expect Luck will receive the same sort of praise RG3 did.

The Colts will certainly keep that in context.

They’ll be able to negotiate a deal in advance of the April 26 first round. The rookie deals outlined in the new CBA mean that won’t be complicated, but also mean there probably won’t be a rush.

Luck will surely make an official visit to team headquarters in Indianapolis between now and then.

“You get your résumé on film,” said scout No. 1. “Your references are your coaches. Through the interview process, people around the building find out about your approach and expectations.

“All this running around in tights, I think it’s more a dog and pony show than actual football.”

As flattering as the prospect may seem, David DeCastro knows ESPN isn't coming out to Stanford's pro day just to broadcast him running offensive-line drills. He knows the score. He knows most of the attention will be trained on quarterback Andrew Luck.

But don't be surprised if the burly offensive guard gets more face time than any other Stanford player. Besides doing his individual workouts, he'll also be making a temporary move to center to snap for Luck.

You can watch the Cardinal's pro day at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern on ESPN3. Besides Luck and DeCastro, offensive tackle Jonathan Martin and tight end Coby Fleener will also be featured. Luck, DeCastro and Fleener are expected to be the first players taken at their positions, and Martin is projected anywhere between the second and fourth offensive tackle on the board.

"It's pretty crazy, because we couldn't even get a game televised a couple of years ago," DeCastro said. "That pretty much sums it up. Now they are televising our pro day. Crazy. The program has come a long way. If we can get it televised every year, that would be great."

A lot of eyes will be on Luck, who didn't throw at last month's NFL combine. He's expected to be the No. 1 pick of the Indianapolis Colts in next month's NFL draft. Yesterday, Baylor's Robert Griffin III held his pro day in Waco, Texas. While some think there is a chance the Colts could roll the dice with Griffin, he's widely regarded as No. 2 quarterback behind Luck.

[+] EnlargeStanford's Andrew Luck and David DeCastro
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesAll eyes will be on Andrew Luck, left, during Stanford's pro day, which means David DeCastro, right, will get plenty of looks too.
Here's an interesting take from ESPN's Mel Kiper Insider on quarterbacks not throwing at the combine.
Last year, as you recall, Cam Newton's pro day was quite a big deal, because the top quarterbacks no longer throw at the combine, instead waiting for a more familiar setting, with targets they are used to working with. I don't mind that process. If you're considered this good, why not take advantage of the comfort level you've earned as you go through the process. These guys get nit-picked more than ever, so it's hard to blame them for taking control of something as significant as many consider these pro days.

But today isn't going to be all about Luck. It's the payoff for many of the players who helped grow the program.

"That's got to be one of the things I'm most proud of in my time at Stanford is helping turn the program around from a 1-11 season the year before I got there to two straight BCS games," Fleener said. "It's one of those things where it took a lot of work from the guys in the offseason and the coaches and the staff, and I'm happy to see Stanford football is on the right track.

"Hopefully this publicity is going to help the program, even in a small way. Anything we can do to help the program is great. We're all going to be Stanford fans for life."

Head coach David Shaw often praised this class of fourth- and fifth-year seniors for buying into the program he and former head coach Jim Harbaugh were pitching. He thinks the legacy they leave will help keep Stanford atop the national rankings for years to come.

"We don't just want smart guys that know how to play football," Shaw said. "We want great football players. We want guys to come here that want to play in the NFL, that want to be first-round draft picks. We want them to have that desire. We also want those guys to excel outside of football. When you've got a class of guys like this who can garner this much attention, it's awesome. And as you can see from the way we've been recruiting the last couple of years, [televised pro days] hopefully will be a regular occurrence for us."

There are also several other Stanford players who weren't invited to the combine, but will work out at the pro day. Because of the attention Luck attracts, many are considering this their combine.

And for those who did participate in the combine, it's one last chance to show what they can do before the draft.

"I'm excited," DeCastro said. "I'm feeling great. I'm in shape, lifting hard. Working out has never been an issue for me. I love training. I love getting that lift and getting those endorphins going."
Which QB should go No. 1 overall in the NFL draft on April 26?

Forget the NFL scouts and GMs: You decide whether Stanford's Andrew Luck or Baylor's Robert Griffin III looks better at his pro day in front of salivating NFL personnel men.

You can watch Griffin's pro day at Baylor on Wednesday at noon ET, live on ESPN3.

And you can watch Luck on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, live on ESPN3 as well.

