No. 17 – Stanford enters 2017 will the task of replacing all-around superstar Christian Mccaffrey. They also enter the season with an even tougher task, replacing defensive end Solomon Thomas. In 2016 Thomas exploded for 14 TFL, 8.5 sacks and a 3rd pick overall by the San Francisco 49ers. They signed the number one class in the PAC 12, including two 5 star O-lineman the best quarterback in California.
The Franchise College Top 25 Poll: No. 17 Stanford
Replacing McCaffrey will have to be the focus on offense, especially with so many questions at Quarterback. Keller Chryst was promoted mid-way through 2016 and looked to be ready to take on this role until the UNC game when Chryst tore his ACL. This means that someone between Ryan Burns, K.J. Costello and true-freshman David Mills will be starting on August 26. Chryst looks to return as early on in the season as humanly possible. Ryan Burns stepped in for Chyrst during their bowl game win, but went a lowly 6 of 12 for 86 yards.
Behind the quarterback, the place where McCaffrey will be noticeably absent, looks to be in the hands of experienced back Bryce Love. Love caught a 50-yard touchdown in the sun bowl, along with 120 yards on 19 carries. Last season, even behind McCaffrey, Love ran the ball 112 times for 800 yards and three touchdowns. Not bad for a back up.
On the defensive side of the ball, they lose Thomas but still bolster one of the best and most experienced defenses in the PAC 12. The secondary will be the juggernauts of the defense, returning cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Aijah Holder, along with Justin Reid at safety. The front seven will have to work to replace Thomas, but Harrison Phillips and 6’6, 267 Dylan Jackson will have to emerge as stoppers on that line. Behind Thomas last season, Phillips still contributed with 6 sacks and 46 tackles.
Some key games for the Stanford Cardinal this season.
Sep. 9 – Stanford @ USC – Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 10 – Stanford vs. Washington – Stanford, CA
Nov, 25 – Stanford vs. Notre Dame – Stanford, CA