While it's widely viewed as a lock that Luck goes first, it nonetheless will be interesting to see if one or the other earns a better grade for his accuracy and arm strength after neither threw for scouts at the combine.

From Cardinal to Cardinals?

March, 13, 2012
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The Arizona Cardinals are one of the teams in hot pursuit of Peyton Manning, who of course is out in Indianapolis, paving the way for Stanford's Andrew Luck to be the No.1 pick in the NFL draft. Presumably.

That brings us to a rather ironic scenario: Could either Jonathan Martin or David DeCastro be blocking for Manning in Arizona just months after spending a collegiate career protecting Luck?

There are no guarantees that Manning ends up in Arizona. ESPN's Chris Mortensen has been all over Manning's travels and despite meeting with Arizona over the weekend, he has not engaged in contract negotiations with the Cardinals.

But a couple of Luck's old mates could be in line to join Arizona with that No. 13 pick in the NFL draft. Kevin Weidl writes on the Cardinals woes — and there is more to them than just quarterback. The first, and possibly the most pressing need, is on the offensive line, where either Martin — a left tackle at Stanford — or DeCastro — a guard — could get scooped up with lucky 13.
Weidl on Martin: Martin needs some added strength and polish, but he has left-tackle feet and the mentality for the position. He's fallen down our board a bit in recent weeks after a somewhat underwhelming film study, but positional value always pushes tackle prospects up the board...

On DeCastro: He can move defenders off the ball, and is the kind of plug-and-play prospect who could be a Cardinals mainstay for the next decade.

Both players had spectacular careers at Stanford and most mock drafts have both of them going in the first round. It's just a question of which one is going first and which teams have the biggest position needs. It seems like more questions are surfacing about Martin in recent weeks and whether he's cut out to be an NFL left tackle. In fact, ESPN's Mel Kiper didn't even include Martin in his mock draft last week. DeCastro's stock, however, has been on the rise and he's clearly established himself as the top interior lineman in the draft.

Earlier this month, Stanford coach David Shaw went into great detail about the significance of replacing two all-conference players on the offensive line and who some of the candidates are. The Cardinal also bring in the nation's top offensive line recruiting class — which will surely affect competition for one or both of those spots in 2012.

It's also worth watching the video that accompanies the linked-story as the First Take crew discuss the Washington Redskins' move to No. 2 in the draft — presumably to take Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. Though an interesting theory is thrown out there that the Redskins are moving into position to draft Luck at No. 2 when Indianapolis takes Griffin No. 1 overall. Anyone else buying that?
Quarterback competitions are going to be all the rage in the Pac-12 this spring and heading up until the start of the 2012 season opener. Stanford and Oregon will be losing tremendous productivity from outgoing signal-callers Andrew Luck and Darron Thomas.

Brian Fremeau of Football Outsiders looked at which quarterback competition battles matter most nationally Insider -- and Stanford and Oregon were right there in the mix.

The article has some interesting stats about which quarterback-reliant teams had a harder time adjusting -- looking specifically at the 2009 and 2010 seasons -- and which ones had easier transitions because the offense didn't rely as heavily on the quarterback spot.

Baylor tops the list as having the most critical quarterback transition -- with Robert Griffin III accounting for 65.4 percent of the Bears' offense.

Here's Fremeau on Stanford and Luck, who accounted for 57.6 percent of the Cardinal offense last season.
[Luck's] contribution to Stanford's total offense falls between the heavy production and light production range, however, and the offense under David Shaw can still be successful, since it is powered by a strong ground game as much as it was by Luck's arm.

Oregon falls under the rating of "less critical QB transitions" with Thomas accounting for 40.5 percent of the Ducks' offense. Fremeau on Oregon:
The Ducks have had sustained success over the last few years, precisely because they distribute the ball to an arsenal of offensive weapons and don't lean too heavily on the quarterback. The Ducks ranked fourth nationally in total offense but didn't have a single individual player rank among the top 50 nationally in total offense last season.

Luck's athleticism on display at combine

February, 26, 2012
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Andrew Luck is constantly praised for his accuracy, football intelligence and leadership intangibles, but on Sunday at the NFL combine he proved that his athleticism rivals the top quarterbacks in the league.

Of the 14 quarterbacks who participated in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump at the 2012 combine, only Luck and Robert Griffin III placed in the top four in all three events. Notably, Luck posted the top broad jump of all quarterbacks, and put up comparable numbers to Cam Newton’s combine in 2011.

Unlike Newton, Luck played in a pro-style offense in college that did not ask him to run consistently. But anyone who watched Stanford throughout Luck’s career could see that he has the athleticism and mobility to succeed at the next level.

Luck was one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the nation when throwing on the run. The average quarterback completes less than 50 percent of his passes when forced to scramble outside of the pocket, but last season Luck completed 63.6 percent of these passes. He was even better when passing outside of the pocket on designed roll-outs, completing 71.8 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and just one interception on such passes.

Inside of the pocket, Luck’s mobility helped him elude pass rushers and get the ball out quickly. Luck was sacked only 23 times in his career at Stanford, about once in every 50 drop-backs. Of quarterbacks that started at least 20 games since 2009, only Kellen Moore and Brandon Weeden were sacked at lower rates.

Luck chose to remain in the pocket on the majority of the time, but when forced to scramble he averaged 5.9 yards per attempt. Overall, Luck ran for 957 yards and seven touchdowns in his career. Additionally, he caught two passes for 24 yards, including one of the most athletic plays of the season -- a one-handed, sprawling catch down the right sideline against UCLA.

So while Griffin may have stolen the spotlight by running a 4.41 40-yard dash on Sunday, Luck proved that he is one of the top athletes at the quarterback position -- a fact that may be surprising to some, but not those that have watched him closely for years.
Andrew LuckAP Photo/Michael ConroyAndrew Luck said he would be happy holding a clipboard and being Peyton Manning's apprentice.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The two quarterbacks who will presumably be the top two picks in the NFL draft spoke to a good share of 750 credentialed reporters at the combine Friday afternoon.

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III didn’t take a drop, make a read or throw a pass. Nothing that transpired had anything to do with football.

Yet fandom's need for information and evaluation will dictate a comparison, and here’s what will fuel it: Griffin was off the cuff, glib and quippy; Luck was boilerplate, personable for sure, but not as entertaining.

And so, the buzz from the scouting community that had long held that Griffin is a very good NFL prospect but Luck is a great one will now be tempered. Media will be influenced by what it just saw and heard and the gap between the two will close through no football function at all.

Think I overstate? A year ago we raced back to our laptops to write about how Ryan Mallett was defiant and how Cam Newton needed a scripted opening statement, unimpressed with either. And at least for a time the national stories on each influenced the national perception -- unfairly and, to be honest, inaccurately.

Brace for the 2012 version of that, starting right now. Measure it. And know that scouts are largely scoffing when they see it.

A few more thoughts out of Luck’s media session:

• At one end of the media room, a club level concourse at Lucas Oil Stadium, the pillars are decorated with pictures of Peyton Manning. It’s made for great art -- Manning looming over John Elway or Colts general manager Ryan Grigson. But Luck didn’t speak from the shadow of the legendary quarterback he may replace. He was at the other end of the room -- where photos of Gary Brackett and Marvin Harrison are part of the backdrop.

• Luck spoke fondly of Manning as he answered a question about the potential for replacing him: “Peyton was my hero growing up, he was my football hero. Who I modeled myself after in high school and middle school. You never truly replace a guy like that and who knows what happens? Who knows what happens? So many different things can happen. I’m not thinking about it.”

• The questions about Manning are inevitable, he said. “I understand the questions have to be asked, it’s part of it. I understand the speculation. In my mind too, nothing’s happened yet. I haven’t been drafted by any team and what Peyton has is still going on with the Colts. It’s not uncomfortable, I understand the questions have to be asked."

• Luck knows Manning some. He’s been to the family’s passing camp the past two summers. He sought out Manning when he was deciding to return to Stanford for his senior year. He got a few texts from Manning during the season. Griffin had said he’d be happy to hold a clipboard as Manning’s apprentice and Luck echoed the sentiment.

• He praised Griffin as “a great quarterback, a great competitor, real easy to get along with” but said he wasn’t motivated to compete against him for the No. 1 draft position. “I think everybody wants to be No. 1 but not at the expense of another person, if that makes sense,” he said.

• While he’s heard some call him a once-in-a-generation quarterback, Luck said things can change and he needs to pay no attention to such talk: “The game can change so quick and you can get caught behind whatever that is.”

• His current efforts are focused on quickening everything up, making “rhythmic, perfect drops every time” and playing super clean.

• Elway visits Stanford roughly twice a year and Luck has visited with him on those occasions. The biggest lesson he took away was what Elway told him about the Broncos' Super Bowl failures early in his career: “They were thinking too big picture. So it was always, ‘focus on that next play. What are you going to do the first play of the game?’”

• Luck's aware of the success his college coach, Jim Harbaugh, had as quarterback of the Colts -- mentioning Harbaugh’s “Captain Comeback” nickname and acknowledging Harbaugh’s spot in the Colts’ ring of honor.

• His meetings Thursday night included a stop with the Colts. He spoke with Clyde Christensen, the team’s receivers coach who was offensive coordinator under the previous regime.

• He’s still got two classes to take to earn his degree from Stanford. He’ll return starting April 1 and graduate in June.

• The quarterback will not throw here, but said no outside force influenced that decision. It has been reported his camp asked the Colts and suggested he not throw. He will do everything else while he’s in Indy.

Video: Mel Kiper Jr. draft talk

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
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Mel Kiper Jr. discusses how confident he is that Andrew Luck will be picked first in the draft, who could trade up to draft Robert Griffin III, and what the Patriots will do with their picks.

Stanford mailbag

January, 24, 2012
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TJ in San Francisco writes: (Regarding Darron Thomas is leaving early). I think most of us (including me) had chalked up next year's game at Oregon as a loss... what do you think our chances of beating them are now? Should we be more worried about Oregon or Washington in the Pac 12 North?

Kevin Gemmell: If I can steal an old cliché that's pretty popular around The Farm, worry about yourselves, not the other guys. Worry about who is going to play the two safety spots and who will make the defensive calls against the Ducks, not who is under center or in their backfield. Oregon has plenty of firepower -- and will for the foreseeable future. Are they any more vulnerable without Thomas? Maybe. Just as Stanford is more vulnerable without Andrew Luck. And yes, I think Washington is also a big concern -- especially since that is a road game next year with a new starting quarterback for Stanford. If Keith Price continues to mature at the rate he's going, Washington will be a player in the North.


Tyler in "The District" writes: Hey Kevin. If the Heisman trophy voting happened today, would Robert Griffin III still win? To me, it seems that some voters may have previously voted erroneously; more in tune with a fad than sound judgment. Now that time has passed, would voters sober up from the intoxicating RG3 performance against the Longhorns? (By the way, Texas isn't what they used to be and no one seems to care.) Or would they vote for a guy like Luck who wasn't losing 49-3 against Okie State? PS: Don't try to say that RG3's bowl game performance means anything. The convoy of moving trucks in Seattle this past month aren't there because of RG3.

Kevin Gemmell: Tyler, I've long held the belief that Heisman voting should be done after the bowl season. Just a personal opinion. With that said, did anything change in the bowl season that would make you think people who were going to vote for Griffin are suddenly going to change their vote? The fact is, those who wanted to vote for Griffin did, and the people that wanted to vote for Luck did. RG3 didn't do anything to "lose" votes. Maybe Luck would have picked up a few more votes from those who voted for Montee Ball or Trent Richardson or Tyrann Mathieu based on his bowl performance. It was pretty darn good. But RG3's wasn't exactly horrific -- and his team won. I don't think anyone who voted for Griffin is suddenly feeling like they blew it. Time to let this one go.


Kory in Hillsborough, Calif., writes: Any word as to why Coby Fleener and Delano Howell declined their Senior Bowl invitations? I hope they weren't scared to compete because that completely goes against the Stanford football we've come to know.

Kevin Gemmell: No official word, so this is just me speculating. First, both were pretty banged up toward the end of the year. Howell, you'll remember, missed a lot of time due to that hand injury and Fleener's ankle looked like it had a softball sticking out of it after the Fiesta Bowl (he missed the fourth quarter). Both of them have enough of their resumes on film that I don't think one game would make a difference either way. That's my best guess.


Sean in Palo Alto, Calif., writes: You gave Stanford a B+ in the Pac-12 report card. Explain yourself.

Kevin Gemmell: Well, Sean, I'm assuming you think the grade should be higher. Let's look at the facts. They didn't win their conference, that right there drops them from an A to an A-. They didn't win their bowl game. That should drop them down as well. I gave the offense an A- and the defense a B. Average that together and you come out with a B+. Don't think that was too harsh of a grade.

Stanford lunchtime links

January, 10, 2012
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Catching up on the day's Stanford football news.

Stanford lunchtime links

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
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More Fiesta fallout plus news we already knew.

Video: Kiper, McShay debate QBs

December, 22, 2011
12/22/11
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Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. debate McShay having three quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley and Robert Griffin III) in the top 10 of his mock draft, and where Kellen Moore might go in the draft.

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